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Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike, Ashton under Lyne
Hartshead Pike, Ashton under Lyne.

The tower on Hartshead Pike is a well-known local landmark. It overlooks Ashton and is visible from many surrounding areas. It is a popular destination for afternoon strolls and the tower once housed a refreshment shop.

Although the name "Hartshead Pike" is generally used to mean the tower, it was originally the name of the hill itself. The pike is not the highest part of the hill, but, at 940 feet above sea level, its prominent position has meant that, from early times, it has been the site of a beacon or signalling station.

The earliest structure on this spot may have been a stone pillar, erected to commemorate the passing through the area of King Canute, who is also remembered in the names of Knott Hill and Knott Lanes.

A tower had been built on the hill by the eighteenth century as it was re-built in 1751 by a public subscription. However, it was badly damaged by lightning and a hundred years later, all that remained was a ring of stone.

The present tower was built in 1863 by John Eaton, a little south of the earlier structure, to mark the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The land on which the tower stands was given to the town by Lord Stamford, who also gave the stone for the tower's construction.

Hartshead Pike, Ashton under Lyne
Footpath to Hartshead Pike, Ashton under Lyne.

A "time capsule" was buried in a space below the foundation stone. This was a sealed bottle containing local newspapers, Victorian coins, poetry and documents. Inside the tower was a shop selling refreshments. Visitors could pay a small charge to climb stairs to enjoy the view from windows high up in the building. The inside of the tower was vandalised around a hundred years ago, showing that this is not a purely modern problem.

The pike is still a popular destination for walkers who come to enjoy the wide ranging views, which include the Pennine moors to the east, North Wales to the west and north towards Pendle Hill.

Hartshead Pike, Ashton under Lyne
Hartshead Pike in Winter.
Hartshead Pike, Ashton under Lyne
Hartshead Pike in Winter.

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