Stoodley Pike

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Coordinates: 53°42′51″N 2°02′33″W / 53.71418°N 2.04242°W / 53.71418; -2.04242

The monument seen from a distance.
Mid-distance.
A closer view of the monument.

Stoodley Pike is a 1,300-foot (400 m) hill in the south Pennines, noted for the 121 feet (37 m) Stoodley Pike Monument at its summit, which dominates the moors above Todmorden in West Yorkshire, England. The monument was designed in 1854 by local architect James Green, and completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.

The monument replaced an earlier structure, started in 1814 and commemorating the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris. It was completed in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo (Napoleonic Wars), but collapsed in 1854 after an earlier lightning strike, and decades of weathering. Its replacement was therefore built slightly further from the edge of the hill. During repair work in 1889 a lightning conductor was added, and although the tower has since been struck by lightning on numerous occasions, no notable structural damage is evident. There is evidence to suggest that some sort of structure existed on the site before even this earlier structure was built.

The inscription above the entrance is worn and covered with lichen but it is legible and reads:

STOODLEY PIKE

A BEACON MONUMENT

ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION

COMMENCED IN 1814 TO COMMEMORATE

THE SURRENDER OF PARIS TO THE ALLIES

AND FINISHED AFTER THE BATTLE OF

WATERLOO WHEN PEACE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1815.

BY A STRANGE COINCIDENCE

THE PIKE FELL ON THE DAY THE RUSSIAN

AMBASSADOR LEFT LONDON BEFORE THE

DECLARATION OF WAR WITH RUSSIA IN 1854.

WAS REBUILT WHEN PEACE WAS RESTORED IN

1856

RESTORED AND LIGHTNING CONDUCTOR FIXED

1889

The site is accessible on well defined Right of Way footpaths and the moor surrounding it is on Access Land. There is no vehicular or bicycle access to the monument. The Pike stands on Langfield Common, and therefore is the responsibility of Calderdale Council. Langfield Common is a true moor and an SSSI.

Stoodley Pike Monument contains a spiral staircase of 39 steps, accessed from its north side. During repairs in 1889 a grille was added to the top step, allowing more light in, so that only 6 or 7 steps are in darkness. There are no windows. The entrance to the balcony, the highest point that can be reached, and some 40 feet above ground level, is on the west face.

Being accessible by Right of Way footpaths and Access Land restrictions, the site serves primarily as a destination for hikers & fell-runners. It is close to Mankinholes Youth Hostel and the Top Brink pub. Just below it on the contour shelf at roughly 200 metres lies the Harvelin Park housing estate. From here walkers can enjoy an easy 30-minute walk to the Pike.

Many fell races visit the Pike, primarily those organised by Todmorden Harriers including the Noonstone, Hebden Bridge, Shepherd's Skyline and the Stoodley Pike Fell race.

The Pennine Way (Britain's first National Trail, opened in 1965) passes Stoodley Pike.

Stoodley Pike Monument can be easily seen on the horizon, when one stands in front of Beacon Hill, in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

In recent years the entrance to the tower has been re-paved and a seat has been provided to the southwest of the monument.

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