The highest point of Blackstone Edge
|Elevation||1,549 ft (472 m)|
|Location||Littleborough, Greater Manchester, England|
Blackstone Edge is a gritstone escarpment at 1,549 feet (472 m) above sea level in the Pennine hills surrounded by moorland on the boundary between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire in England.
Passing the crag is Blackstone Edge Long Causeway, also known as Blackstone Edge Roman Road, a paved road originally thought to be of Roman origin. After investigations by James Maxim it is now considered to be a 1735 turnpike or packhorse route. The Aiggin Stone, a gritstone pillar, possibly a way-marker, stands alongside the packhorse route and marks the county boundary. The stone has a cross and the letters I and T cut into it. Its name is said to derive from the French aiguille for a needle or aigle for an eagle.
Much of the surrounding area was within the ancient parish of Hundersfield, although some parts lay within Butterworth township. In the English Civil War the Parliamentarians sent 800 men to fortify Blackstone Edge; John Rosworm came from Manchester to direct the construction of defences. It was successfully held against an attack by Royalist cavalry. In 1660 the churchwardens of St Chad's paid 24 shillings for eight loads of "great stones from Blackstoneedge" for Rochdale church steps. Celia Fiennes travelled over Blackstone Edge and described her journey in about 1700. A meeting of supporters of Chartism from the surrounding industrial towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire was held in 1846, attracting up to 30,000 people.
Blackstone Edge is frequented by walkers and rock climbers who use its traditional climbing and bouldering routes. The crag was featured in the 1913 rock climbing guide to the Peak District, 'Some Gritstone Climbs' by John Laycock. One walking route is a circular walk from Hollingworth Lake in Smithy Bridge near Littleborough up to Blackstone Edge, and another route links Blackstone Edge to Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley. The Pennine Way long-distance footpath from Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland passes along the top of the outcrop. It is also an alternative route of the Rochdale Way.
Halifax Road, which goes up towards Blackstone Edge reservoir, provides a popular cycling ascent. With 240m of ascent from the centre of Littleborough, at an average gradient of 5%, it is recognised as a category 3 climb on Strava.
- Greater Manchester (including: Wigan, Bolton, Salford, Trafford, Bury, Rochdale, Stockport, Manchester, Tameside and Oldham), Natural England, retrieved 17 January 2011
- Roman Roads, Lancashire County Council, retrieved 29 September 2013
- Aigin Stone, Calderdale Council, retrieved 2 October 2013
- Broxup 1973, p. 9
- "The parish of Rochdale", A History of the County of Lancaster, 5, British History Online, 1911, pp. 187–201, retrieved 2 October 2013
- Chartism, Calderdale Council, retrieved 2 October 2013
- Blackstone Edge, UK Climbing, retrieved 2 October 2013
- Blackstone Edge - Gritstone, Peak District Bouldering, retrieved 2 October 2013