Winter Hill

Winter Hill

Winter Hill - think about Bronze Age, Trespass, Murder, Air Crashes, UFO’s and Wildfires

Our annual challenge event, the Anglezarke Amble, goes over Winter Hill, a Lancashire ‘Marilyn’.  It is a very special place, of special scientific interest and this year on the 5th September there is to be a celebration of the 125th anniversary of a mass trespass which took place in 1896 when there was a march to reclaim an ancient right of way over Winter Hill. The landowner tried to stop access across this land by deciding that the road was his private road, so he closed it. A mass trespass was organised, which prompted 10,000 people led by a brass band to march up the hill. Although the leaders were prosecuted and fined, the right of way was established.

Winter Hill also has a unique history in Lancashire.  There are two Bronze Age burial grounds near the top.  Nearby is a large cairn, a memorial to two lads who died in 1883 during a snowstorm. 

Unfortunately, Winter Hill is also the scene of an unsolved murder.  In 1838, a young Scotsman, George Henderson, was shot dead by an unknown person.  He was on his way across the Moor, calling in at the pub nearby, unfortunately his friend did not turn up and he decided to set off on his own.  The mist was low and the area was known for hunting, he was shot in the head, but alas no-one was convicted of his murder.  A memorial stands near the mast on the summit.

There have been a number of historic air crashes, particularly during the 2nd World War, between 1942 and 1943 two planes crashed and then in 1953 various Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Glaster Meteor also went down.  In 1958 a plane travelling from the Isle of Man to Manchester also crashed.  A memorial plaque is situated close to the mast.

There have been various reports of UFO’s in the Winter Hill area, in 1950 a witness described ‘a dark flat iron shaped object’ that was seen hovering close the ground. This was also followed by a sighting in 1999 by a farmer, who saw a similar object hovering over his cattle field.  Similar sightings were reported in May 2006.   

More recently, wildfires have caused serious damage to the flora and fauna, fortunately on a recent walk there are signs of renewal.  Natural England have a keen interest and are involved in the management of this unique moorland. 

Want to experience this unique landscape?  then help on the Amble, on Saturday 12th February or visit Bolton Ramblers Website for details on any walks to mark the September mass trespass anniversary.


Karen Wardle