Standedge Tunnels

The Standedge Tunnels (/stænɪdʒ/) are four parallel tunnels through the Pennine hills at the Standedge crossing between Marsden in West Yorkshire and Diggle in Greater Manchester in northern England. Before boundary changes in 1974, both ends of the tunnel were in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Three are railway tunnels and the other is a canal tunnel.

The canal tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal was authorised by an Act of Parliament on 4 April 1794. Construction of a 5,451-yard (4,984 m)-long tunnel began months later.[2] Within two years, cost-saving measures pushed back its completion date and progress was slowed by the high levels of water which were much greater than had been expected. It proved difficult to secure skilled help, some tenders went unanswered and Benjamin Outram withdraw from the venture. In 1807, Thomas Telford drew up a new plan for its completion. In 1811, the tunnel opened. It is the longest and oldest of the four Standedge tunnels and is the longest and highest canal tunnel in the United Kingdom.[3] Having been closed to all traffic in 1943, the canal tunnel was re-opened in May 2001.

The first, single-track railway tunnel, built for the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) on its line between Huddersfield and Manchester, was completed in 1848. It proved to have insufficient capacity and a second, parallel, single-track tunnel was opened in 1871. The LNWR opened a third, double-track tunnel in 1894. All four tunnels are linked by cross-tunnels or adits at strategic intervals, which allowed the railway tunnels to be built without construction shafts, and allowed waste material to be removed by boat. Only the double-track tunnel is currently used for rail traffic. The others are intact but disused. The Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre at the Marsden end, is a base for boat trips into the tunnel and has an exhibition depicting the different crossings.

Standedge Canal Tunnel
Standedge Tunnel End, Marsden, West Yorkshire
Tunnel End Cottages and the entrance portal at Marsden
Coordinates53°35′28″N 1°57′44″W / 53.59107°N 1.96219°WCoordinates: 53°35′28″N 1°57′44″W / 53.59107°N 1.96219°W
OS grid reference
WaterwayHuddersfield Narrow Canal
Start53°34′05″N 1°59′34″W / 53.568042°N 1.992684°W
End53°36′13″N 1°56′33″W / 53.603622°N 1.942506°W
OwnerCanal & River Trust
Design engineerNicholas Brown
Thomas Telford
Length5,675 yards (5,189 m)[1]
Boat-passableYes (with permission)

Canal tunnel

Standedge canal tunnel - - 1410632
Inside the canal tunnel


On 4 April 1794, construction of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal (then known as the Huddersfield Canal), linking Ashton-under-Lyne and Huddersfield via a tunnel was authorised by an Act of Parliament.[4] Benjamin Outram was appointed the consulting engineer after his report in October 1793 estimated the cost of the canal and tunnel at £178,478. Nicholas Brown surveyed the route. Outram thought that geology of the hill through which the tunnel would pass was of gritstone and shale, and not present any difficulties. Work on the 5,456-yard (4,989 m) tunnel would start at a dip in the hill at Red Brook and the tunnel would be driven simultaneously from both ends. Steam engines would keep the works drained during construction.[5]

Outram was the site engineer and Brown was superintendent and surveyor. During July 1795, John Evans was appointed to manage boring the tunnel. By mid-1796, 795 yards (727 m) of tunnel had been cut, some of which had been lined. Considerable effort had been spent constructing small tunnels to supply waterwheels to raise spoil and water from intermediate adits.[4] By the autumn, concern that such work was expensive and Outram abandoned building extra workfaces and concentrated on boring out from both ends. Although cheaper, the completion date was extended.[6]

Other factors had slowed progress; a shortage of funding and poor working practices also contributed.[4] Cutbacks in drainage provision hampered tunnelling as larger quantities of water entered the workings. In September 1797, Outram advised the committee that Thomas Lee, the contractor, had made large losses as a result of the difficulties and could not complete his contract. He was awarded more money for timber, an increased rate per yard for completion and an extra year in which to finish the tunnel.[6]

By mid 1799, 1,000 yards (910 m) of the tunnel had been finished and 1,000 yards (910 m) had been excavated, but not completed. In October 1800, the Peak Forest Canal Company, who were keen to trade, suggested a tram road should be built to bypass the tunnel until it was completed but no action was taken. The next tunnel contract failed to attract any takers and canal engineer John Varley, who had repaired parts of the canal which had been damaged by floods, was invited to work on the tunnel. Soon thereafter, mine owner Matthew Fletcher was asked for his opinion; he suggested that time could be saved by tunnelling in both directions from Redbrook pit, which was kept dry by a large steam engine. He estimated that it would cost £8,000 but a contractor could not be found and tunnelling continued from both ends.[7]

In 1801, Outram resigned after work had stopped for a lengthy period.[8] Brown was dismissed.[4] In late 1804, a sub-committee visited Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal, Butterley Tunnel on the Cromford Canal and the Norwood Tunnel on the Chesterfield Canal. It recommended that a towing path should be built through the tunnel but the extra cost and delay were not affordable. Desperately short of money, the canal company obtained a new Act of Parliament in 1806 to raise additional finance and allow an extra toll for using the tunnel.[9] In 1807, Thomas Telford was asked for his advice. He produced a plan, which was followed until the work was completed.[8]

On 9 June 1809, both ends of the tunnel met.[4] On 26 March 1811, the tunnel was complete and a grand opening ceremony was held on 4 April; a party of invited guests, followed by several working boats, entered the tunnel at Diggle and completed the journey to Marsden in one hour and forty minutes. The tunnel had cost £160,000, making it the most expensive canal tunnel to have been built in Britain.[9] It was also the longest, deepest and highest. The tunnel was 5,445 yards (4,979 m) long,[10] 636 feet (194 m) underground at its deepest point, and 643 feet (196 m) above sea level. It was extended at the Marsden end in 1822 by 11 yards (10 m) when Tunnel End Reservoir's overflow was diverted over the tunnel mouth.[11] The tunnel was also extended at the Diggle end in 1893 by 242 yards (221 m) to accommodate the 1894 rail tunnel.[12] The extensions made the tunnel 5,698 yards (5,210 m) long.[13] A survey carried out before restoration using a modern measuring system gave the length as 5,675 yards (5,189 m) which is the accepted figure.[14]


When the tunnel opened, the canal became a through route, 13 years after the rest of the canal had been completed and 17 years after work began, at a total cost of £123,803. Despite multiple problems, its construction showed that the technique of quantity surveying had advanced. Telford's plan covered every eventuality and was followed until the canal opened. Between 1811 and 1840, the tunnel was used on average by 40 boats daily.[15] Thetunnel is brick-lined in some places, though some sections of bare rock were left exposed.[16]

The tunnel is only wide enough for one narrowboat for much of its length and to save on cost, a tow-path was not provided. Canal boats were horse-drawn when it opened and the boats were legged through the tunnel – one or more boatmen lay on the cargo and pushed against the roof or walls of the tunnel with their legs. Professional leggers were paid one shilling and six pence for working a boat through the tunnel which took one hour and twenty minutes for an empty boat and three hours with a full load.[17] The limited load capacity and the lack of a tow-path damaged the competitiveness of the whole canal when compared to the rival Rochdale Canal, which was only a few miles to the north and competed with the Huddersfield Canal for business.[4]

Although there were widened passing places in the tunnel for handling bi-directional traffic, intense competition between boat crews was a hinderance and two-way operation in the tunnel was impractical. The canal company introduced one way working, for which one end of the tunnel was closed by a locked chain to prevent access unless authorised. A similar arrangement remains in use.[16]

In 1846, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal was purchased by the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway. The canal tunnel was used during the construction of the first railway tunnel and no shafts were needed. The canal provided an easy means of removing the excavated spoil. When the railway tunnel was completed, several cross passages were retained.[16]

The last commercial boat passed through the tunnel in 1921 and the canal was closed to traffic in 1944 when maintenance ended and the tunnel fell into a state of disrepair. The last boat to pass through the tunnel before its restoration was the Rolt/Aickman expedition in the Ailsa Craig in 1948.[16] Writing in 1948, L. T. C. Rolt described the journey as taking two hours, during which the speed was kept very low to avoid damage to the boat.[18]

The canal had become obstructed in several places on both sides of the Pennines and the tunnel, which had become unsafe was closed by large iron gates at each end. A local newspaper described a trip organised by the Railway and Canal Historical Society during 1961, which was held to commemorate 150 years since the canal's opening. The expedition used a single narrowboat, which departed Marsden around 11 a.m. and emerged from the Diggle portal around 1 p.m.[19]


In the 1990s, the canal and tunnel benefitted from a £5 million restoration project to re-open the entire canal. Several rock-lined parts of the tunnel were stabilised by rock bolts where possible and concrete was used to stabilise the rock face where this was impractical. In May 2001, the tunnel was re-opened to traffic.

Most modern canal boats are diesel-powered and it was considered unsafe for boaters to navigate the tunnel using diesel power because of its length and the lack of ventilation and so electric tug boats haul the narrowboats through.[20] Typically three or four boats are linked together with the electric tug at the head, and they proceed through the tunnel while the boat crews travel in the tug. A British Waterways operative steers the last boat in the chain and no personnel are allowed to travel on the intermediate boats. Despite the use of rudimentary protection measures, strips of thick rubber conveyor belting on the boat gunwales and roofs, impact damage to the unsteered boats was common with this method of working.

In September 2007, significant repairs were required to one of the electric tugs and British Waterways carried out a trial for self-steer operation. The trip boat "Pennine Moonraker" was taken through the tunnel under her own power by owner John Lund, shadowed by a BW electric tug. Since the 2009 season, boats have been allowed to travel through the tunnel under their own power with an experienced chaperone onboard to guide its passage, followed by a service vehicle through one of the parallel disused railway tunnel.[21][22]

Railway tunnels

The Standedge tunnels - - 1410617
The 1848 and 1871 tunnel portals at Diggle

Three railway tunnels run parallel to each other and the canal tunnel. They are level for the whole length, which had the operational benefit of providing the only section of level track on the line where water troughs could be installed to provide steam locomotives with water without the requiring the train to stop. Both the single-track bores have ventilation shafts at Cote, Flint and Pule Hill and the double-track tunnel is ventilated via three shafts at Brunn Clough, Redbrook and Flint.[4] Drainage adits interlink with one another, including the canal tunnel, into which water is discharged.[4]

In 1846, work commenced on a railway tunnel for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway.[4] It ran parallel to, and to south of the canal tunnel at a slightly higher level. From the canal tunnel, thirteen adits were driven to facilitate excavating the railway tunnel. The railway company had bought the canal company to provide access. Boats transferred excavated spoil and moved construction materials.[4] Canal access increased the rate of construction, which took a little over two years; in comparison, the Woodhead Tunnel, which was slightly shorter took seven years to built despite the work being done by the same contractor, Thomas Nicholson.[4]

Standedge Tunnel east end 1981 - - 818333
The eastern end of Standedge Tunnel

The tunnel was driven and lined by up to 1,953 navvies working 36 faces. The tunnel advanced at up to 85 yards per week.[4] Nine men died during its construction. In 1848, the central single-track tunnel was completed by the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR), who had acquired the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway mid-way through its construction.[4] Costing £201,608, the tunnel is 3 miles, 57 yards (4,803 m) long.[23][24] When opened, trains were accompanied through the tunnel by a pilot man or pilot engine and their re-emergence was communicated between signal boxes situated at either end by a telegraph system devised by Henry Highton.[4]

The 1848 tunnel soon became a bottleneck for rail traffic between Huddersfield and Manchester.[4] Even before its completion, plans were in consideration for a second tunnel alongside it. When economic case became clear, Thomas Nelson, who built the first railway tunnel, was awarded the contract. As with the first tunnel, the canal tunnel was linked to the second by 21 adits which passed underneath Nicholson’s tunnel, allowing spoil to be removed by boat.[4] Construction was disrupted by strike action by tunnellers and bricklayers over disputes about payment and shift length.[4] In February 1871, the 3 miles, 57 yards (4,803 m) long second rail tunnel, to the south of the first, was opened.[4]

Standedge Rail Tunnel - - 1625791
Diggle portal of the 1894 tunnel

Even two tunnels could not provide sufficient capacity to satisfy demand and in 1890, the L&NWR embarked on providing four tracks on most of the line which required constructing a twin-track tunnel.[4]

Construction was done under the guidance of AA MacGregor and carried out by 1,800 men who lived in the paper mills at Diggle and 54 wooden huts near the eastern side. Once again the tunnel was driven from adits, this time 13 adits were connected to the first railway tunnel.[4] The canal tunnel was extended at the Diggle end to accommodate the third rail tunnel, which ran close past it. For most of its length, the new bore is to the north of the canal tunnel, but passes over the canal tunnel just inside each tunnel entrance. When the work was completed, the tunnel was 3 miles, 60 yards (4,806 m) long.[25] To speed the excavation, 40 break-ups were opened using around 120 tons of gelignite. About 25 million bricks, which were mostly produced locally were used in the tunnel lining.[4]

Standedge tunnel connecting passage - - 1410621
One of the connecting passageways in Standedge tunnel

A 26-foot unlined section of tunnel collapsed in April 1894 blocking the tunnel for a week.[4] On 1 August 1894, the new tunnel was passed for use by inspector Major Yorke. The opening of the double-track tunnel provided additional capacity for the L&NWR, allowing them to temporarily close the single bores for maintenance.[4] As of 2018, the double-track bore is the fifth-longest rail tunnel in Britain, after the new High Speed 1 tunnels, the Severn Tunnel on the Great Western Main Line, and the Totley Tunnel on the Sheffield to Manchester route.[23]

Only the 1894 rail tunnel is in use for rail traffic, although all three rail tunnels are maintained.[4] In 1966, the 1848 single-track rail tunnel was closed followed by the 1871 single-track tunnel in 1970.[26] The 1848 tunnel provides an emergency escape route for the other tunnels and has been made accessible to road vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances. Both the 1848 and 1871 tunnel are used by maintenance personnel for access.[4] During the 2000s, Network Rail proposed reinstating rail traffic through the 1848 and 1871 tunnels to increase capacity on the Leeds-Manchester trans-Pennine route, but after a re-appraisal after the decision to electrify the trans-Pennine line, it was reported in 2012 that reinstatement was unnecessary.[27]

Visitor centre

Canal Warehouse, Tunnel End, Marsden - - 70472
The warehouse that now houses the visitor centre

The Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre at the Marsden end of the tunnel is in the former warehouse used for transshipment of goods from canal barge to packhorse between 1798 when the canal reached Marsden and 1811 when the tunnel opened. The centre contains exhibitions on the history of the tunnels, the canal tunnel's recent restoration and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Tunnel End Cottages, which once housed canal maintenance workers, houses a cafe and the booking office for 30-minute boat trips into the tunnel. The tourist trips use electric tugs that push a passenger-carrying barge.

The visitor centre is about half a mile (0.8 km) west of Marsden railway station which can be reached via the canal towpath. Adjacent to the railway station is the headquarters of the National Trust's Marsden Moor Estate which has a public exhibition, Welcome to Marsden, that gives an overview of the area and its transport history.[28]

See also



  1. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 106
  2. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 105
  3. ^ "Transportation Uses - Standedge Tunnels". Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Bickerdike, Graeme. "The Standedge experience." Rail Engineer, 3 April 2014.
  5. ^ Hadfield & Biddle 1970, pp. 322–323
  6. ^ a b Hadfield & Biddle 1970, pp. 324–325
  7. ^ Hadfield & Biddle 1970, pp. 325–328
  8. ^ a b Skempton 2002, p. 495
  9. ^ a b Hadfield & Biddle 1970, pp. 328–329
  10. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 105
  11. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 83
  12. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 106
  13. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 106
  14. ^ Ellis 2017, p. 106
  15. ^ Hodge, Mary (1994). "The Saddleworth Story" (5th reprint ed.). p. 19. Archived from the original on 11 August 2007.
  16. ^ a b c d "Standedge Tunnel History". Pennine Waterways. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Marsden History Group website". Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  18. ^ Rolt 1950, pp. 88–89
  19. ^ "Media story & image of Historical Society boat trip from 1961". Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  20. ^ "Modern Operation". Huddersfield Canal Society. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  21. ^ "Standedge Tunnel". British Waterways. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  22. ^ "Standedge Tunnel Customer Guidelines" (PDF). British Waterways. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  23. ^ a b "Communications and Transport in the Marsden area". Marsden Local History Group. Archived from the original on 31 December 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2007.
  24. ^ "Huddersfield Narrow Canal Facts". Huddersfield One. Archived from the original on 7 January 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2007.
  25. ^ Gagg 1976
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Manchester Hub Rail Study" (PDF). Network Rail. p. 51. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  28. ^ "Marsden Moor – What to see and do". National Trust. Archived from the original on 22 July 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2006.


  • Gagg, John (1976). Canal Tunnels. Bucks UK John Gagg. ISBN 9780950422626.
  • Hadfield, Charles; Biddle, Gordon (1970). The Canals of North West England, Vol 2 (pp.241–496). David and Charles. ISBN 0-7153-4992-9.
  • Rolt, L. T. C. (1950). The Inland Waterways of England. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. ISBN 0-04-386003-6.
  • Skempton, Sir Alec; et al. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: Vol 1: 1500 to 1830. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-2939-X.
  • Ellis, Trevor (2017). The Standedge Tunnels. Huddersfield Canal Society. ISBN 978-1-5272-1554-2.

External links

Preceded by
Sapperton Canal Tunnel
Longest tunnel
Succeeded by
Fréjus Rail Tunnel
Diggle railway station

Diggle railway station was a station that served the village of Diggle on the Huddersfield Line to the north of Uppermill. Immediately to the west of the Standedge tunnels, it was opened in 1849 along with the first rail tunnel and closed to passenger traffic in 1968. In its heyday, the station had platforms serving all four lines but little trace remains of it today—all of the buildings and much of platforms having been demolished (although the nearby signal box remains operational).

On 5 July 1923, an express passenger train was in a rear-end collision with a freight train. Four people were killed.Local residents have periodically campaigned for the station to be reopened. This has often been connected to proposals to fully reopen the Standedge Tunnels.In 2012, a renewed effort was launched by a local Liberal Democrat parish councillor. This was unsuccessful, as Transport for Greater Manchester concluded that much of the cited passenger demand would actually be abstracted from the existing station at nearby Greenfield.

Huddersfield line

The Huddersfield line is one of the busiest rail lines on the West Yorkshire MetroTrain network in Northern England. Services are operated by TransPennine Express (local and longer distance) and Northern (Local). The line connects Leeds and Huddersfield with Manchester (Victoria and Piccadilly), Manchester Airport and Liverpool.

The route travels south-south west from Leeds through Dewsbury. After a short westward stretch through Mirfield (where it runs on the ex-L&YR section), it continues south west through Huddersfield, using the River Colne valley to its headwaters. The long Standedge Tunnel just after Marsden crosses under the watershed and the majority of the run down to Manchester is in the Tame valley. After Manchester, the line reaches the Liverpool and Manchester Railway line over Chat Moss to Liverpool.

The Government announced in November 2011 that this route would be electrified, and electrification is currently scheduled to be completed by 2022, though not all the route will now be electrified.


Kirklees is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, governed by Kirklees Council with the status of a metropolitan borough. The largest town and administrative centre of Kirklees is Huddersfield, and the district also includes Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Kirkburton, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield and Slaithwaite. Kirklees had a population of 422,500 in 2011 and is therefore the most populous borough in England that is not a city; it is also the third largest metropolitan district by area behind Doncaster and Leeds.

Last of the Summer Wine (series 10)

The Last of the Summer Wines tenth series aired on BBC1. All of the episodes were written by Roy Clarke and produced and directed by Alan J. W. Bell.

Last of the Summer Wine (series 15)

The Last of the Summer Wines fifteenth series aired on BBC1. All of the episodes were written by Roy Clarke and produced and directed by Alan J. W. Bell.

Last of the Summer Wine (series 9)

Last of the Summer Wine's ninth series originally aired on BBC1 between 1 January 1986 and 27 December 1987. All episodes from this series were written by Roy Clarke and produced and directed by Alan J. W. Bell.The ninth series was released on DVD in region 2 as a box set on 5 May 2008.

List of canal tunnels in the United Kingdom

This is a list of canal tunnels in the United Kingdom.

List of museums in West Yorkshire

This list of museums in West Yorkshire, England contains museums which are defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organisations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are non-profit art galleries and university art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

List of tunnels in the United Kingdom

This is a list of road, railway, waterway, and other tunnels in the United Kingdom.

A tunnel is an underground passageway with no defined minimum length, though it may be considered to be at least twice as long as wide. Some civic planners define a tunnel as 0.1 miles (160 m) in length or longer.

A tunnel may be for pedestrians or cyclists, for general road traffic, for motor vehicles only, for rail traffic, or for a canal. Some are aqueducts, constructed purely for carrying water—for consumption, for hydroelectric purposes or as sewers—while others carry other services such as telecommunications cables. There are even tunnels designed as wildlife crossings for European badgers and other endangered species.

The longest tunnel in the United Kingdom is the Northern line at 27,800 metres (91,200 ft). This will be superseded in 2021 by the 37,600-metre (123,400 ft) Woodsmith Mine Tunnel in North Yorkshire that will transport polyhalite from North Yorkshire to a port on Teesside. Standedge Tunnel at 5,029 metres (3.125 mi) is the longest canal tunnel in the United Kingdom.

Listed buildings in Saddleworth from 1800

Saddleworth is a civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, Greater Manchester, England. It lies between the town of Oldham and the Pennine hills, and it is largely rural, with agricultural land and moorland. It also includes suburban areas to the east of Oldham. The principal settlements are Austerlands, Delph, Denshaw, Diggle, Dobcross, Grasscroft, Greenfield, Grotton, Lydgate, Springhead, and Uppermill. The parish contains 382 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, five are listed at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade.

Most of the listed buildings are houses and farmhouses, and many have been used as loom workshops and have windows with multiple lights. Almost all the buildings are in stone and have roofs of stone-slate or slate, and the windows are mullioned. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs through the parish, and the listed buildings associated with this are bridges, locks, a milestone, and an aqueduct. The other listed buildings include farm buildings, churches and associated structures, village stocks, public houses, bridges, shops, a former mill, milestones, a boundary stone, tenter posts, a railway viaduct, a war memorial, and three telephone kiosks.

This listed contains the listed buildings dated from 1800.

Marsden, West Yorkshire

Marsden is a large village within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees district, in West Yorkshire, England. It is in the southern edge of the South Pennines and is fringed by the Peak District to the south. The village is 7 miles (11 km) west of Huddersfield and located at the confluence of the River Colne and the Wessenden Brook. It was an important centre for the production of woollen cloth, focused at Bank Bottom Mill, which closed in 2003. According to a 2008 mid-year estimate the village has a population of 4,440.

Micklehurst Line

The Micklehurst Line was a railway line between Stalybridge, Cheshire, and Diggle junction in the West Riding of Yorkshire (now part of Greater Manchester). The line, approximately eight miles long, was also sometimes referred to as the Micklehurst Loop and the Stalybridge and Diggle Loop Line.

Outer Pennine Ring

The Outer Pennine Ring is an English canal ring which crosses the Pennines between Manchester, Leeds and Castleford. Its route follows parts of eight canals, and includes the longest canal tunnel in England. The ring was completed in 2001, with the opening of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Much of the route is shared with the North Pennine Ring, which crosses the Pennines by a different route on the southern leg.

Peak District

The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines. It is mostly in northern Derbyshire, but also includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. An area of great diversity, it is mostly split into the Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, and the limestone area of the White Peak.

The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951. With its proximity to the cities of Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield, and access by road and rail, it attracts millions of visitors every year.Inhabited from the Mesolithic era, evidence exists from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. Settled by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, the area remained largely agricultural and mining grew in importance in the medieval era. Richard Arkwright built his cotton mills at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Quarrying became important as mining declined. Tourism grew after the advent of the railways, visitors attracted by the landscape, spa towns at Buxton and Matlock Bath, Castleton's show caves, and Bakewell, the national park's only town.

Tourism remains important for its towns and villages and their varied attractions, country houses and heritage sites. Outside the towns, walking on the extensive network of public footpaths, cycle trails, rock climbing and caving are popular pursuits.

Sapperton Canal Tunnel

The Sapperton Canal Tunnel is a tunnel on the Thames and Severn Canal near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England. With a length of 3,817 yards it was the longest canal tunnel, and the longest tunnel of any kind, in England from 1789 to 1811.

South Pennine Ring

The South Pennine Ring is an English canal ring which crosses the Pennines between Manchester and Huddersfield. It covers parts of five canals, and includes passage through the longest canal tunnel in Britain. It has only been possible to cruise it since 2002, when restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal provided the return route across the Pennines.

South Pennines

The South Pennines is a region of moorland and hill country in northern England lying towards the southern end of the Pennines. In the west it includes the Rossendale Valley and the West Pennine Moors. It is bounded by the Greater Manchester conurbation in the west and the Bowland Fells and Yorkshire Dales to the north. To the east it is fringed by the towns of West Yorkshire whilst to the south it is bounded by the Peak District. The rural South Pennine Moors constitutes both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.


Standedge () is a moorland escarpment in the Pennine Hills of northern England between Marsden, West Yorkshire and Diggle, Greater Manchester. Standedge has been a major moorland crossing point since Roman times and possibly earlier.

From east to west, Standedge is crossed by five generations of road crossing, the earliest a Roman road from York to Chester and the latest the A62 road. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the railway line from Leeds to Manchester pass underground in the Standedge Tunnels. The Pennine Way long distance footpath passes through Standedge in a north–south direction along the Pennines.

Much of Standedge is in the National Trust's Marsden Moor Estate. Administratively, Standedge is split between Kirklees and Oldham.

Standedge Tunnel
Huddersfield station
Huddersfield Broad Canal
Marsden station
42 Locks
Visitor Centre
River Colne
Marsden Portals
1811 canal tunnel
1848 railway tunnel
1894 railway tunnel
1871 railway tunnel
Diggle Portals
10 locks
Saddleworth Viaduct
Greenfield station
18 locks
Stalybridge station
4 locks
Ashton Canal
Dukinfield Junction
Ashton under Lyne
Ashton Canal
Peak Forest Canal


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