Winter Hill

Winter Hill is the highest point in the West Pennine area and towers over Rivington and its surroundings, although it is not tall enough to be classed as a mountain. Winter Hill is really a large, raised plateau of moorland with several summits named as hills in their own right, one being Rivington Pike. There are several other notable hills including Counting Hill, Noon Hill, Crooked Edge Hill, Adam Hill, Brown Hill and more. The summit of Winter Hill itself is rather understated and tucked away at the very end of the mast road behind the smaller radio masts and is marked by an OS trig point.

The name Winter Hill is probably derived from Old Norse, the first recorded name for the hill being Wintyrheld which would mean literally Winter Hill. However, “winter” and its variations certainly had the meaning “wet” in the old times and therefore means “the wet hill”, rather than our modern associations of cold or snow. Colloquialisms like “winter pasture” meaning poor agricultural land, probably at one time meant wet land that could not be farmed but could be used for pasture if necessary.

Between those times and now, it seems Winter Hill was shown as Egberden Hill on antique maps,, which would be derived from the Egbert’s Dean, which is the area now known as the Smithills Estate. The valley (dean from OE denu) reaches quite far up the hill and was once a prosperous area so passing cartographers seem to heard the place referred to as Egbert’s Dean Hill. Egbert’s Dean has a defined boundary in the SE quarter of the hill and should really refer to that area only.

Winter Hill image by munki-boy

Winter Hill Summit image by munki-boy

Mast on Winter Hill image by @Clive_SJohnson

Misty Sunset on Winter Hill

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Winter Hill Summit map

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Explore Winter Hill

Burnt Edge

Burnt Edge

Burnt Edge is a continuation of the valley of the Dean Brook as it rises to the higher slopes of Winter Hill. Featuring great moorland views out over Bolton and hills of Yorkshire and Derbyshire, together with tons of industrial archaeology.

Explore: Burnt Edge

Hole Bottom

Hole Bottom

The site of a small hamlet and fireclay works high on Winter Hill, once housing families employed in the local quarrying, mining and fireclay industries. Often passed by walkers on their way up the hill, there are a number of interesting industrial remains hidden in the moorland grass.

Explore: Hole Bottom

Montcliffe Colliery

Montcliffe Colliery

The site of an old coal mine or colliery on the slopes of Winter Hill above Horwich.

Explore: Montcliffe Colliery

Noon Hill

Noon Hill

High on the summit of the often foreboding Noon Hill is a Bronze Age round cairn topped by a more recent cairn of uncertain age. The round cairn was excavated in the 1950’s/60’s and yielded several cremations and funery ornaments now in the possesion of Bolton Museum. This site is rumoured to have been put to use in more recent times as a secret meeting place for persecuted Christians.

Explore: Noon Hill

Priests Crown

Priests Crown

A mystery mound on the East of Winter Hill, possibly man-made prehistoric, possibly a glacial mound.

Explore: Priests Crown

Reservoir of Dean Mills

Reservoir of Dean Mills

A secret reservoir high up on Winter Hill the former Reservoir of Dean Mills is a quiet spot that’s good for a visit on sunny days.

Explore: Reservoir of Dean Mills

Shaly Dingle

Shaly Dingle

A bit awkward to reach but great place for industrial archeaology, geology and fossil finding or just a splash about in the stream.

Explore: Shaly Dingle

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

Ward’s Reservoir or The Blue Lagoon above the village of Belmont has an uncertain future but was one of the best.

Explore: The Blue Lagoon

Walker Fold

Walker Fold

An excellent area for walking and wildlife situated around a glacial valley with great scenery and plenty to explore from open moorland to mixed woodland trails.

Explore: Walker Fold

Wildersmoor Pit Kilns

Wildersmoor Pit Kilns

A series of old Pit Kilns alongside a path across Wildersmoor on the slopes of Winter Hill above Horwich.

Explore: Wildersmoor Pit Kilns

Wilderswood

Wilderswood

Wilders Wood or Wilderswood as it is known today was once the name for a small strip of native woodland following a small brook that flows down from the moorland above Horwich in Lancashire.

Explore: Wilderswood

Two Lads

Two Lads

A large stone cairn on Crooked Edge Hill, an outlying summit of Winter hill, said to be the site of an ancient burial.

Explore: Two Lads

Winter Hill Tumulus

Winter Hill Tumulus

Bronze Age composite round cairn surviving as a mutilated structure. Excavation revealed a complex form incorporating layers of turf and vegetation, the pollen from which dated to 1600-1400BC.

Explore: Winter Hill Tumulus

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