West Pennines & Rossendale
The West Pennine Moors together with the area known as the Forest of Rossendale forms an upland area that heads westward away from the main north/south axis of the Pennines. The area shares many characteristics with the South Pennines in that the valleys are often densely populated and the marks of industry past and present are never far away.
The hand of man is perhaps even more apparent on the moorland heights here than anywhere else in the Pennines. A high number of these moors are decorated with man made constructions that range from 19th century memorial towers on Darwen Hill and Harcles Hill to the more recent collection of masts on Winter Hill and the huge Scout Moor windfarm on the flanks of Hailstorm Hill.
As with the South Pennines and Dark Peak the underlying rock is millstone grit (gritstone) though it is much less in evidence on the surface. The moors tend to be made of rough grassland rather than heather. Indeed on the West Pennine Moors there was a 50% loss of heather cover between 1946 and 1988. One reason for this is that unlike many upland Pennine areas the West Pennines moors are not managed for grouse shooting (hurrah!).
I didn't set foot in either the West Pennines or Rossendale until the beginning of 2010 and so I am very much still in the early stages of discovering this area for myself. Already though I experienced my first cloud inversion (on Bull Hill) while Winter Hill and its surrounding area is full of interest. I imagine that as my knowledge of the area increases then so will my notes on this page.