Historic county of Yorkshire

St Chad's Gardens, Uppermill Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Uppermill Uppermill is the largest of the several villages of the civil parish of Saddleworth which are distinctly Yorkshire villages but to the west side of the Pennine watershed, although they are almost surrounded by Pennine hills.

The village together with the others in Saddleworth were part of the West Riding of Yorkshire until the local government reorganisation of 1974 when they were placed in the Oldham metropolitan borough in the Greater Manchester metropolitan county. Thus historic Yorkshire accounts for just over half the land area of the metropolitan borough based in Oldham, a town historically part of Lancashire.

Uppermill is 4 miles east-north-east of Oldham, 7 miles south-east of Rochdale, 9 miles west-south-west of Holmfirth, 11 miles south-west of Huddersfield, 11 miles north-east of Manchester and 13 miles south of Hebden Bridge (21 miles by road).

Saddleworth's part in Yorkshire life can be traced back to at least the Middle Ages. The area still displays white roses on boundary signs at the edge of the parish and Yorkshire Day continues to be celebrated on August 1 each year.

Uppermill nestles in the valley of the upper part of the River Tame beneath the rugged moors of the Pennines and is at the edge of the Peak District National Park, which starts around half-a-mile to the east of the village centre.

Saddleworth Civic Hall Uppermill is the base of the Saddleworth Parish Council which meets at the Saddleworth Civic Hall, a community hall in Uppermill which was originally the Mechanics Institute built in 1859. The Civic Hall provides a venue for events in the village.

The rich history of the area, with relics of the Bronze Age and Roman times, can be traced through the Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill as well as by visiting some of the historic sites themselves. The village has a more recent history of woollen spinning and weaving and woollen and cotton textile mills, some pre-dating the industrial revolution of the Victorian era. Today though, many of the remaining old mills have been put to new uses, including residential conversions. The area is also one of upland farming.

Uppermill has also been an important place on historic trans-Pennine routes. Many historic routes can be discovered in the area, from the forts at Castleshaw which were on the Roman route between Chester and York, to pack-horse trails across the hills.

Diggle, a small village about 2 miles north-east of Uppermill is at the western end of the Standedge Canal Tunnel from Marsden, Britain's longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel, which opened in 1811. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal continues through Uppermill itself.

Later the railway followed the canal through the moors in parallel railway tunnels, three of which were constructed over the years, the first completed in 1848. Only the double-track tunnel of 1894 is used today.

Uppermill did at one time have its own railway station, but it was on the Micklehurst loop, a parallel line built at the eastern side of Uppermill, while the main line ran down the western side. It was built principally to provide extra capacity for goods traffic between the tunnels at Diggle and Stalybridge. That line closed in the 1960s, but Greenfield station on the trans-Pennine main line is still open and only a mile from the centre of Uppermill.

The Saddleworth Rushcart Festival is an annual event in Uppermill and the Saddleworth area which has been revived in recent years by the Saddleworth Morris Men. Its history stems from the carts of rushes taken to church to insulate the floors in winter, a practice apparently stamped out at St Chad's Church at Uppermill around 1821, a few years before the church was rebuilt. Parading rushcarts, however, continued as a festival.

Village features

High Street, Uppermill The village High Street, although often busy with traffic, has a traditional character with cafes and pubs to relax in and the wide range of gift and craft outlets which make the villages and small towns of the Pennines such an attractive place to shop, attracting many tourists. There are traditional butchers shops and the range of services that you'd expect to find in a large village or small town also serving a number of smaller surrounding villages.

Uppermill has a Post Office branch in High Street.

Uppermill Library and St Chad's Gardens Uppermill Library, run by Oldham Council, is at St Chad's House at St Chad's Gardens, off High Street, Uppermill.
 Oldham Council - Uppermill Library web page.

Uppermill has pharmacies.

The village has a selection of pubs.

The village has cafes, pubs with good food, restaurants, fish and chips and takeaways.

A community toilet scheme operates within the opening hours of certain premises. Details can be found on the Saddleworth Parish Council website.
 Saddleworth Parish Council - Community Toilet Scheme web page.

The River Tame passes beneath a bridge in High Street, Uppermill.

Uppermill is on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

St Chad's Church, Uppermill St Chad's Church, Uppermill, is situated at Church Lane, high above the village and about a mile from its centre. A chapel of ease of the Rochdale Parish was established there in 1215, but the present church is a late Georgian rebuild, completed in 1833, with galleries and impressive stained glass windows. The tower was early Victorian, completed in 1847, but incorporated materials from an earlier one of 1746. Some services are held at St Chad's Parish Centre in Station Road, Uppermill, which was originally the church day and Sunday School.
 CoE in Saddleworth web pages.

Uppermill also has other thriving congregations:

Sacred Heart and St William Catholic Church is in High Street.
 Sacred Heart and St William Catholic Church website.

Uppermill Methodist Church is in High Street
 Uppermill Methodist Church website.

Ebenezer Congregational Church is in School Street.
 Congregational Federation - Ebenezer, Uppermill web page.


Uppermill Football Club has teams for all ages.
 Uppermill FC official website.

Uppermill Cricket Club are members of the Pennine Cricket League and play at Leafields, Uppermill.
 Uppermill Cricket Club web page.


Saddleworth Museum and Gallery Saddleworth Museum and Gallery
The museum, in an attractive setting beside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, reopened in September 2016 after a year-long refurbishment. The improved galleries host a variety of displays including local items such as the Dobcross Loom and features on local people, costumes, wartime, architecture, farming, textiles and other industries, archeology and geology.
 Saddleworth Museum and Gallery website.

Places to visit

Brownhill Countryside Centre

Wool Road, Dobcross
The centre is alongside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal near to where it crosses the River Tame, less than a mile north of the centre of Uppermill. It is has a nature garden access by ramped walkway and features woodland, meadow and pond habitats. There is also a gazebo and bird hide. The centre has a picnic site, cafe and upstairs countryside displays and information.

Castleshaw Roman Forts

Castleshaw Roman Forts

Footpath access. Nearest parking at Waterworks Road, off A62 Huddersfield Road, near Delph, Greater Manchester (historic West Riding of Yorkshire)
Across footpaths on a remote Pennine hillside are the earthwork remains of a succession of two forts built by the Roman army and used over a time-span of nearly 50 years during the period of their progression through Yorkshire as they invaded Britain. The first fort was built around AD 79 and a second down-sized fortlet built in AD 105 and used for about 20 years as it served the Roman road between Chester and York. By this time the Romans were securing a much more northerly boundary with the building of Hadrian's Wall. Today, little can actually be seen in the field where the forts were built other than remains of the raised rectangular earth bank ramparts, which would in Roman times have been higher and supported a wooden barricade wall. Alongside, however, there are interesting information boards explaining what would have been there in Roman times. The forts, which now have a scheduled monument status, have been the site of extensive archeological investigation at various times since the 1890s and more can be found out about these at the Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill. Saddleworth is an area of the south Pennines which was in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but which now makes up around half of the metropolitan borough of Oldham in Greater Manchester.

Find on map:  Castleshaw Roman Forts

Dove Stone Reservoir

Dove Stone Reservoir

Bank Lane, Greenfield
Dove Stone Reservoir and the adjoining Yeoman Hey Reservoir is a local beauty spot in the Chew Valley with spectacular scenery around the reservoirs and woodland plantations at the edge of the Peak District National Park. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds runs a reserve and trails in partnership with reservoir managers United Utilities. Dovestone Reservoir has a sailing club and an orienteering course. For the more adventurous there are paths and tracks to reach wilder open access moorland with dramatic cliffs and rocks. There is a pay and display car park and toilets at the reservoir run by Oldham Council.

Standedge Visitor Centre, Marsden

Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre

Waters Road, Marsden
At the eastern end of the Standedge Canal Tunnel, about 6 miles north-east of Uppermill, The Standedge Visitor Centre at Tunnel End, Marsden, tells the history of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the building of Britain's longest and deepest canal tunnel, the three-and-a-quarter mile long Standedge Tunnel on the highest stretch of canal in the country. An exhibition centre shows the work which went into the opening of the tunnel in 1811 and how goods were propelled through the tunnel by leggers laying on the boat roof and walking on the tunnel sides or roof. There is also a children's play area and the opportunity to travel deep into the tunnel on a guided narrow boat or to relax at the Watersedge cafe beside the tunnel. The centre hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Marsden can be reached by bus from Uppermill, by train between Greenfield and Marsden stations, by car or walking a moorland route. The visitor centre is about half-a-mile along the canal towpath from the station. The visitor centre is managed by the Canal & River Trust.
 Canal & River Trust - Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre web pages.

Peak District National Park

The wide and vast area of the Peak District National Park starts around half-a-mile to the east of Uppermill. The National Park stretches from Yorkshire into Derbyshire and beyond. For more details see our Peak District page.



Greenfield station is at the edge of the neighbouring village of Greenfield and less than a mile from the centre of Uppermill. It is a stop for TransPennine Express services operating between Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly. No rail services operate to Oldham, which is now removed from the National Rail network due to tram expansion from Manchester. For bus services see below.

 Northern - Greenfield Station and departure information at Northern website.
Greenfield station is managed by Northern. Service operator is TransPennine Express.

Bus services

Buses run through the centre of Uppermill and include services to Huddersfield, Oldham and Manchester as well as to other villages in the Saddleworth area.

Road travel

The busy A670 runs through the centre of the village. To the south-west the A670 runs towards Ashton-under-Lyne and connects to the A669 Oldham to Greenfield road which joins the A635 to Holmfirth. To the north of Uppermill, the A670 joins the A6052 to Dobcross, Delph and Denshaw and the A62 towards Huddersfield.

Emergency services

Greater Manchester Police.  Greater Manchester Police website.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.  Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service website.

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.  North West Ambulance Service website.

Local government

Civil parish council

Saddleworth Parish Council
Saddleworth Parish Council is the civil parish council for Uppermill and the surrounding villages of the former Saddleworth Urban District Council area, which itself closely matched a 'township' area tracing its history back to the Saxon period. Saddleworth covers 29.3 square miles, a large area compared with most civil parishes. The council's main activities include managing Saddleworth Civic Hall. It also manages the Saddleworth Cemetery, considers planning applications, supports local interest groups and special projects such as creating walking trails, installing boundary signs and organising Saddleworth in Bloom and Saddleworth Illumination competitions. The council has 20 members elected each four years. The council meets at the Civic Hall in Uppermill.
 Saddleworth Parish Council website.

District authority

Oldham Council

Uppermill and other villages in the Saddleworth area of the former West Riding of Yorkshire were linked with the Lancashire town of Oldham and its surrounding towns and villages in the local government reorganisation of 1974.

Surprisingly around half the area of the modern metropolitan borough of Oldham is of Yorkshire rather than Lancashire origin. Oldham is one of the 10 boroughs of the Greater Manchester metropolitan county formed in 1974, these being typically about one-third the size of the metropolitan boroughs of West and South Yorkshire.

Councillors are elected across 20 wards with three councillors representing each ward, one elected each year except on the fourth year. An election of one-third of the council due to be held in 2020 has been postponed to 2021.

Link to  Oldham Council website.

The political composition after the May 2019 election was:

60 members

County strategic authority

Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Greater Manchester was first formed as a metropolitan county in 1974 incorporating a little of the West Riding of Yorkshire, that being the Saddleworth Urban District which was placed within the Oldham metropolitan district. Oldham is one of ten large metropolitan district councils of Greater Manchester, the others being Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. While the original county council was abolished, the councils have continued to work together on county-wide issues and since 2011 that has been through a Combined Authority. The authority is run by the leaders of the 10 councils with the addition, since 2017 of an elected Mayor of Greater Manchester. The authority works with other local services, businesses, communities and other partners to improve what in recent years has been dubbed a city-region.
 Greater Manchester Combined Authority website.

Police and Crime Commissioner

The Mayor of Greater Manchester
The elected Mayor of Greater Manchester has taken over responsibility of the role previously carried out by the elected Police and Crime Commissioner although a Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire is appointed to work alongside the mayor to conduct that role.
 GMCA & Mayor of Greater Manchester website.

Fire Authority

The Mayor of Greater Manchester
Previous run by an authority of councillors from the 10 districts of Greater Manchester, this role is also now the responsibility of the elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, although a Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire is appointed to work alongside the mayor to conduct that role.
 GMCA & Mayor of Greater Manchester website.

National government region

North West England


1900-1974: In the Saddleworth Urban District in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
1974-present: Within Oldham metropolitan district of the created county of Greater Manchester.

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