The maps used in this sequence of articles are predominantly 25″ OS Maps from 1896 through to 1922 and have been sourced from the National Library of Scotland.  There are a number of websites which focus on the Loop which are excellent. The sites concerned are noted immediately below and the relevant link can be found in the references section of this page or by clicking on the highlighted text here:
- The most detailed treatment of the line and its stations can be found on the Disused Stations – Site Records website. The particular pages on that site which cover the Loop were provided by Alan Young. One page covers the route and pages covering each of the stations can be accessed from that page. 
- Particularly good for old photographs of the Loop is the Table 38 webpage about the railway. 
The first articles about the Micklehurst Loop can be found at:
There is a series of three addenda to the first of those two articles which include a series of photographs relating to the first part of the line from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. These can be found on the following links:
In my perambulations around the internet, I have also encountered a series of videos (on YouTube) which start from the Northern end of the line. 5 videos cover the length of the line in 2020 and a separate video covers some of the structures on the line. These videos are easily available on YouTube. This is the first  in the series:
Part 3 – Micklehurst Station to Chew Valley Road, Greenfield
We continue our journey travelling North along the Micklehurst Loop. We start from the site of Micklehurst Station. Our first picture shows the view back along the line that we have already travelled from close to the southern wall of the Micklehurst Station House. It looks back through the line of Micklehurst Viaduct.Our second image shows an aerial view of the line ahead in 1947, stretching away in the distance to the Royal George Tunnel. Micklehurst Passenger Station building can be seen to the right of the viaduct in the bottom-right of the image.
The next image shows that building in January 2021. The canopy that graced the lower portion of the building (the ticket office) was gone even as early as the late 1940s.
Protected by a five-bar gate immediately adjacent to the Station building, the linear walkway following the line recommences. We had to leave it further South as the Micklehurst Goods Yard is in private hands.
The passenger station building is also in private hands. The platforms were not adjacent to the station building as the railway was still on viaduct as it passed the back of the station house. A covered ramp led up towards wooden platforms a little distance to the North of the Station building. They were located in the position pointed to by the top of the chimney in the adjacent aerial image. Over a few tens of yards, the modern path rises from the road level to track-bed level and then levels out to follow the track-bed.Micklehurst Station Building in January 2021. (My photograph 22nd January 2021.)
The next few images focus on the bridge shown in the top-right of the map extract above. The first comes from the aerial image above. 
The lane carried by the bridge has the name Winterford Road on the adjacent satellite image.
As can be seen in the pictures below, the bridge was constructed in blue engineering brick, like many of the structures and buildings on the Mickelhurst Loop.
The first picture shows the bridge at the time the Micklehurst Estate was being built after the Second World War.
If you plan to walk the route, it is worth knowing that there is an Allotment Café beyond the Mills which are encountered if you walk down Winterford Road towards the River Tame and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The Mills are shown on the next OS Map extract below. By the turn of the 20th century, Cheshire Side Mill was disused but Carrhill and Woodend Mills were active.
Cheshire Side Mill – was disused at the time the 1898 25″ OS Map was being drafted. However, by 1916 it had been replaced by Milton Mill
Carrhill Mills – were owned in 1891 by Nathaniel Buckley and Sons, and had 84,600 spindles. [5: p117]
Woodend Mills – were built by 1848 by Robert Hyde Buckley, close to his father’s mills.  These buildings made up an integrated cotton mill, built in several phases. Historic England say that they are “a near complete example of a first generation integrated cotton mill site, where both weaving and spinning processes were planned from the outset. Before this the two processes had been done on separate sites.” 
Milton Mill – was actually built in 1892 but did not feature on the 1898 OS 25″ Map but was included on the following series as the small extract above shows. The Architects were A H Stott & Sons and the mill was built for the Milton Spinning Co. Ltd. [5: p118]
A lane used to run from the point where Winterford Road meets the Canal running in just North of an easterly direction. It was given the name Winterford Lane. It can just about be picked out among the trees in the satellite image above. It crossed the Micklehurst Loop on a bridge which has all but been erased from the map in the 21st century. It can be seen on the next aerial image extract in the top-right corner. Unlike its near neighbour the Winterford Lane Bridge has not survived, probably because it was a girder bridge rather than an arch.
Beyond Winterford Lane, the Loop line curved gradually back to the North before encountering another accommodation bridge.
The images immediately below show that length of the track-bed in January 2021.
The line then began another gentle curve towards the Northeast. and passed under a series of three structures. First an arch bridge of similar construction to the first bridge out of Micklehurst Station. Then a footbridge spanning the two track mainline and then a longer footbridge which spanned the running lines and the Gas Works sidings.Both Stamford Mill and Roughtown Mill were built and owned by Robert Hyde Buckley (c1813-1867) who was the youngest son of Nathaniel Buckley. 
The next map extract shows the two railway lines with Roaches Bridge in the bottom left quadrant and two further mills:
Bank Mill – which was owned by Nathan Meanock, Grace’s Guide tells us that it had 13,500 spindles, 128/328 twist and that pay day was the second Wednesday;  and
Union Mill – which was owned by Hilton and Hopkins and had 12,000 spindles, 3011/40′ twist and the same pay day. 
All three of the bridges mentioned in the text above no longer exist. The Mills here have gone and Mossley Gas Works are also long-gone, swept way after the change from Town Gas to North Sea Gas with the development of those offshore Gas fields.
Not too far Northeast of Roaches Bridge (where the Roaches pub sits in the 21st century), was the site of Mossley Gas Works. The area was still known as the Roaches but the pub beside the Canal Bridge was (and is) the Tollmache Arms. The first map extract below comes from the late 1800s. At that time the Gas Works occupied a single site to the West of Manchester Road between it and the River Tame.
Spring Mill was owned by Buckley and Lees, Grace’s Guide says that it had 46,000 spindles, 30’/50′ twist.  It was positioned on the North side of the original Gas Works site as can be seen in the two map extracts above.
Mossley Gas Works – were first established in 1829 at Micklehurst, they belonged to the Stalybridge Gas Co. Ltd. In 1884, an agreement was made between Stalybridge Corporation and The Local Board of Mossley for the purchase of the Stalybridge Gas Co. and in 1885 the undertaking was divided between the two authorities and run jointly. 
By 1925 however, the works were too small and inefficient to satisfy demand and proposals were made for a new gasworks to supply Mossley Corporation. Objections were raised by Saddleworth UDC but were rejected in the House of Lords. The new site was at Roaches and required a great deal of leveling and alteration before the works could be built. The works at Roaches opened in 1931. In 1934 Mossley Corporation sold the undertaking to the newly formed Mossley and Saddleworth Gas Co Ltd. which was then absorbed by the holding company Gas Consolidation Ltd (Severn Valley Gas Corporation Ltd and Palatine Gas Corporation Ltd). In 1949, the undertaking vested in the North Cheshire Group of the NWGB. 
The opening ceremony in 1931 took place on 22nd June. The Works were inaugurated by the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Derby, K. G. 
We have already established that all three of the bridges mentioned in the text above and shown in the images above no longer exist. These aerial images of the Gas Works are intriguing. A lot of detail can be picked out. The image focusses specifically on the Gas Works.
The Gas Works were located North of Mossley along the Tame Valley and situated on either side of both the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Manchester Road. The site was bounded on the West by the River Tame. Closer inspection of this image is feasible with membership of the Britain From Above Website. Although a little blurred it is possible to focus-in enough (as can be seen in the adjacent image) to be able to observe the Works Saddle Tank Locomotive at work placing wagons beneath the coal lift. In the extract immediately below two different types of tank wagon are visible, there are plenty of private owner wagons. Of interest too, is the complexity of the internal point-work – a double-slip takes centre stage in this image. The boundary fence between the Micklehurst Loop and the private coal sidings of the Gas Works can also be seen. I believe that the Gas Works Loco was an 0-4-0 ST locomotive but I was unable to find any details or pictures beyond the glimpse visible in the aerial photograph above. David Beilby on the IndustrailRailwaySociety@groups.io site says: “My father worked there and I remember the loco well – being a small green saddle tank it inevitably got nicknamed “Percy” by a youngster such as myself. In fact it was a Peckett 0-4-0ST named “Roaches”, works no 1822 of 1930.”  The next feature on the Micklehurst Loop after Mossley Gas Works was the Royal George Tunnel. Both the next images are taken from the same photograph on the Britain from Above Website. 
The Royal George Tunnel was named for the pub which stood over it at the junction between Manchester Road (A635) and Huddersfield Road/Well-i-Hole Road (B6175). The tunnel was 140 yards (128 metres) long. Immediately at its Northeastern end, the A635 was carried over the Line on a simply supported span.
Just to the North of the Loop, on the West side of Well-i-Hole Road close to the farm was Royal George Mill. It belonged to R R Whitehead and Brothers Limited. They traced their origins back to the seventeenth century, when their farming ancestors began to act as woollen merchants. In 1822, William Whitehead joined his brothers, John Dicken and Edward at Oak View Mill, also in Greenfield. In 1837, William’s four sons, Ralph Radcliffe, James Heywood, Francis Frederick and John Dicken, established a partnership under the name of R R Whitehead and Brothers to carry on business as woollen manufacturers and general traders and moved into the Royal George Mills, Greenfield. 
They specialised in the production of felts produced from wool, and also in the manufacture of flags. In 1932, they became part of Porritts and Spencer of Bury, who were, in turn, taken over by the Scapa Group in 1969. In 1980, further amalgamation took place with Bury Masco Industries and Cooper and Company, both of Brynmawr, South Wales. These concerns later closed. During the twentieth century, the Royal George Mills specialised in producing two types of felt; Taper Hammer Felt and Technical Felt. Taper Hammer Felt was used on the hammers in pianos, and the Royal George Mills were renowned for it throughout the world, exporting to Japan, Korea, China and Germany. Technical Felt was used throughout industry in a wide range of machinery. Work at the Royal George Mills gradually decreased throughout the 1990s and they finally closed in 1999. The site has been developed into housing by Wiggett Homes. 
The two photographs above are taken at the East end of the parapets of the subway bridge shown in the top-right of the adjacent 25″ OS Map extract. 
On the South side of the Loop Line and also of Manchester Road was Dacres Hall.The hall is a former working farm, the vicarage of Bartholomew Dacre, who was vicar of St George’s Church in Mossley. He had to make a living from the farm since his stipend wasn’t nearly enough to keep his family. Years later, a local industrialist and self-taught amateur architect, Tom Shaw, acquired the property and the hall came into being. 
Just a short distance further along the Micklehhurst Loop and Manhester Road from the entrance to Dacres Hall was the Friezland Goods yard and Goods Shed/Warehouse. The next few pictures focus on that site.
These next two pictures were taken on 22nd January 2021 as we walked away from the Royal Goerge Inn along the old line. They must be at approximately the location of the old Goods Yard.
We passed the Oldham & District Riding Club’s Friezland Arena on our right.
it was not far beyond this point that we had to leave the old track-bed as it would have sat on the now demolished Friezland Viaduct.
Off to the left of these pictures, the River Tame swings closer to the route of the line and sits almost immediately next to the Viaduct ahead, before swinging away once more to its confluence with Greenfield (or Chew) Brook.
The Hudderfield Narrow Canal which once followed the route of the old Loop Line very closely has been carried over the line of the River Tame on an Aqueduct to the West of The Royal George Inn and now follows the Northern flank of the Tame Valley running close to Friezland Church and then on into Uppermill beneath, first the B6175 and then the A6051 (Chapel Road).
Not much further East of Greenfield Station on the mainline, the Canal passes to the North side of Frenches Wharf Marina.
Alan Young has a photograph of the station footbridge on the Disused Stations website. It can be seen by clicking on this link: http://disused-stations.org.uk/f/friezland/index.shtml 
The adjacent image shows Friezland Station Building from above. It is in private hands and has been altered significantly. The facia’s have been painted. Alan Young has photographs of the building on the Disused Stations Website which were taken in 2015. 
There was a viaduct at each end of Friezland Station as the image below shows. Friezland Viaduct, of twelve brick arches and 187 yards long, was to the West of the Station. Greenfield Viaduct was longer, it was a 16 brick-arch viaduct of 242 yards length with a large span over Chew Brook. Very soon after leaving the Greenfield Viaduct trains would have crossed another arch bridge of brick constriction which spanned Chew Valley Road. There were three mills close to the Micklehurst Loop, situated either side of Chew Brook. Haybottom’s Mill, Bentfield Mill and Andrew Mill.
Haybottom’s Mill – was a bleaching mill. It was immediately adjacent to Friezland Station. I have not been able to find any further details about the mill.
Bentfield Mill – was at different times a cotton mill and a woolen mill. Notes: Built originally at as a woolen mill in around 1790, it was rebuilt as a Cotton Mill by Robinson Brothers in 1868. It reverted to wool in 1892. Chew Brook Drive and its housing is built on the site.
Andrew Mill – appears on the 6″ OS Map extract below. I have not been able to find any further details about the mill.
We finish this length of the Micklehurst Loop at Chew Valley Road in Greenfield.
In concluding, we see a couple of older postcard images of Greenfield Viaduct, the second of which looks along Chew Valley Road towards the Southeast, and a 21st century Google Streetview image of the point at which the Loop crossed Chew Valley Road.
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- Owen Ashmore; The industrial archaeology of North-west England; Manchester University Press, 1982.
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This was the most exciting and interesting of routes taken at speed from Marsden, through the single bore tunnel, into Diggle Stn and downhill to Stalybridge.
As a regular user of what is now the bridle path along the Loop, I was fascinated by your blog. I didn’t know that there had been a tunnel under the Royal George.
The house I live in was known as “The Gas House” as it had been the home of the manager of Mossley gas works.
Many thanks for an item of great interest
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V interesting and useful.
Thank you, Jim
I had never seen a published photo of Friezeland Goods Shed close-up so I was amazed to see it still standing in splendid isolation on 2nd January 1983, the loop line having closed in 1966. I took 3 photos of it that day which I hope to publish on my own web site some time. I believe from another source that it no longer exists. I wonder how it survived so long!
Yes, it no longer exists there is a riding school on the site. I think. The other goods sheds still exist in some form or other
Thank you for your reply. I lived in Diggle until the mid-1980s and have not been back since then so I didn’t know what happened to the site. If you can use one of my photos of the goods shed from that day please let me know.
I’d love to see the photos.
How do I send the photos? I’ve tried pasting them into the ‘Leave a Reply’ box but it won’t work. I normally send photos as attachments to e-mails but can;t find an e-mail address.
Thanks for trying. My email address is email@example.com. That should work.
I sent an e-mail on 8th November with two photos attached but I’m not sure if you successfully recieved them?
My apologies John
I have seen the email but not opened it. Life has been hectic. I will look at it and reply.
Best wishes and thank you.
I visited Hartshead Power Station as a teenager on 22nd May 1971. We had come up from down south (Woking) to spend a day tracking down surviving steam and had already been to Heaps Bridge and seen a working loco, Colyhurst to see a ‘Jinty’ in steam albeit as a stationary boiler and finished our little tour off at Hartshead. My abiding memory is of being guided by one of the station’s staff up and over the high level conveyor to get to the locos. It was spectacular up there and slightly scary. Being a Saturday afternoon nothing much was happening shunting wise and RSH 7661 was in the back of the engine shed along with the fireless HL 3805. There was however another RSH 0-4-0ST present stored in the sidings. This was works number 7646 of 1950. I have sent by email a reasonable picture of 7646 which you are welcome to use along with a rather poor photo of the fireless inside the shed.
Thank you Keith
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Winterford Lane bridge was directly below the bottom of our garden when we lived at the very top of Station Road from 1949 onwards.
It was a substantial stone erection and the playground for the local kids.
Can anyone shed light on why and when it was demolished and what became of the giant capping stones?