Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

There and Back, to See How Far it is. *


Every now and again my work takes me over the Pennines to the town of Ashton Under Lyne, to get there I could take a slow haul along the A roads followed by a dash of motorway, but I prefer the scenic route, it’s one I never tire of, the journey has inspired a post or two (or maybe it is at least three!) but there could be many more. Ashton would once have described its self as a Lancashire Mill town, towns that were woven from the weft and the warp of the textile industry.


These days  however it is billed as being part of the  Tameside Metropolitan Borough which doesn’t seem to raise the same civic passion as the War of the Roses, maybe that was the plan

Many of the mills are now demolished, the textile industry fell into decline during the great depression and never recovered. As with all towns, things have changed and it is a town that is not without it social problems (but then which town isn’t).

Aston 2-2

But Ashton maintains a friendly feel (and  I suspect if the place was just a smidge larger than it is, this would be lost.) People know one another and greet one another in the street and stop and chat. Park yourself on a bench in the town centre at lunch time, to eat your sandwich** and the person next to you is likely to strike up a conversation. I have an affection for the place.

sunset in Ashton-2

*‘There and back, to see how far it is’? What my brother always used to reply, when he was a teenager, when Mum asked him as he left home, ‘Where are you going?’

**or barm cake as a sandwich or buttie would be known in Lancashire, although there is something about visiting Ashton that makes me buy pies for my lunch!

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

16 thoughts on “There and Back, to See How Far it is. *

  1. Beautiful light on the buildings. Great job!

  2. i love that light! we have friends in cheshire and there is a thing called an oatcake that is nothing like the little oatcakes we have down here – it has bacon and cheese and all manner of goodies in it!

  3. One of the (many) things I love about Edinburgh is how, whenever I sit down in Princes Street Gardens with a sandwich (or a piece as it’s known up here), I can usually bank on having a random conversation with a random stranger.

    Love the pictures.

  4. I opened the post and thought “Oh! Coronation Street!” I loved that show. I loved every one of those chimneys. (Where’s the cat?)

    And all this time you thought I improved my leisure hours with Jane Austen.

    Now I have to go look at the barm cake and the pie.

  5. hiya mrs uhdd – arh, i was born in ashton under lyne some 41 years ago – wonder what it was like back then?

  6. I just really have only ever driven through Ashton and I cant say I know the place. Ive never really got inspired by it Uphill.

  7. Hmmm, a sandwich would only be referred to as a barmcake if it was made with one (e.g. ham barmcake or chip barmcake), and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a sandwich made with a barmcake described to as a buttie – those are made with slices of bread.
    You’re not from round ‘ere, are you? 😉

  8. Just visited your “Manchester Specialities” link and must say that I think the Yankee media (I’m from Utah) have given British fare a “bum rap.” Everything mentioned sounded very tasty to me, like good, solid, homely cookery that would certainly satisfy. Some of the old recipes passed down through my family seem quite similar to these dishes, especially the Chester Pudding and the Tatie ‘ash. And we always keep a stash of Fisherman’s Friends on hand. Hmmmm, perhaps we should think of a visit to Ashton and environs in the future…

  9. Next time you have fish fingers, try them with Thai chilli sauce. Pretty damned good! 🙂

    • I thought I was being adventurous having tartar sauce! I had a ‘chip barm’ today (£1.30) and have been suffering from a carbohydrate overload for the rest of the day; I enjoyed it at the time mind you.

  10. brings back memories, I was born and bred in Oldham (Werneth), a stone’s throw away from Ashton, my gran used to catch the bus to Ashton once a week, I expect there was a market on. Ah…..Hollands pies, are they still as good as they used to be? Steak and kidney pud, chips, mushy peas and curry sauce was a Friday lunch staple from the chinese chippy on Hollins Road (A6104). Twenty four years ago now!

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