Their purpose was to make it easier to gather the livestock off the higher common land to the farmsteads at the end of the summer although they also gave access to travelers crossing the moors, tracks worn by generations of people walking or riding to market, to worship or to visit their neighbours and packhorse trains crossing the Pennines.
Ridge and furrow
fields can be seen near Moor End, possibly farmed first during the Napoleonic wars, at a time when food was scarce that so much more marginal land was used.
Between Longshaw Clough Farm and Birchenough the footpath is on the exact alignment of the enclosure. Looking from Longhurst lane, Longsahw Clough Farm is outside the enclosure .
Longshaw Clough Colliery, one of many in Mellor which utilised the Lower Coal Measures, was located at the top of Moorend. Mellor Moor Colliery nearby, at the top of the hill near Five Lane Ends, was much larger with extensive galleries.
Cannon Hill Farm
was built in 1816 within a generation of the final division of the land.
The narrowest part of the enclosure, at half a mile wide, is at Canon Hill farm, the widest is a mile wide.
The circular Assart
, also mentioned in the Historic Landscapes of Mellor
, has over fifty per cent of its walls following the original boundary. The site was mentioned in documents of the Royal Forest of the peak in 1285 ( At that time spelt Birchenhalge) An Assart was cut or created out of land which had been set apart for hunting, not necessarily forested. Assarting could be carried out by the payment of a fee, with permission, or a fine if done without.
Either way it was encouraged as the land was otherwise not much use. The bigger tenants would club together to get Act of Enclosure through Parliament. Initially the boundaries would be marked with a bank and hedge, dry stone walls were constructed later in the nineteenth century.
Cobden Edge Farmhouse has a datestone above the door of 1762.
Many of the Farm houses built in the late 18th Century were built just inside the enclosure.
A wooden Cross was erected at Cobden Edge by local churches in 1970. The quarry owned by the people of Mellor is behind the cross.
Snape Hey Farm at Cobden Edge West where the Farmhouse is just outside the enclosure.
Near the Three Chimneys
the 18th century boundary does not follow the enclosure, which is immediately beyond it and survives as a wonderful band of trees containing many species. (The older the hedge or bank of trees, the more species it will contain. See Landscape Section
) Tumbledown walls in the forground and near the band of treesmark the line of a droveway built in the late 18th century.
The wall follows the boundary near the Three Chimneys. Rachels Stile and Stony Piece are both also positioned on the boundary.
Near Bull Hill
at Cobden Edge is another example of a horn to channel the livestock as they were brought downfrom the common moorland.
Arnfield Pole is marked on the Jowett Map of 1844 and was thought to have been originally erected in the 1550s by Thomas Arnfield of Broadhurst, it was used under the Acts of Enclosure to mark the boundary between Whittle and its neighbours.
At Rush Lane
, the Kings part can be seen to the right and Tenants part to the left with Hill Top Farm
At the highest part of Cobden Edge is the untarmaced Pole Lane enlosure road approaching Five Lanes End, with the narrowest part half a mile wide and the widest a full one mile wide.
Shiloh Hall Farm, with a datestone of 1729, has an earth bank in the grounds which marks the course of a division in the enclosure. Shiloh Road itself was the new road laid out for access after the division of the commons, following the Mellor and Thornsett boundary.
19th Century Dry Stone Walls
It is one of the few areas which retained hedges after the construction of drystone walls became more popular and portions of these hedges can still be seen on western side of some sections of Shiloh Road.
were built from around 1830 when the widespread use of gunpowder made quarrying faster and more efficient. They were built by gangs of usually 2 men and a boy, either quarrying the stone or taking loose stone from the ground. An efficient way to clear the land, it was possible to construct about 30 feet per day if the stone readily to hand. A foundation trench was dug first, then the wall was built wider at the bottom and tapering towards top, two lines of external stones filed with rubble between and with through stones at regular distances to tie the structure together.
The Moorfield Arms Inn uses an image of Charles the First as its Inn sign, reflecting a folk memory that the road it stands (Shiloh Road) on was created as a result of the acts of Enclosure and in fact Charles the First himself was the villain of the piece!
Many of the farms such as Spring Bank Farm
, north of the Moorfield Arms on Shiloh Road/ Gun Road, fit in nicely with the 18th Century dates, at 1735.
Both Pistol Farm and the nearby Gun Farm just to the north take their names from the fact that the Duke of Norfolk owned the land in the 19th century and had a Gun Lodge on the site.
The Robin Hoods Picking Rods
or The Maiden Stones appear to be remnants of Mercian Cross bases
which were used to indicate the boundaries of the lands of Abbeys. They provided guides for travellers across the wastes, with all roads leading to the crosses, such as those in the North Yorks Moors to the right.
There were previously many more crosses on the moors than there are now such as the missing Briargreve
Crosses indicated on the Jowett map.
Complete crosses can still be seen standing elsewhere in open moorland or as waymarkers such as the ones to the right.
Unfortunately many were destroyed during the religious zeal of the Reformation and occasionally the bases from these crosses can be seen re-used in dry stone walls
Although the most marginal land was left outside, Far Bradshaw Farm to the right, which is just inside the enclosure, is in an area of bog-spring and as a result is now derelict.
At Brook Bottom Farm
, east of or above Mill Brow, where the farmhouse is again just inside the enclosure, a good example can be seen of a Hollow way
, formed by the passage of a great number of livestock over the centuries, which in this case has worn the pathway down in places to the natural bedrock.