The original parish of Rochdale was made up of 5 townships, and Wardle at that time was part of the Wardle and Wuerdle Township. Located north of the Rochdale to Littleborough Road, the A58, Wardle sits close to the moors. It is an old weaving hamlet located along the Wardle Road.

Almost at the end of the road, lies a village green of sorts which doubles as a turning circle for buses that go no further and head back down the Wardle Road. Beyond stand the Methodist Chapels. Above this village centre, the road narrows further and wanders up to the Watergrove Reservoir.

On the east side of the "village green" stands the Globe Inn

On the west side of the road stand two imposing Methodist Chapels, both constructed of stone and two storeys high.  The chapel below is no longer used for preaching, but is used by the scouts and is now called "The Scout Headquarters" by everyone locally. The one above on the left is an Ecumenical church.

  Behind the Methodist Chapels, stands a graveyard and beyond it an abandoned tannery.

As you approach Wardle from the south the road takes a sharp turn to the right to pass around St James' Church. The church, which closed in 1990, stands on a hill above the road and is surrounded by its graveyard. A wall of blackened stone surmounted by a wrought iron fence separates the churchyard from the road.

The Wardle and Smallbridge Community Centre.

The Old Library now a private nursery school

A short way beyond Wardle lies the Watergrove Reservoir.

Watergrove Reservoir © West Pennine Sailboard Club

Up at the top end of the valley a number of scattered groups of buildings existed at one time, the largest of which was the village of Watergrove. In 1935 work began on constructing a reservoir to supply water to Rochdale and the remains of these communities disappeared below the lake that was created. The lake is home to the West Pennine Sailboard Club, and in the vicinity of their clubhouse you can still see the cobbled road that once led up the valley.

The Long Vessel © Chris Drury

One interesting feature in the vicinity is a piece of landscape art, created by Chris Drury and commissioned by Rochdale Art Gallery, entitled "Long Vessel". The piece is an 18 metre long hollow stone cairn which has the appearance of an upturned Viking long-ship. The cairn has two central doorways providing entry to part of the structure. The Long Vessel sits on a hill beside the reservoir.

The Long Vessel © Chris Drury

For more information on Wardle, visit Wardle 2000


The image of the Watergrove Reservoir is shown with the permission of
the West Pennine Sailboard Club

The images of the Long Vessel are shown with the permission of Chris Drury