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Werneth Low Country Park


Ancient History of Werneth Low


Upper Paleolithic Age (11,000BC - 9,000 BC)

It is possible that during the last Ice Age, bands of Upper Palaeolithic hunters used to spend the short summer months hunting on the slopes of Werneth Low, for deer, elk and reindeer.

Early Mesolithic Age (9,000BC - 7,500BC)

As the climate began to change around 8,000BC, the open tundra of the period was gradually replaced by woodlands, which brought with it animals such as the brown bear, fox and wolf, thus bringing hunters to the area for longer periods of time.

The first farmers (2,500BC - AD75)

'The primitive fame of Werneth is decisively established by considerable and undoubted relics upon its supreme summit'
(Rev W. Marriott, 1810)

Settlement evidence in the Borough is rare, but funeral monuments survive in upland areas of the Borough.  One in particular is to be found on Werneth Low.  There is also a small double-ditched enclosure, at an area near to the Cenotaph, called Hangingbank.  In the same area there are crop markings which show an ancient field boundary, which could be associated with the double-ditched enclosure.  Although this find is not large enough to be called a true hillfort, it is larger than the majority of enclosure sites of this period, and was possibly used by an extended family unit.

The Brigantes

As already stated the people of this era led a wandering unsettled life, and were divided into many tribes, which were frequently at war with each other.  This area was occupied by the Brigante tribe, who were great in number and very brave.  They maintained a long defiant struggle against the Romans.  The Brigantes used to come to Werneth Low to celebrate the summer and winter solstice.

The Romans

The Roman conquest of the Northwest in the AD70s, marked the arrival to the area of one of the largest empires the world had seen.  The Brigantes fought many fierce battles against the Roman army.  There is a story that one of these battles took place on the area known as Higham Lane.  The Roman soldiers who died in the battle are said to be buried in what is now the orchard.  The Roman road which ran from Stockport to Castleshaw runs over Werneth Low.


Place names and their meanings

Werneth Low:

  • Wernith, Warnet - "The hill growing with alders".
  • Heghome, Hegham - "High homestead".
  • Hlaw - "A mound or a hill".

Higham:

  • Heghome, hegham - "High homestead".

Hangingbank:

  • Hangende - "A steep slope", "The side of a steep slope".

Pipers Clough:

  • Pipere - "A piper".
  • Cloh - "A deep valley", "The pipers valley".

Idle Hill:

  • Idel - "Barren, useless hill".

Windy Harbour:

  • Windig - "Windy".
  • Here-beorg - "A sheltered place", "The windy shelter".