Hyde Hall
Farm and Water Mill

Monday, 4 October 2010

Gower Hey Woods



The beautiful cobbled path leading into Gower Hey Woods in Summer and Winter.
Gower Hey Woods is an area of woodland situated in Gee Cross. It has its own conservation society which does a lot of good work in keeping it clean and safe for everyone to use.


There appears to have been a cotton mill situated in the bottom of the woods ,which was built in approx 1792 by Thomas Howard, son of Joseph Howard of Haughton Hall. Not much is known about the mill but the last known use for it was as a cotton waste bleaching mill run by Obadiah Broadhurst in 1874.

maps woods
Map from 1836-51 , showing the mill . Note the old spelling !

Top Field known locally as either Shanes Field or Buttercup Meadow depending on your age!
places woods
Buttercup Meadow from my front garden. So beautiful!
Looks so different here.. hard to imagine it as such.
The Boggert Of Gower Hey

There once lived at Hyde a celebrated Dr. Wylde (an ancestor of the Thornelys), who bore a reputation for astrology. About 1730 a great sensation was occasioned ..... that there was a boggart in Gower Hey Wood, which made awful sounds at night. The inhabitants went in a body to ask the learned doctor to lay the spirit, and this he gladly consented to do. Noticing the direction of the sound he went in broad daylight to the spot which no one else dared approach, and there found that two branches of a tree, rubbing together with the motion of the wind, gave forth the doleful sound that had scared people from the wood. Telling no one of his discovery he quickly sawed one branch off, and then gravely announced that he had laid the spirit. Needless to say, after this, that his reputation for magic was unequalled in the neighbourhood, and for years his powers were firmly believed in.

From The History Of Hyde
By Thomas Middleton


Lizzy said...

I love this blog, I'm learning so much, I didn't know what this field was called even though I have spent so much time in it!!!!

Tom said...

Thanks Elizabeth for your comment... both Nancy and myself are enjoying putting the posts together. I to didn't know the name, so as well as enjoying ourselves it seems we are all learning stuff as well :O)

Hydonian said...

It was known as "Shanes Field" as a local girl kept her horse (called Shane) on here with the cows from Raymonds farm. The farm was called Fern Bank Farm and the field was originally called Fern Hill,Old Meadow and Thistley Fields. The name "Buttercup meadow" came from the abundance of Buttercups that used to grow here until Tameside council in their infinite wisdom cut it too often and the flowers died out! I'll look for a photo with Buttercups for you. Im happy to report that the flowers are slowly returning!

Tom said...

Where was the farm for this Nancy... was it the one on Stockport Rd? I've a picture or two somewhere of cottages in the hollow at the bottom... not sure where they are.

imac said...

Most interesting blog this, glad I came visiting.

Hydonian said...

Yes, it was on Stockport Road, Tom. There's a new "estate" of 12 houses on there now. My neighbour has the old farm Stone in their front garden.

Hydonian said...

Really happy that you're enjoying the blog, Lizzy and imac ! :)

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

There seems to be loads of buttercups around the duckboards in the bottom of the valley.

Hydonian said...

Yes, I noticed that! In the area where the old wall is....

Tom said...

Nancy do you and Elizabeth not know each other?... both Gee Cross girls.

Dave Williams said...

No doubt many people will remember how the part of the wood from the bottom of the path shown in the first photograph towards the old railway line was regularly flooded during heavy periods of rain, until a determined effort was made to rectify the drainage problem about....15 years ago was it?

Hydonian said...

I remember that vividly ,Dave. I grew up playing in these woods. It always smelt musty near the culvert (the place where it used to flood).I regularly walk through the woods and am happy to say that my childhood den is still there! I'm often tempted to go in it with a bottle of pop and a packet of crisps and just sit there - I might frighten the dog walkers though ha!

Tom said...

I'm sure I read that there had been a reservoir that looked more like a lake down down.. I must see what I can come up with Nancy... I missed a great postcard on E-bay the other week for down in the hollow... I recall playing on the 'swing-park' at the top of Gower Hey.. I'd almost forgot it had been there... I've another picture or two to add to this as well... I will sort them out as soon as I find the folder they are in ..ha!

downsie21 said...

As a youngsters we had always called the woods "Gor-ay" and the spelling "Goer" in the old map suggests that the pronunciation had been handed down and somewhere along the line it was given the "posher" name of Gower Hey - or am I fantasizing?

Gav said...

I live in one of the 'new' 12 houses backing onto the field - it's great to learn something of the local history. Cheers! Also, my 5 year old daughter is over the moon that we can now call the field 'Buttercup Meadow'

Hydonian said...

Hi Gav, the name was given for obvious reasons - It used to be a mass of buttercups. Unfortunately, the council in its infinite wisdom decided that the field needed mowing every 6 weeks and thus stopped the buttercups seeding. It seems to be recovering slightly as they haven't mowed the field for a few years! The field used to be known as Shanes field as when Fernbank farm stood on the plot of land where your houses now stand there used to be a horse called Shane that lived on the field.