Delph village, lying at the bottom of Castleshaw valley, is one of those which flourished during the
Industrial Revolution. The need for water to power the developing textile mills meant that
valley locations were preferable to hillside ones. Hull Mill Pond, located en route up the valley, once used for industrial purposes is now a common spot for runners, dog walkers and fishermen (permit needed).
Still in its infancy as a village at the beginning of the 19th century,
Delph has grown rapidly with a number of shops and businesses, but still manages to maintain its quaint, rustic appeal by keeping any modern developments neatly out of sight. The village housed a good number
of mills during its heyday and is host to a variety of period architecture for example the Co-Operative Hall, coaching inns, weavers cottages,
churches and chapels.
In common with the rest
of the area, most of the mills have disappeared. Lumb Mill however,
behind the Old Bell Coaching Inn, has now been converted into a
business centre housing a variety of small businesses. Many of these
are technologically driven, demonstrating that Saddleworth has not lost its capacity
for innovation and enterprise.
Up the valley from Delph is the site
of Castleshaw Roman Fort. In a strategic position overlooking the whole valley, dating back to AD 79, the fort served as a protective garrison on the Roman road which ran between
Chester and York. The presence of this ancient road and fort helps explain some of the reason why Delph was populated in the first place. Please see Wikipedia for more detailed information.
The single track railway
line that extended out to the Delph terminus, known as the Delph
Donkey, was closed in the 1950s. It was so called because the trains
were reputedly pulled by horses for the first few years. In common
with several other former railway lines in Saddleworth, it now exists as
Delph also plays host to contemporary culture, home to both the Millgate Theatre house and the Saddleworth Film Society.