Holcombe Moor Heritage Group

Local History on the edge of the West Pennine Moors

HMHG logo



This year's dig site is a return to

Bottoms Mill where we dug last

year after our initial investigation

(test pits) 6 years ago.

Map reference SD 376731 416957.


Forthcoming Events for 2017

HMHG was in talks with the MoD to lease Simon’s Sundial Cottage. If successful, the building would have been renovated and used by local community groups and Army youth organisations.

Unfortunately, even though there had been over 3 years of talks and the lease was in the hands of our solicitors to be agreed.......things fell apart at the last minute. A directive came from upon high within the MoD that a break clause must be included in all future leases to MoD buildings. As we had said throughout negotiations that this would not be acceptable to us, we had to regretfully say "no" to this sudden last minute revelation. As you can imagine, after years of planning, negotiations, meetings, research etc.. this was a very unsatisfactory end for both HMHG and the MoD team who had been working closely with us. Everyone involved is very disappointed with this outcome.


What's next for Sundial?


Simon's Sundial Cottage is the only uninhabited building of its period in the valley and it is relatively untouched as it has never been made into a modern private dwelling. As such it gives us the perfect opportunity to research the building inside and out. Therefore HMHG are to carry out a full building survey in 2015. Would you like to be involved measuring, drawing, photographing, documenting? If so PLEASE CONTACT US


The building is a Grade II classic example of early Stuart Lancashire vernacular architecture with mullioned windows and the remains of an early sundial which gives the farm its name. The exact age of the building is unknown, and looking at the stonework inside it may be older than some conservative estimates made so far. The architectural features are similar to those at Cinder Hill Farm and therefore suggest Simon’s may be contemporary with it (16th Century). However, until further research is done – both through a Building Survey and by searching through local wills and other desk based surveys, we cannot be sure.

Simon’s Sundial Cottage– A Future Project for HMHG

P1000494 March Clean after winter (640x427) 092 (640x480)

2017 dig dates: 



September: 28th


October: 5th, 12th, 14th/15th,19th, 21st/22nd, 26th, 28th/29th

!cid_8A3654FD-A7DC-4A5E-B2C4-1B4F54267006@home Sundial dispersal DSCF0894 (640x480) Simons - the sundial Simons inside

Talks for 2017:


October 18th 2017

'The British Army in Mesopotamia 1814 - 1918:

Archaeology and Warfare' by Major Paul Knight


James Kay of Turton Tower: The Samuel Crompton of the Flax Industry by Professor Richard Horrocks 29th November 2017


Cinder Hill Engine House: 2017 Update by Neil Coldrick 31st January 2018


Excavating Early Steam Engines around Manchester by Dr Mike Nevell (Head of Archaeology, Salford University) 28th February 2018.


All talks to be held in Greenmount Cricket Club.

Entry is £2.00

Start time 7:30pm for 8pm

There will be display boards showing HMHG activities and finds. Refreshments are available and their will be a raffle!

New Series of Talks announced! 2017-18

No experience necessary!


All digs and reccies are covered by our insurance - which is part of the reason for our annual £10 membership fee (Discounts for Families/Households & Kids)


You must be a Member of the Group to dig.


You will not be allowed on site by the MoD if your name and details are not on their list.


For more details Contact Us - we love to have new people involved.