Home DestinationsEnchanting England Healey Dell #2 – Search for an abandoned railway route

Healey Dell #2 – Search for an abandoned railway route

by wanderscapes

This is the second part of a three-part blog series on Healey Dell Nature Reserve. If you haven’t read the first part yet, read it here

Soaking it in

After watching the viaduct and enjoying wonderful sighting of Dipper (catch the video here) we proceeded to the Fairy Chapel. It is an area that was formed due to the strong currents and waters of River Spodden. The structure they carved out of the rocks resembled a small chapel and is known as Fairy Chapel.

The spot where we saw Dipper

The Legends of Fairy Chapel

There are many myths and legends surrounding the place. For instance, folklores suggest that you can see fairies there. We also vaguely remember reading something about a Robinhood connection too. Whether there were fairies or not, the place was extremely beautiful. Powerful current gushed through the rocks – the roar of water as it flowed downstream was a constant.

Water gushing by…

The small viaduct that stood a little further away looked magical. If a fairy appeared in front of us, we wouldn’t be surprised. It had a certain charm of a magical place from a folklore. After that we climbed up, crossed the viaduct and went to the other side in search of an old mill. The place had an eerie feel, like a place one would hesitate to go out alone.


But then, we saw many people busy walking or talking their dogs for a walk there. Although we came across some old pipe lines and all, we couldn’t find the remains of the mill. We asked around a couple of times, but none of the people we asked had any clue about it. We didn’t want to spend much time searching for the remain and so we walked back in the general direction of the viaduct.

The Abandoned Railway Route

On our way, we came across the abandoned platform and tried to get a sense of things. It was wonderful and surreal at the same time. The platform was oddly a familiar structure and yet, nothing could have been more stranger. We walked along the path which, only 60-70 years ago was a rail track. Again, the strange ways in which things happen fascinated us – a busy railway line of the past had nothing to show of its existence other than a few remnants scattered here and there.

When humans failed, nature took over. It felt as if nature was trying to tell us no matter what, in the end, nature wins. Walking along, we reached the top of the viaduct. Unfortunately, the view did not seem spectacular. It was good, no doubt. But it felt better to look up at the viaduct from down than the other way round. The railings put there for safety also prevented us from enjoying unobstructed view of the surroundings.

After taking a peek at the scene down the viaduct, we proceeded on our way back to the car park. On our way we saw milestones of Lancashire Yorkshire Railways. One of them had the number 14 mentioned on it. Apparently it was the distance to Manchester Victoria station. The triangular design of the milestone was interesting.

The Twin Bridges of Healey Dell

Then we came across the twin bridges. Apparently the bridge built initially did not meet the specific requirements. There was some miscalculation or some sort of structural problem that rendered it useless for traffic. A second bridge was built adjacent to it for traffic. The first bridge, for some reason, wasn’t demolished and now the two bridges stand together amusing the visitors.

Healey Dell
We went down to take a closer look

We can enjoy the beauty of the bridges better from down and so we went down the slope for a better view and got a decent view of the same. After that, we got back on the road and resumed our journey back. It took us through some woodland paths and soon we came to the main road and eventually, the car park. But we were not done yet. We had to see the World War II ammunition centres. That’s where we headed next – more about it in the next blog.

Watch our vlog on this here

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