Map of roads based on Open Street Map

Turnpike Toll Roads

Most of the main roads in use today were once Turnpike Toll Roads. Those in and around Littleborough and their dates were:

1. 1734 Blackstone Edge TurnpikeOld and New Roads covered between Smallbridge (later Rochdale) to Halifax;

2. 1759 Whitelees to Doghills (Dean Head) via Calderbrook;

3. 1777 (completed by 1786) Dean Head (Doghills) to Todmorden;

4. 1824 Steanor Bottom to Littleborough - Todmorden Road Turnpike;

Other Toll Roads:

Hollingworth Private Road;

Hollingworth to Rakewood Road;

Hollingworth Lake track;

Mr Entwistle’s Road;

A detailed history of the Turnpikes through Littleborough as well as other Toll Roads has been re-issued in a new format- available from Kelsall’s Book Shop in Littleborough Square and the History Centre.

Priced at £3.50

Acknowledgement is given to Mr A Rosevear and his website for his assistance and provision of details and clarification; to “A Lancashire Lion” by James L Maxim; to West York's Archaeological Services, Report on the Blackstone Edge ‘Roman Road’, To Halifax Antiquarian Society – papers by J H Priestley 1952 & 1953 and to Pennine Turnpike by Gledhill 1952.




In the early 18th Century there was real concern that the terrible state of the nations roads was holding up development as Industrialisation developed. The result was the development of a a Network of Toll Roads operated by Turnpike Trusts. The trusts obtained Acts of Parliament which enabled them to build and repair roads but importantly, collect tolls from users (usually those making longer distance journeys.

To enable Toll collection to be effective, Toll Houses and Bars (or Gates) were installed as were ‘Toll Boards’ indicating the prices charged for passage. Tolls generally reflected the impact of vehicles and the size of animals thus for the later it was the number and sheep cost less than cows etc. For vehicles, the narrower the wheel, the higher the charge as indicated on the Toll Board now in the History Centre - see picture below right. The collection of Tolls was often sublet to individuals etc, presumably the highest bidder.

Inhabitants of parishes through which the turnpike Road passed still had to provide Statue Labour to help repair the road (and other roads) or pay a fee, a requirement not abolished until 1835.

All Turnpikes were abolished by Act of Parliament in 1883. Whilst tolls were no longer collected many of the old toll roads on the adjacent map remain in use as important parts of the road network in Littleborough to this day;