Windy Hill

Page last updated: 15/12/2017

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History

Windy Hill was initially established as part of the 1951 Manchester to Kirk o'Shotts television route [link to feature]. The site is on the Pennines close to the Lanacashire/Yorkshire border and linked the Manchester terminal station with Tinshill near Leeds. As with the other sites on this route the initial provision was a relatively short steel tower carrying a pair of dishes facing in each direction, together with a brick building for the equipment, including standby generator.

The 1959 Network Map shows Windy Hill linking Manchester and Tinshill as expected, with a further link to Emley Moor to serve the television transmitter. At that stage a separate site "Saddlesworth" was "programmed" to link between Sutton Common and Hunters Stones (with a branch to Manchester) but in practice this "Backbone" link was added to Windy Hill, with the same site carrying one route which linked Manchester and Leeds intertwined with another which was designed to avoid the built-up areas. The feed to Emley Moor was diverted to run via Tinshill during the late 1960s.

The current structure is a large square tower, probably dating from the early 1960s, which featured ice protection shields above the main dish positions. The mounting for a horn antenna is visible on the south west corner of the structure, at relatively low level, and there are traces suggesting another horn might have been mounted slightly higher and on the north west corner. By 2005 dishes faced Heaton Park and Tinshill only - with the top third of the structure empty. It appears the path to Hunters Stones may have been relatively "difficult" as the similar tower there seemed to carry one or two dishes at high level facing Windy Hill.

Some of the dishes facing Heaton Park were removed slightly earlier but the main clearance seems to have been between 2013 and 2014 with the structure now remaining in use for mobile phone operators and other local links. Strengthening work was undertaken early in 2015 by LARS [link]. The main building is of the "standard" pattern - there is no trace of the 1951 building or original tower. Old OS maps dated 1956 and 1968-72 do not show the site - it is marked on the 1981 1:10000 scale map as "TV & Radio Station" with the "mast" and two buildings.

Photos

1955

Windy Hill 1955

Copyright BT Heritage [TCB417/E 19969]

2005

Windy Hill 2005

Copyright Steve Partridge(Geograph)

This side of the structure faces Tinshill.

2007

Windy Hill 2007

Copyright George Tod(Geograph)

Looking approximately north - the dishes facing Heaton Park (left) are lower on the structure.

2010

Windy Hill 2005 2005

Copyright David Dixon(Geograph)

From the northern side - the mounting for a horn antenna is visible on the right, level with the lowest tier of the main structure.

Windy Hill 2005 2005

2013

Windy Hill 2013

Copyright David Dixon(Geograph)

By this stage most dishes facing Heaton Park had been cleared.