The annual Rushcart weekend in Saddleworth is usually held over the August bank holiday weekend.
The 2020 Rushcart festival was canceled due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Dates for the 2021 event have not been announced yet, though it is likely it will be the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of August, this will be confirmed soon.
This ancient festival involves a cart being dragged through the villages of Saddleworth by teams of Morris Men for two days. This cart carries a 14-foot high stack of moorland rushes weighing two-tons, that are being transported to St Chad’s church in Uppermill, where traditionally they were used as flooring to keep the church warm during the colder months.
Oh, and a Morris man balances on the top for the entire time.
It’s actually a really fun weekend and includes a lot of singing and music, a lot of dancing, with Morris Men (and Women) visiting from all over the country, and there’s a touch of gurning thrown in for good measure.
Details of where you could view the Rushcart and enjoy the Morris Dancing in 2019 are as follows:
It is anticipated 2021 will follow a similar format, this will be updated when more information is published:
- 10:00 – Uppermill Square
- 10:45 – Procession to Greenfield (Kinders Lane)
- 11:30 – Procession to Uppermill via Carr Lane
- 12:00-13:30 Dance spots at Saddleworth Museum and Library Gardens
- 14:15-15:45 – Delph
- 16:15-17:15 – Dobcross Square (The Swan)
- 17:30-18:00 – The Navigation, Dobcross, where the day’s dancing events will end
- 10:30 – Rushcart Procession from The Commercial Uppermill Square to St Chad’s Church, Uppermill for Service, after which dancing will resume outside the Church Inn and The Cross Keys for the rest of the afternoon.
More information about the Saddleworth Morris Men can be found on their website. There is some interesting information on the history of the Rushcart and a list of their upcoming performances, The Saddleworth Morris Men perform all over the country and sometimes overseas.
Pots & Pans Cottage in Uppermill has already been booked for the 2021 Rushcart Weekend. However, there are loads of other lovely places in the area, though they do get booked up quickly so you’ll have to be fast. Check out Air BnB and Trip Advisor to see them. There are some lovely log cabins and glamping pods available at Dovestones, and if you’re feeling adventurous then there is a fabulous campsite at Well-i-hole farm in Greenfield.
This is a very important weekend in Saddleworth and one of the events that remind us of our past, and our connection to that past. The continued success of the Rushcart weekend is dependant on the number of visitors it attracts. In these modern times, it is often too easy to forget how important these local community events were in shaping our history, and we should cherish and support them before they disappear completely, to our collective loss. Come down and enjoy the experience!
Cheers and beers and Rushcarts!
Click below to see a list of the events and festivals going on in 2021 in Saddleworth.