The Story of the Pots and Pans Stone

You might think that Pots & Pans Cottage is an unusual name for a relaxing and cosy self-catering holiday cottage, and perhaps you are right.  We are not, as you may imagine, named after our well-appointed kitchen (although we do have a super collection of cooking utensils). Our name actually comes from one of the many rock formations that litter the moorland hills of Saddleworth.


The Pots and Pans Stone overlooking Saddleworth
Pots and Pans Stone overlooking Saddleworth © Copyright Bridget Atkin

Often the name Pots and Pans is used to refer to the obelisk situated nearby at the top of the hill above Uppermill and Greenfield. This cenotaph was erected (not without controversy) in 1923 to honour the 259 people from the villages of Saddleworth who died during the first world war and was located here specifically to be visible from those villages. Each year on Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday in November) the communities of Saddleworth climb the hill to take part in the remembrance service conducted at the war memorial to commemorate those who died during the two world wars and later conflicts.

pots and pans obelisk overlooking Greenfield Saddleworth

Pots and Pans is actually the name of the large rock (stone) that sits at the top of Aldermans Hill overlooking Uppermill. It gets its unusual name from a series of basins or large indentations on the top of it, worn into the millstone grit over millions of years by the Saddleworth weather.

The pots and pans holes in the Pots and Pans Stone, Uppermill

Pots and Pans is also known locally as the ‘Druids stone’ with the pots and pans-shaped bowls in the top rumoured to have been used to catch the blood from human sacrifices. Legend also has it that water collected from these bowls can cure eye diseases.

Though the geologists don’t agree, the boulders and rocks you’ll see littering the hills above Uppermill and Greenfield are actually the remnants of a mighty battle between two Saddleworth giants called Alphin and Alder. 

The giants lived across from each other on the two hills that mark the entrance to the Upper Tame Valley – Aldermans Hill and Alphin Pike. Sadly their friendship dissolved over their rivalry for the love of a beautiful water nymph called Rimon who lived in Chew Brook down in the valley below.

Bench inscription at Dovestones reservoir, Saddleworth

Rimon took a fancy to Alphin, and as is the way with giant/water nymph love triangles – a fierce fight ensued that saw the two giants casting enormous boulders at each other across the valley from their respective hillside homes.

Alphin lost, (he is buried near Giants Rock on Greenfield Moor), and  Rimon, distraught, threw herself to her death from the top of the hill. The Pots and Pans Stone is one of the reminders of that ferocious battle.

Pots and Pans Stone and Obelisk, Saddleworth

Many of the other large rocks and stones scattered across the barren hills of Saddleworth also have names and stories attached to them such as Oven Stones, Sugar Loaf, Dish Stone, Muffin Stones, and the Dinner Stones (where the fabulous Dinner Stones bar and restaurant in Uppermill gets its name). There used to be more, but many were destroyed for use in the construction of the local locks on the Huddersfield narrow canal in the early 19th Century.

There are several reasonably easy walks (and a couple of not so easy ones) up to Pots and Pans. Walking Britain recommends this route to Pots and Pans that starts at the Church Inn in Uppermill. We tried it out this year, and although it was a bit windy at the top, the views were tremendous!

Bit windy at the top of Alphin hill at Pots and Pans, Saddleworth

Pots & Pans Cottage is perfectly located to take advantage of some fantastic walking opportunities in the area. More details about walking up to Pots and Pans and walking around Saddleworth are available in the information pack at the cottage. We are a dog-friendly cottage, and Saddleworth and the Peak District is a wonderful place for getting outside with dogs.

How a sign for the cottage would look if it were called Chuckle CottageWhen we were shortlisting potential names for the cottage, my daughter (who was three years old at the time) suggested: “Chuckle Cottage” as this was the home of one her favourite story characters – Little Miss Giggle. She was outvoted 2 to 1, we are a democratic family if nothing else. But it would have made an excellent name. As we are now a family of four perhaps we’ll have a referendum one day.



Pots & Pans Cottage is a charming L shaped 18th-century weavers cottage located in a small hamlet 10 minutes walk from the centre of Uppermill in Saddleworth. If you are interested in visiting Uppermill and exploring beautiful Saddleworth then click on the book now button below to view the prices and availability and make a booking.





6 thoughts on “The Story of the Pots and Pans Stone

  1. Lovely page! I was looking for info on P&P stone, and now have this wonderful story! My wife and I are now tempted to book for a stay, but meanwhile I’m interested in the location of the wooden plaque, with RIP Woolly Wolstenholme thereon. I am big fan of Barclay James Harvest and will be running in that area this coming Saturday (15th Feb 2020) – I’d like to make a point of visiting that spot.

    1. Thanks Garfield, the plaque for Wolly Wolstenholme is on a bench at Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield. If you have time Dovestone is a lovely spot, and a nice walk around. Though I’m not sure how nice it will be with storm Dennis visiting the area on Saturday.

      This page tells you a little more about the bench and Dovestones: It was put there by his partner 4-years after he died, I believe it was a favourite spot of his with the two giants looking down “Alphin and Alderman look on”…

      Hope you have a great trip to Saddleworth.

      Thanks Cliff

  2. My mum used to walk up Pots and Pans in her 70s. Are the names of the fallen on the monument? I always felt she went there to remember someone.

    1. Hi Sue thanks for the comment. When the memorial was erected in 1923 the names of the 259 Saddleworth men that died during the First World War were inscribed on plaques that were positioned on the monument so that they overlooked the different villages that the men were from. Additional names were added after the second world war. Thanks Cliff

    1. Hi Jim, thanks for the comment. After the end of the War it was agreed that something should be built to honour those from Saddleworth who had lost their lives. Some people wanted an obelisk, and others thought that the £2000 allocated to the task would be better spent building a (much needed) community hospital. Apparently, there was a lot of ‘discussion’ about it for many years! The local paper Saddleworth Independent has an interesting article about that:

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