Two Geological Events Form Midgley
Midgley owes its existence mainly to a pair of quite spectacular geological events.
At the onset of the first one, a tectonic plate movement caused the land to rear up into a mountain chain some 12,000 to 14,000 ft high some 280 million years ago. Subsequently, erosion by wind and water reduced the height of the Pennine hills, which form part of a vast moorland above Midgley to about 1,250 ft.
At the end of the last ice age the second dramatic event occurred when a vast ice cap to the West melted. The resultant flood water crashed through the floor of a shallow valley to form the steep-sided valley below Midgley.
Humans Settle in Midgley
Thus it was that a South facing, gently sloping terrace above the steep slope and below the upland moors became an ideal location for human dwelling. The name is thought to mean 'large pasture' from the Anglo Saxon 'miggeley'.
This terrace, running East-West at roughly 700ft. above sea level, connected to others and formed the line of an ancient track through the Pennines. This provided a trade route from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. Although this route is shown as a Roman road on the Ordnance Survey maps, it was in use long before the Romans arrived; some Neolithic and Bronze Age flint artefacts dating back 3,000 to 5,000 years or more have been found along its length.