Hartshead Pike serves as a focal point in the Oldham landscape, visible from miles around with unbroken views across 4 counties. This has been a beacon hill through antiquity.
Before the Romans the local tribes lit fires here to celebrate the cycle of the seasons, there were many ancient sites close by, including a stone circle at Buckton Castle, once visible from the pike it is now sadly lost. It is highly probable that the druids worshiped at Hartshead Pike during the Iron Age, and sacrifices may have been held to appease their gods.
During the Roman occupation the area took on a more mundane role and became a beacon site, the trackways became routes for the Romans to navigate quickly between the fort at Buckton, and the Roman road at Limeside. The beacon may have been lit in times of unrest to warn the local garrisons.
After the departure of the Romans much of Oldham was inhabited by the Anglo Saxons. There has been some suggestion that the pike was the site where they held their mote (moot) – to appoint leaders and to create law, and the name Hartshead may come from their habit of marking a meeting place with the skull of a wild animal (although this is pure speculation).
In more recent times the pike has been the scene for UFO sightings collected by researchers in the area, although some of the distant sightings may have been misidentified aeroplanes landing at Manchester Airport. In one encounter on the 10 May 1973 a young couple parked below the tower saw a silent dome shaped object emitting red green and white lights before rotating and flying off.1
One psychic claimed to have experienced a strange buzzing sensation through his body while at the pike, which led to an out of body experience.
A pub called The Colliers Arms is not far from the pike, once used as a watering hole for miners working a nearby pit.
1Supernatural Britain, Peter Hough.