WINTER Hill is steeped in history with a murder, plane crashes and UFO sightings.

And today marks another chapter for the history books, as the hill’s giant television transmitter moves into the digital age and stops broadcasting analogue signals.

Digital UK, the company managing the switchover, has spent £6 million on an information campaign to make all households in the North West aware of the changes.

It means from today anyone wanting to watch television will need to upgrade to a digital TV or set-top box, or to subscribe to satellite or cable supplier to continue receiving TV programmes.

Stuart Whittle, chairman of Horwich Heritage, has been looking back at the events which have happened at Winter Hill over the years.

He said: “There isn’t anything physical to see with the switchover but it is a significant move for television.

“There are now seven masts up there so it is no longer the lonely place that it used to be, although it is still pretty wild.

“Underneath the hill is a honeycomb of mine-working which stretches back hundreds of years, there is a lot hidden beneath.

“People often associate the hill with the plane crash in 1958, but there have been nine crashes there over the years, a number of which resulted in fatalities.

“Winter Hill is a magnet for UFO spotters and there have been hundreds of alleged sightings.”

There was also a murder on the moor in 1838. George Henderson, aged 20, was shot dead on the road opposite the television station.

An iron post — known as Scotsman’s Stump — in memory of the Scottish merchant was put up there in 1912.

In 1958 a plane travelling from the Isle of Man to Manchester crashed into the hill on February 27, killing 35 people. The Silver City Airlines plane crashed close to the television mast in appalling weather and it was only through the heroics of the TV station staff and rescue services that seven people survived.

* TV viewers in Bolton are being urged to get advice if they are struggling with the switch to digital today.

Jo Waters, regional manager for Digital UK, said: “Some people will need extra help, particularly with retuning, or if they are not receiving their preferred regional service.”

Visit or call the advice line on 08456 50 50 50.