Rawson’s Rake is the steepest section of the ancient route from Holcombe down to the Irwell valley. It runs from the end of Chapel Lane at the church gate down the clough to the junction with Dundee Lane, where it continues as Tanners Street and then Carr Street to the crossroads in Ramsbottom. In the old days routes from Bury or Bolton to Edenfield joined at Holcombe and went down here, continuing along what are now Bridge Street and Crow Lane to cross the river at Stubbins (more information here). This was before Ramsbottom developed and there was no bridge there.
The Rake had a banister to assist pedestrians on what was no doubt often a very muddy track and this (though not the original) is still there.
At 1 in 4 (25%), the Rake is one of the steepest public roads in Manchester and it is still an important route, used by 11,500 vehicles per week. It is very narrow and the combination of two-way traffic, pedestrians and a few brave cyclists make it hazardous at times. There have been proposals to limit it to one-way traffic but this is strongly opposed by residents for whom it would be a considerable inconvenience.
There is a gritting service which keeps the route in service in icy conditions but when signficant snow falls the police close the Rake. The procedures to be used are described here.
The annual cycle race up the Rake is described under Activities.