Westhoughton is situated approximately 2 miles south west of Bolton and approximately 12 miles from Manchester. Frequent bus services and the rail network provide easy access to the neighbouring towns and cities, and Westhoughton is conveniently situated for the M61 Manchester/Preston motorway.

Manchester City Airport (Barton) is the nearest municipal airport and caters for light domestic, helicopter traffic and sports flying.  This can be reached via the M61 and M60. Manchester International Airport (Ringway) is Manchester’s national and international hub, and connects Manchester with the rest of the UK and the world at large.  This can be reached via the M61, M60 and M56.

The population of the town is approximately 25,000. Market days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Keaw Yed legend

A person who hails from Westhoughton is known as a 'Keaw Yed' which is Lancashire dialect for 'Cow Head'.

According to local legend, a farmer found one of his cows with its head stuck in a five bar gate and in order to free it, he sawed off the cow's head instead of sawing the gate. Hence the term 'Keaw Yed'. This of course is nonsense and the term 'Keaw Yed' refers to the town's strong link with the cotton industry. There were many hand weavers in Westhoughton prior to the era of weaving cotton in local mills and a weaver carrying a roll of cloth across his/her shoulders gave the impression of a cow's head silhouetted against the sky line.  We are proud that poets and performers preserve the Keaw Yed Legend, Lancashire dialect and local traditions.


Over the years there has been a decline in the traditional local industries of mining and weaving. These have been replaced by modern industries such as plastics, bottling, canning, double glazing, furniture manufacture etc., and many local people are employed on the industrial estates and in small units throughout the town.


We are proud that the following famous celebrities come from Westhoughton:

  • Robert Shaw, actor and author
  • Tommy Woodward and Jack Bruton, footballers
  • Francis Lee, World Cup footballer
  • Billy Farrimond, Dick Pollard, Dick Tyldesley and Michael Watkinson, cricketers
  • Ethel Johnson, Olympic Athlete
  • The Houghton Weavers Folk Group
  • Wingates Brass Band

In 2009, the Westhoughton Town Council sited special “Welcome to Wingates” boundary signs in honour of Wingates Band. In 2014, the Westhoughton History Group sited a blue plaque at the entrance to Wingates Square, which was the birthplace of Wingates Band in 1873 and is still the home of the band today.