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The area takes its name from the 14th century manor house Smithills Hall with Dean Brook running though the grounds of the hall which has had many additions along the years before being turned into a museum. The name has changed much over the years, Smedhylls, Smythells, Smethells and even a spelling using double 'h', Smethhells. The most likely root for this name is thought to be derived from 'Smethe' which is Old English for smooth combined with 'hyll', Old English for hill.

Smithills Moor is the lower part of Winter Hill, Smithills Dean Road takes you to Scout Road, leading to Belmont and past Colliers Row above Barrow Bridge.

In a north easterly direction is Sharples, south easterly is Halliwell, and west is Moss Bank Way leading to Moss Bank Park.

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