The Vale has been used almost since recorded time and chance finds, such as the discovery of a group of Bronze Age urns in the Portwood in the 19th century, suggest prehistoric activity within the general area of the southern Tame Valley.
There is no clear evidence of Roman activity in the Vale, although there are indications of activity in the wider area. It is possible that there was quarrying carried out in the Vale for road building works, but this is unsubstantiated.
The modern area of Reddish emerges in the 12th and 13th centuries and appears to take its name from the "NICO DITCH" which formed the northern boundary of the township. The earthwork itself is of uncertain origin and may even have been a Roman administrative boundary. A colouful legend attributes the origin of the name 'Reddish' to a bloody victory of the Saxons over the Danes in which the waters of the ditch ran red, giving the name "Red Ditch". The more mundane but likely theory however is that the name derives from "Reed Ditch".