Dove Stone Reservoir
Dove Stone Reservoir of the edge of the Peak District is a wonderful amenity providing easily accessed shore walks popular with locals from nearby Oldham and Rochdale. It is overlooked by an impressive escarpment adorned with striking gritstone rock formations. This walk will take you up to these heights on a superb round with outstanding views.

Start/finish: Binn Green Car Park on the A635
Nearest postcode OL3 7NN (Nearest)
 

Distance: 8.1 miles 13k

Time: 3½ - 5 hours
 

Grade: Strenuous

Map: OS OL 1 The Peak District
 

Directions:

1. From the lower section of the car park

 

locate the footpath leading steeply downhill through a conifer plantation that will put you on a broad well-made track. Turn left towards Yeoman Hey Reservoir.

 

When you arrive at its dam end there is a choice as to which side of the reservoir to continue. For ease keep left - for an off-road option cross the dam and turn left onto a foot path and keep on it until you intercept the more manicured track at the top end of Greenfield Reservoir.

 

With these preliminaries behind you the serious stuff is about to start. Beyond Greenfield Reservoir follow its feeder stream on a broad track into a steep sided valley

 

for a little under half a mile to a fork in the stream.

 

Here bear right into an even steeper sided valley - Birchen Clough - crossing the stream to a path of sorts on its left. The way now is up - easier said than done. Be under no illusion this is a scramble for the lower section of the climb involving clambering over gritstone rocks arranged in a manner that demands concentration of thought and effort. During pauses you may care to admire the attractive waterfall to your right.


At length the way eases and becomes less steep. About a quarter of a mile after the waterfall cross the stream at a natural ford and then swing right on a faint path.

2. Aim towards the rock outcrops before you overlooking the way you have just struggled up. From this point the walk becomes a doddle as you follow the edge above the reservoirs on a moorland track. As you come to Raven Stones you'll note The Trinacle - a striking formation of gritstone - with its three columns of rock.

 

From here the track continues eastwards but not in any definite fashion losing a little height as it dips towards Ashway Rocks. As you turn south it will be necessary to regain the higher plateau in order to view a memorial cross. This looks more ancient and weathered than actually it is. Erected in 1857 to local businessman and MP James Platt who died at this spot after being accidentally shot grouse shooting. (One wonders what was he wearing to be mistaken for a grouse!)

 

A more definite path now leads on to a stream crossing above Ashway Gap. Once across bear right to reach an extensive gritstone edge Dean Rocks and Great Dove Stone Rocks.

 

Follow the edge beyond these to an isolated cairn

 

- Fox Stone which has a small plaque dedicated to two climbers killed in the Alps almost 50 years ago. 300 yds after this feature be alert for Bramley's Cot a ruined shepherd's hut that in its heyday must have been a sturdy structure with beam slots carved into the rock.

 

Returning to the track keep on it as heads south above Chew Valley to arrive at the dam end of Chew Reservoir almost 1 ½ miles further along.

 

3. When it was built in 1912 Chew reservoir was the highest in England at 1,600ft above sea level. Follow the broad service road

 

from its dam end along Chew Valley for 1 ¼ miles. On reaching the south east corner of Dove Stone Reservoir keep left

 

on a track leading past a memorial "Life for Life" woodland and then the sailing club.

 

Just after this cross the dam to the far side. Just above the main track take the footpath leading up to Binn Green car park.

 

POI The woodland to the east of the upper reach of Yeoman's Hey Reservoir is named Bill o' Jack's Plantation. Close to this site there was once an inn. In 1832 the landlord William Bradbury and his son Thomas a gamekeeper were both brutally murdered in an act that was described as "diabolical" at the time. The perpetrator was never found. The graves of William and Thomas can be seen in the churchyard of St Chad's, Upper Mill.