Reservoir Trails 3 – Chelburn Reservoirs


2.5 miles long

Higher Chelburn Reservoir #Rochdale

Higher Chelburn Reservoir cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Illingworth - – cropped from original

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Those of us living in developed countries in the 21st century take it for granted that when we turn on the tap, fresh clean water will come gushing out. The South Pennines enjoys the greatest density of reservoirs in the country thanks to its natural geology of high ground and steep valleys which enable water catchment on a grand scale.

As part of the Watershed Landscape Project, Rochdale and Oldham Councils, along with reservoir owner United Utilities have worked together to develop a series of walks to help you explore the network of reservoirs and surrounding landscape in the two boroughs.

This walk climbs to the dramatically situated Chelburn Reservoirs to the north east of Rochdale. After passing the Moorcock Inn high on the A58 (convenient as a half-way stop), it descends to the valley for a gentle finish.

Note that you are advised to use the relevant OS Explorer maps or the OS mapping app while completing this walk.

Accessibility and facilities

While many of the paths around the South Pennines reservoirs are well-maintained and surfaced, we have not been able to verify conditions on the ground. For this reason, we have not rated this walk as suitable for wheelchair-users and for families with pushchairs.

While there are no public toilets, both the Summit Pub and the Moorcock Inn lie on the route.

How to get there

The start point of the walk is served by frequent buses from Rochdale and Littleborough.

To work out how to get to and from the walk start point, simply click the Google Maps link on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. For public transport options, click on the train icon.

Alternatively, input the postcode(s) shown on this page into the TfGM journey planner at

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