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 explores the Piethorne Valley. Just to the east of Newhey, Rochdale, the six reservoirs in the Piethorne Valley are surrounded by lovely open moorland. Unlike the other walks in the Reservoir Trails series, this route also has an audio trail version. If you cannot or do not wish to use the audio version, you can read the notes about the places passed on the Audio Trail map pdf (also downloadable on this page).
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.
There are no public toilets along the route, but there are pubs near the start of the walk, notably the Bull’s Head in Ogden.
How to get there
The start point of the walk is only a short walk away from Newhey Metrolink station with its regular tram services from Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale.
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.