Situated on the very edge of the Peak District, just a few miles from Oldham, Dovestone Reservoir is a picturesque spot, perfect for dog walkers, climbers and folks like myself and my friend Yasmin, wanting to escape the city for the day and gulp in as much fresh air as our lungs could take.
It was a gloriously sunny Sunday and although we arrived at the reservoir well before midday, the car park was already full to the brim. After a couple of unsuccessful loops and some awkward eye contact with other visitors, we drove back up onto the main road and managed to park a little further up in a lay-by.
Having done little research prior to our walk, the size of Dovestone Reservoir (perhaps due to our brisk, jolly pace) came as a bit of a surprise to us. Walking in an anti-clockwise direction from the main car park, we found ourselves half way around the gleaming waters a lot quicker than expected.
With the sun blissfully beaming down, there was simply no way we were ready to head for home, so we decided to continue on along a narrow path lined with bright purple bursts of heather, towards Yeoman Hey, which was built in 1880 to collect water from the surrounding moors and was the second of three reservoirs we would pass today.
But that didn’t take long either, so onwards and upwards we went, to the smallest and quietest reservoir (bar an excitable pack of dogs of all shapes and sizes playing in the shallows, whilst their proud owners looked on contently) in the Dovestone region, Greenfield Reservoir, which was constructed between 1897-1902 and sits above Yeoman Hey.
After a quick chat with one of the least distracted dog owners, we came to the conclusion that we ‘simply must get to higher ground’ for a spectacular view over the valley, so we began following the babbling waters of Greenfield Brook up a large, stoney track.
At the end of the track, we came to a standstill. The stream rose above us in a series of waterfalls, spilling noisily over the slippery rocks and boulders. We met a lady with a large day pack tentatively looking upstream before turning on her heels and throwing in the towel; “not today”, she smiled sadly.
Me and Yasmin pondered whether or not we were up to the slippery scramble for a minute or two, came to the conclusion that we probably weren’t, then began hoisting ourselves up the stream nonetheless.
The further we climbed, the more impressive the waterfalls became. At this point, I was also becoming increasingly distressed by the vast swarms of hawthorn flies, which would rise in dark clouds from the grass I appeared to be disturbing with every step, sending me into a blurred frenzy of swatting limbs and faint, disgruntled squeals.
Little did I know that the buggers were harmless.
When the stream began to level out, we took the opportunity to cross over and trudge up the uneven hillside towards the Raven Stones, a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley.
The views were something else. The green and purple hillsides were captivating and seeing Greenfield Brook snaking down the valley below us into the reservoir gave us a great sense of accomplishment, which of course, meant that it was time to celebrate with lunch.
Lunch with a view is my favourite kind of lunch.
Two sandwiches later, we slowly made our way back down the stream and finished our anti-clockwise route along the three reservoirs.
Have you been to Dovestone Reservoir? Do you have any alternate walking route recommendations? Leave a comment and let me know!