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" Stocks Reservoir, Forest of Bowland  "

Date & start time:      27th September 2021.   2.30 pm start for the walk.

Location of Start :     Slaidburn Village car park, near Clitheroe, Lancashire, Uk. ( SD 174 523).

Places visited :          Croasdale House, Merrybent Hill, Stocks Reservoir, Hammerton Hall and back.

Walk details :              8.75 mls, 1050 ft of ascent, 3 hours 25 mins.

Highest point :           Merrybent Hill, 1040ft - 320m.

Walked with :             Judith, myself and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                    Sunshine, showers and rainbows.


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


The end of September found me setting out on my first visit away from home for a rather long time. 

Getting the car packed and locking up home on my own felt very strange.

I had been invited for two nights away, staying with friends Rob and Jude at Wiswell, close to Pendle Hill and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

On the Monday Jude and I had the chance of time out and a walk close to the Trough of Bowland.

Jude, my companion for the walk ... Rob was working, Jude was not !
A wider geographical context for the walk.

The roughly circular walk would only involve the afternoon hours so we had time for a late start and a pub lunch as well.

Heading out from Wiswell to The Hodder Valley, a tributary of the River Ribble that flows out to sea via the town of Preston.

Beyond The Hodder is the high ground and the valleys that make up the area known as the Forest of Bowland.

A lunch table had been pre-booked at the 'The Inn at Whitewell', a classic old Coaching Inn.

It is housed in a lovely old building and has a great lunch menu with a wide choice of delights on offer.

Still, we had also come out for a walk in one of Jude's favourite, but less frequented parts of the county.

To get there we drove via Burholme Bridge towards Dunsop where we had a short stop for some sight-seeing.

The green at Dunsop Bridge . . . famous for ducks and geography.

A lot of this area is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster so many of the buildings retain that prosperous stone building style from years ago.

Oh . . . the ducks are more modern and can usually be found on the river, or the green where they pester the summer tourists for food.

The tea rooms were sadly not open (being a Monday) but we'd only just had lunch anyway.

However the Tea Rooms and Post Office are famous for another unusual attribute . . . as recorded on that small red sign in their back garden.


The village and this point in particular

is regarded by the locals as the geographical centre of the UK.


There are several claims to this desired location within the UK

but it all depends on the criteria you use for your decision.

[ I'll leave you to research the Wiki link above !! ]


Wherever your conclusion, Jude just looks happy to be here !



- - - o o o - - -


Another "special" for the village

is to be the location for the 100,000th public phone box

erected in the UK.



The fact is recorded in the engraved glass side of the phone box.

It' a good job it wasn't a red phone box as there'd be no space

to fit all the words !

After Dunsop Bridge, it was just a short drive to the village of Slaidburn to start our walk.

- - - o o o - - -

There's a good car park on the green but my eye was caught by this old Methodist Chapel,

now extended to become a modern Village Hall.

We started by walking back up into the village . . .
. . . and would head out on part of The Lancashire Way.

More delightful stone cottages by the river bridge . . . this one would be a landmark on our return route via the fields.

Jude makes a start up the grass path as we leave the road via a narrow step style . . . confusing for the dogs.

The route across the fields was hardly signposted but was clear enough on the map.  There's another stile by the broken section.

We're heading for that triangular woods on Saddle Hill and then we'll follow a road out of the picture to the right.

The fence line follows the old hedge, only the hawthorn trees of which still exist.

Shay House Farm ahead . . . as we cross the ladder stile into a field of cows.

. . . who came over to see us, or more importantly to see the dogs.

I had a polite word with them and they stopped to pose for the photo while Jude and the dogs exited the field.

Rainbows would become a feature of the afternoon.

Sadly of course, rainbows follow the rain, so a waterproof coat was to prove useful on occasions.

The next farm was Croasdale House which we approached via the farm track.

This tree caught our eye.         Maybe the old man was watching . . .
. . . television being beamed from the adjacent bird box

After the farm there was a right turn and a steep climb up to the next group of fields.

Across the way we could now see the recognisable outline of Pendle Hill.

Jude stops for a photo alongside a classic field barn.

There's a fine new roof on it but it is missing one piece of soffit or fascia board possibly due to its windy location.

We've managed to avoid the rain showers so far but I think this one is heading our way.

Our cross country route re-joins the road at the bend near Harkers Farm.

The filed holds a mixed flock of sheep including these two interesting characters.

The breed is possibly a blue texel . . .
. . . unless they have been crossed with a cuddly teddy !

Before we leave the field we find an odd looking plaque in the wall . . . but there's no words ?

It turns out to be a letter box for the local Clough Farm . . . so much for history or romance.

Guess the name of the next farm up, perched as it was on the side of the fell  ?

Alongside the highest part of the road is Merrybent Hill Farm, along with another rainbow in the distance.

The long distant view here is of flat topped Ingleborough.
We leave the road and join an old Water Board track.

The pathway heads across to our next objective . . . that of Stocks Reservoir.

Jude is surprised why it has taken so long to be able to see it.

The answer is that the reservoir water levels are very low today

and the lake is much smaller than normal.

These occasional showers will do little to fill the void.

This explains the publicity Jude has seen about the need for water conservation back home in Wiswell.

As we walk the reservoir road, now tarmaced, we pass a group of trees each with a memorial plaque.

- - - o o o - - -


This is a part of the Bowland Memorial Forest

where trees have been sponsored

and planted in memory of loved ones.


- - - o o o - - -

I believe this fine building goes by the name of Board House.

I presume it was built by the Water Board when the reservoir was under construction.

We've reached the foot of the reservoir and the path continues on across the dam.

Jude continues to be amazed at the lack of water in the reservoir.

The path crosses the top of the dam and we can look down on the treatment works in the valley below.

A delicate structure leads out to the water tower which controls the outflow from the reservoir.

Another distant rainbow.
The overflow is unused today of course.
Strange ducts in the channel, purpose unknown.

Looking back at the Tower and 'Board House' on the opposite bank.

Dramatic Skies . . . as the sun comes and goes . . .
. . . and we pass the ancient looking Hammerton Hall.

For the last five minutes we've heard the unusually loud sound of birds.

As we reach Hammerton Bridge there was a large flock of very vociferous seagulls in the field opposite.

An old bridge with a rather out of keeping concrete drainpipe protection for the parapet wall.

Jude picks another field path so we leave the road once again.

This old trackway also has the advantage of avoiding a steep rise and fall of the road back to Slaidburn Village.

The ancient trackway involves a river crossing and a knee-deep ford,

so we follow the alternative footpath along the bank, back to the house we saw at the start of the walk.  We must be nearly home.

The village hosts a fine bronze War Memorial on a column at the cross roads.

The unusual colour is enhanced by late sunshine.
An adjacent water fountain commemorates Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

Just a short walk back down through the village to the car park now.

This house has been converted to a shop . . .
. . . and a rather fine one too !
'An Autumn Wreath' I presume.
A rather fine pheasant in a garden bed.
Back to the green and another memorial.

- - - o o o - - -

The following morning Jude and I had a rather damp walk up to the Nick of Pendle from the house

but the weather was not really conducive to more photos, so that's it for this report,

or as the small onion seller once said . . . "that's shallot".

Time to return home after a couple of lovely days away . . . thanks Rob and Jude.

- - - o o o - - -


Hi Roger,  I've just been reading about your trip around Stocks Reservoir.

There are some interesting bits about the village on the internet:

The cemetery serving a submerged parish: St James, Stocks-in-Bowland – Flickering Lamps   ( from whence the map was drawn )

Stocks: The Rediscovery of a Lost Hamlet (

There are quite a few photos available from the pre-flooding era.  You probably know about these anyway.

See you with the (Remembrance) poppies.  Syd.


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