Date - 24th July 2018 Distance - 8 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41
Start point - Stocks Reservoir car park (SD 7318 5653)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



"Phew", said Tetley. "Hasn't been hot these last few weeks."

"Sure has", agreed Allen. "I know it is lovely have the sun and warmth, but being honest , personally it has been too hot for comfort."

"The heat gets Dad that way too.", went on Tetley. "Hence the reason why it is a month since our last outing."

Southey had got the iPad in paw and was looking at the diary. "There is a day down to walk with Uncle Eric, next Tuesday, and thankfully the heat has let up somewhat."

"So we need to come up with a suggestion", mused Allen. "I can think better when I have got a mug of tea in paw."

"Ha ha ha. What are you like", responded Tetley.

His prayers were answered, as Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric arrived with he flasks and cake.

"Great", cheered Allen, going with Tetley to get the mugs and plates.

"I'll lend a paw helping to pour the tea", said Southey.

"Thanks", replied Shaun.

"Some of you may be disappointed but we are having a chocolate free day for cake", said Grizzly. "Little Eric has made the peach and apricot slice and I have done mincemeat slice."

"We do not mind what you bake as we like them all. We appreciate you taking the time to make such delicious cakes", replied Allen.

So we tucked in. "Mmm", said Southey, "they are both scrumptious."

There were murmurs of approval from the rest of us too.

So content, our thoughts returned to walking.

Shaun said, "we have explored all the summits in the Forest of Bowland, but never been to Stocks Reservoir. Uncle Eric saved a walk from the Westmorland Gazette that does a circuit of this."

"That sounds a brilliant suggestion", agreed Little Eric. "Not too much climbing either."

"Well if Uncle Eric saved the walk, he must want to do it at some point", said Allen. "If one of you will help me lift the binder down I can get it out and then take it when I go and suggest it to Dad."

"I'll help", volunteered Southey.

So off Allen went, calling out, "Will you refill my mug please."

"Tea belly", laughed Shaun as he went to do this.

It was not too long before he returned and the smile on his face spoke volumes. "Dad thinks it is a good idea too. So all we have to wait for now is to see if Uncle Eric agrees."

He did so here is our story of the adventure.



The Walk

The day was one of improving fortunes. It started cloudy and dull but then became more sunny later. We were all thankful that it was cooler.

We all lent a paw getting the picnic ready and safely stowed in Allen's rucksack.

Once Dad had got his gear in the car we ran out calling goodbyes to Uncle Brian and Gladly who were doing the Daily Telegraph crossword.

"Have a good day pals, and behave yourselves", responded Gladly.

For the first part of the drive it was the ever so familiar route as if we were going to Elaine's at Feizor. After Bentham, Dad took the narrow road right to Clapham Station, then going right on the Keasdon road.

It climbs and climbs having a summit over 1300ft, and on the highest parts we ran through mist and rain.

"Oh dear", said Little Eric. "I hope this is not what we can expect today."

"No pal, down at the reservoir it will be better.", comforted Grizzly.

At the summit, Tetley said, "here's where we parked for those two walks to the summits of the Bowland Knotts."

"Three years ago now", replied Allen. "How time flies."

The road dropped down and wound on and on, to eventually at a sharp left corner, Dad swung right into the Stocks Reservoir car park.

The fee was £3 for the day. "Very reasonable", said Shaun. "A similar United Utilities car park at Thirlmere in the Lakes would be more than double."

"Good morning, Uncle Eric."

"Hello lads, nice to see you."

While they got ready, we looked out over the reservoir, Tetley echoing our thoughts, "It is unsurprisingly very low after the prolonged dry weather."

"OK lads, I'm ready. Come and get settled."

Then shouldering the rucksack, we set off north along a surfaced path.

This was part of a number of designated routes. Shaun said, "ours is that with the white arrow on a blue background."

Despite Grizzly's assurances to Little Eric, for the first few miles it was drizzly with the occasional heavier shower.

The track became grassy after a while and led through this gate....

...and on to cross a stone bridge to eventually reach the ruined farmhouse of New House.

"What's that over there", pointed Southey.

As we peered over the top, Tetley said, "it's an old well."

The waymarked route went left, but consulting the map and walk description, Shaun instructed, "we keep right along that track.

This led through a gate to a fork. "We take the left branch", advised Shaun.

Onwards this bent right towards Catlow Farm. Shortly before, Shaun instructed, "we should take this signed footpath left."

The grassy path led down by the beck to come to a tarmac lane by a wooden building.

"We go left", said Shaun.

This took us across Lock Bridge that spans the River Hodder.

The lane took us past a white house called Kenibus, and then left at the junction. Where the road swung right to climb uphill, Shaun's instruction was, "we keep ahead through that gate and on to pass a barn on the left."

There were more gates than were mentioned in published walk. All were kissing gates, as the main ones were locked.

Now rejoining the white arrow route it was right at a junction along a level track.

Uncle Eric told us that this had once been one of many 3 foot gauge railway lines, that served to facilitate the construction of the reservoir between 1922 and 1932 for the Fylde Water Board. Uncle Eric provided us with copy of a page showing the layout of the lines, but it is probably copyright, so we are wary of including this.

There was no evidence of any railway remains, apart from maybe a short cutting, seen here looking back along the track.

"This is supposed to be a circuit of the reservoir, only now have we finally got a view if still rather distant", remarked Southey.

The reservoir was created in 1932 by flooding the Dalehead valley and the surrounding farmland, including the hamlet of Stocks-in-Bowland from which the reservoir derives its name. At the peak of the construction project, over 500 men worked there and most of them lived in a temporary village called Hollins. Among the facilities there was a canteen, cafe, general store, butchers and general store, hospital, recreation room and bowling green.

The track wound round Esk Hill and on and on to pass some car parking, and on the left a jetty where motor boats for fishing were moored.

"Just look how far down the fishermen have to walk, due to the low water level", pointed Allen.

Passing the Fishery Cafe, a tarmac lane took us past the Life for Life Memorial Forest.

Such schemes involve the planting of a memorial tree or trees, installing memorial benches and memorial plaques to commemorate a loved one. Over time, the trees will develop into a beautiful organised forest that everyone can enjoy. The planting at this site started in 2004. Profits raised by the charity go to to help healthcare organisations.

"How wonderful", said Grizzly.

Passing the driveway to the Bowland Estate Offices that are used by United Utilities for meetings...

... we then crossed over stiles giving access to a path across the dam.

"I think this will be a good place to stop for lunch", suggested Uncle Eric.

"Oh yes please", implored Allen, "I'm hungry."

"You're always hungry", laughed Tetley. "Just like Dad."

So we climbed the stile in the dam wall and then sat here for lunch with a nice view...

...tucking into the sandwiches and cake, and tea to wash it down.

"That's better", said Southey with a satisfied sigh."

"Good place to have our picture taken too", suggested Little Eric.

Passing by, a man from United Utilities commented on us. He was carrying a brush, and walked across the dam to meet a colleague.

Dad said to Uncle Eric, "I have worked it out. His colleague has the shovel!"

This made Uncle Eric and us all laugh out loud.

Ready for the off again, we reclimbed the stile and headed across the dam.

The reservoir was officially open by Prince George (later King George VI). He unveiled a commemorative bronze plaque. Now we would like to be able to show you this, but our way was only part way along the dam, and then down the waymarked steps to the right. This meant Dad did not walk to the end to take a picture.

At the bottom of the steps it was left over the bridge crossing the overflow that unsurprisingly was dry. On the opposite side of the wall to the plaque is this date stone of the year the reservoir was opened.

"That view of the dam and valve tower with the Estate Office, will make a nice shot for the story", suggested Tetley.

A grassy path led us on and on over meadows and through woods, with extensive views to the left of the reservoir...

and later to the fells.

"I wonder which fell that is in the distance?", mused Southey.

Shaun and Tetley had a look at the map and Tetley concluded, "it is Catlow Fell."

"Oh that was one we climbed on the day we did Burn Moor and White Hill", said Allen. "And oh what a long walk it was with miles and miles over trackless moor."

"Yes I remember it well", replied Dad. "It was about 14 miles. A very tiring day, but worth it to get those tops done."

Eventually we took a track left that ran parallel to the road. It took us onto the road where it was left to cross the causeway. Just beyond we took a track left through the woods that led to the car park.

"That was a super day", exclaimed Southey.

"I have enjoyed it too", agreed Uncle Eric.

So goodbyes were said and Dad drove us home by the reverse of our route this morning.


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