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Walk leader : Geraint W

Description : A pleasant but not particularly easy walk of 5 miles or so with a fair bit of uphill walking early on. It may be slightly more challenging walk than most of our walks. The walk is on a mixture of paths, bridleways and tracks – some of which are quite uneven and rough in places and others of smooth stone which could be slippery if wet.  Leaving the reservoir car park we climb up several flight of steps to reach the reservoir path which we follow before we begin the walk proper at the Life for a Life Memorial Forest.  Having passed through the forest we continue on the Pennine Bridleway and then follow it slightly downhill for approx 1Km. From here we start the long ascent up a rough track up to the summit of Crook Hill – it’s a long (about 2Km) though not steep ascent but the surface is rough in parts and good walking boots are essential, walking poles if you use them. We will have a few short breaks on the way up to take in the views and catch our breath.  Walking along the ridge of Crook Hill we’ll pass close to a set of wind turbines, together apparently capable of producing enough electricity to meet the domestic energy needs of almost 25,000 homes (or 38 gay households) – they’re a great sight close up. Depending on the weather this might be a good spot to stop for lunch and enjoy the views over the hills towards Cheshire, Manchester and the M62 way below us.  The walk will level out after this and be fairly easy, dropping down towards the reservoir along a pack horse route dating back to c1730 and only uncovered and restored in the last few years. Passing disused quarries and mines along the way, we’ll arrive back at the reservoir and following the shore round return to the car park where the walk ends. If the weather is bad there is a ‘plan B’ which will be a walk at lower level along the bridleway and paths around the reservoir taking in some lovely woodlands.

We will be quite high up on this walk so please bring appropriate clothing – even in August the weather can be more like November, conversely, if it’s hot and sunny (which looks unlikely!) you’ll need your sunscreen. It was very windy up there when recce’d on Tuesday.  Walking boots really are ESSENTIAL for this walk and walking poles if you use them. There are no shops or cafes along the walk – please bring packed lunch and sufficient water for the day. If bringing dogs please be aware that there are sheep and lambs on the moors and lower ground and keep dogs on a short lead.

At the end of the walk there is a possibility of a beer at The Globe Inn in Wardle Village. Food apparently good too and parking in the village should be ok. (NB no information about availibilty of food at the pub given current circumstances – phone the pub if you think you will want to eat)

Start time and meeting point : Meet at 12:00 Midday in the car park at Watergrove Reservoir just north of Wardle Village. Parking is free and there should be plenty of space. SatNav users : 53°39’18.5″N 2°08’07.1″W Or postcode : OL12 9NJ Approximate

Directions to start : From Rochdale, follow the A58 Halifax Road and turn left onto Wardle Road after the Bulls Head Pub. Drive along Wardle Road which becomes Ramsden Road and into Wardle Village. The Church is on the left and the Globe Inn Pub is on the right. Drive through the village passing an Anchor Housing scheme on the right and follow signs for the reservoir, a bumpy cobbled road will bring you to the car park.

By public transport : There is a bus 458 from Rochdale transport interchange to Wardle village then approx half mile walk along Ramsden Road to meeting point – timetables and details at tfgm website bus 458.  Tram possible from Manchester but check first for service disruptions.

Contact : Geraint 07904 628 188

Risk assessment : A risk assessment was carried out on Tuesday 17 Aug 2021. Summary of identified risks below :

Covid 19 – Risk of transmission now reduced, much of the advice is now advisory only – walkers need to decide for themselves what precautions they take. Face coverings still recommended for public transport may be required in pub / cafe situations.

Weather – Low risk of severe weather in August, but walk is on fairly high ground so suitable footwear, clothing and equipment essential – see walk description.

Busy roads – This walk is entirely off road, low possibility of traffic on tracks (agricultural / service vehicles). Be aware of possible quad / trial bikes riders.

Terrain – a mix of good paths and bridleways and some rough tracks – walking boots essential. Smooth stone paths could be slippery if wet. Some disused mineworks / quarries on the walk – keep away from them and stay with group.

Livestock – Livestock likely to be present on the route – care needed. Dogs to be kept on lead.

Water – Deep water in Watergrove reservoir – extreme drowning risk – people have drowned here. Keep away from sides of reservoir / railings eg if taking photos. Some risk of slipping near brooks.

Other – Insects / ticks – Risk of ticks / insect bites particularly when sitting on ground. Consider insect repellent / especially if wearing shorts.

Booking : You can book your walk here

Changes and cancellation : In the event that there are any changes to the regulations (for example a further lockdown) before the walk, which means that it will not be able to proceed, an email will be sent to everyone booked on the walk. Very occasionally, due to severe weather or another serious event, a walk may be cancelled. In these instances, a note will be added to the website at least TWO HOURS before the start time. So, do check the website before you set out, and if in doubt use the walk leader’s mobile contact number.