Image Copyright: GMAU

Reservoir Trails

The natural geology of the Watershed Landscape with its high ground and steep valleys makes it a natural area of water catchment and dissemination on a grand scale. The Industrial revolution necessitated huge change in this landscape to enable the systematic collection of this resource to both meet the demands for clean fresh water for the rapidly growing populations in the towns below but also to feed the canal system – a vital means of transporting goods. The reservoirs and evidence of the associated engineering works still litter the uplands and many residents living in the South Pennines continue to have a direct link to the moorland landscape through their taps.

However, the story of the reservoirs of the South Pennines remains largely untold. Through the Reservoir Trails Project we have explored the history of the building of the reservoirs - why they were built, the impact it had on the landscape, stories of the engineering excellence during 1800s that enabled such development, details about construction communities and living conditions of those working on site and interesting stories about characters in the area at the time.

A series of downloadable trails, based on existing rights of way, are available to help visitors explore and understand different parts of the Rochdale and Oldham landscape.


Reservoir Trails Trails Leaflet

Reservoir Spotters Podscroll

Reservoir Trails Mobile App. 

The eight trails are also available to download from here and the Resources section.