A Walk in North Turton

This circular walk around Wayoh Reservoir is approximately three miles (5 km) long and will take about 1½ hours to complete.

From the car park at the bottom of Batridge Road walk across to the far side of Entwistle Embankment. Here the footpath skirting Entwistle Reservoir joins Overshores Road on the left, but this trail continues along the road (no thoroughfare to traffic) towards Upper Wayoh. At the Strawbury Duck cross over the railway bridge and look out for a small stile on the left a little way down the road. Follow the path across the field and down through the mixed woodland. Descending through the woods, at one time you would walk under an iron gantry which straddled the footpath. This formed part of the framework which once carried a small pulley system used to carry materials between Entwistle Station and Know Mill Bleachworks. The 130-year-old mill was in operation until 1958 at which time it was dismantled prior to the enlargement of the Wayoh Reservoir.

Two wooden bridges take the path across the northernmost point of Upper Wayoh on to the eastern side. This more sheltered area of the reservoir is especially good for sighting some of the 148 bird species which have been recorded in the valley, in particular, winter visitors like whooper swans, tufted ducks, pochard and mallard.

Cross Hob Lane to join the path which follows the perimeter of the main reservoir. Beyond the farmland to the left, the houses flank the route of the Bury to Blackburn road, which takes the line of the Roman road locally known as Watling Street. This military road once linked the forts at Manchester (Mancunium) and Ribchester (Bremetennacum), forming a more direct alternative to an earlier route via Blackrod to the west.

As you walk you will notice various sections of the water’s edge have been designated Nature Conservation Areas and set aside as wildfowl refuges. Wayoh is also a particularly good area for a variety of plant species, like hemp agrimony, globeflower and water avens which can only be found in the vicinity of the reservoir perimeter. It is for the continued protection of these rarer species that some unfenced areas have also been designated.

Follow the path up the rise (a short diversion to avoid the dangers of falling rocks along the original stretch) and you will be rewarded with the best view of the reservoir and surrounding moorland. From the tall steeple of St. Anne’s Church at Chapeltown on the left, the moorland horizon stretches across Cheetham Close and Turton Heights to the imposing view of Armsgrove Viaduct astride the neck of Wayoh Reservoir. Built-in 1847-8 by the Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton Railway Company to bridge Bradshaw Brook, the nine towering arches posed the greatest headache on the entire line for the contractors. Having found a suitable stone to complete the job, the main problem was transporting the three-ton blocks of dressed stone from Stanworth Delph near Withnell, along 7 miles of mainly impassable roads to the work site. In an effort to speed up progress the stonemasons were offered a previously unheard of rate of six shillings and sixpence (32½ p) per day for their skilled labours.

The path returns to the level of the reservoir at the corner of Wayoh Embankment. As you walk to the opposite side for the return leg, notice the Wayoh Treatment Works at the foot of the dam on the left (please note there is no public access on the grassed embankment or into the works). Wayoh Reservoir became operational in 1876 as a compensation supply, ensuring a constant flow of water to the industries of the Bradshaw Valley. In 1962, in response to an increasing demand for drinking water in Bolton, the treatment plant was built and the reservoir enlarged to its present capacity of 501 million gallons. Today the treatment plant can supply almost 10 million gallons of drinking water per day, using the most modern of filtration methods.

Passing through the gate on the right at the far side of the dam, you return to the perimeter path. Watch out for great crested grebes on the water and woodpigeons, tits, goldcrests and finches in the trees as you walk. Take care to follow the waymarked concessionary footpath which will take you through Armsgrove Clough and beneath the viaduct back to Entwistle Car Park.

Jumbles-Entwistle Trail. This is one of a set of three trails exploring the interesting environs of Jumbles, Wayoh and Entwistle reservoirs. Additional paths linking the trails together have been shown in the order that the entire Jumbles – Entwistle Trail, approximately 10½ miles (18 km) in length, can be completed using this guide.

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