A gloriously hot sunny day towards the end of June saw me taking the dogs for a walk round Upper Rivington Reservoir, repeating a route I’d taken in August last year but on that occasion the blue sky had turned decidedly grey and cloudy and my photos were rather dull. Just like last time I parked up on the road separating Upper Rivington and Lower Rivington reservoirs and walked a short distance back to the gate and footpath opposite the village green. The path led through a rather overgrown meadow bordered on one side by several clumps of bright pink foxgloves, then at the far end a set of steep steps took me down to a wooded area at the bottom, where a stream ran alongside the path.
The path was quite narrow in places and I had to step to one side a few times to allow several walkers through – I wasn’t sure if they were one big group spread out or more than one group but there was a lot of them. Eventually I arrived at a much wider path and having previously looked at the area on Google maps I knew that turning immediate right would lead me to a dead end and someone’s house so I went left and then right and followed the rough track up towards Yarrow reservoir.
At the bottom of the reservoir embankment was a wooden gate which I’d climbed over last year, however this time it was rather different – the whole of the gate on the outside had been covered in welded wire mesh to stop people climbing over but some of the mesh had been cut away and part of the wooden cross member removed, creating a hole just big enough for a reasonably slim person to get through. It looked like a proper job rather than an act of vandalism though so maybe it was United Utilities way of saying “People aren’t supposed to come up here but we know they do so we may as well make it a bit easier for them”. So I put the dogs through the hole then holding onto the top of the gate I put my legs through first and slid the rest of my body through after – trying to climb through one leg at a time or head first just wouldn’t have worked.
At the top of the embankment I was rewarded with fantastically clear views the length and breadth of the reservoir and over to Winter Hill with its tall tv mast – and as I took the photos I didn’t know it then but just four days later would see the start of the huge and devastating wildfire which would surround the mast and cover over five square miles of moorland. To the north the reservoir went round a bit of a corner and as the water level was a lot lower than it would normally be I took the opportunity to go down and walk close to the water’s edge to see what was round there. The answer was “not much”, just another embankment with trees and a field beyond it, so I retraced my steps and passed what would be the reservoir overflow taking any excess water from Yarrow down to Anglezarke reservoir via a succession of wide shallow steps creating a series of waterfalls, though it was obvious that there hadn’t been any water flowing down there for quite a while.
Back through the hole in the gate I rejoined the path and went down through another wooded area to Knowsley Embankment, the road which separated Upper Rivington reservoir from its much larger neighbour, Anglezarke. Over the wall on the Anglezarke side several people were whiling away the time fishing and no doubt getting a good suntan, then at the far end of the embankment I turned off the road onto the tree-lined private lane I’d gone down last year. It took me away from the water for quite a distance and past the big house known as The Street before emerging onto more open land with fields belonging to a farm on one side and scrubland on the other with occasional glimpses of the water through the trees.
Eventually the lane ran close to the reservoir again and several notices set at intervals along the wall told me that section of water was used for private fishing by members of a Southport angling club. Strangely there was no-one taking advantage of the good weather and actually fishing there, though I had to wonder why anyone would want to come all the way from Southport on the coast when surely there must be some fishing places much closer to there – but then I’ve long since held the opinion that people who fish are a strange lot. In the distance, across the water and above the trees, I could see Rivington Pike tower and the Pigeon Tower on the edge of the Terraced Gardens – the Pigeon Tower was surrounded by scaffold so was presumably undergoing some major refurbishment.
A short distance through another wooded area led me back onto the embankment road between the two Rivington reservoirs and at the far end, set up from the road and not far from where I’d left the van, was The Rivington, formerly a private members’ bowling club but now open to the public and incorporating a tea room open daily until 4pm. With such good weather the place was heaving and a car park full of cars didn’t make for a particularly good photo so I shot one of the attractive board at the entrance instead. Maybe next time I’m round that way on a nice day I’ll go in for a soft drink as I’m sure I could get some good photos of the reservoirs from there.
That was the end of my actual walk and back at the van I gave the dogs a good drink before setting off for home. I went back along the moorland road between Rivington village and Belmont and as I passed the Blue Lagoon reservoir just before Belmont village itself I just had to stop to take a few photos. The continuing hot dry weather had reduced the reservoir to less than half what it would normally be and I’d hadn’t seen the water level so low for a long time.
Those were the last shots of the day and I drove the final four miles back home with no further stops. I remember that last year I hadn’t been too impressed with the walk round Upper Rivington reservoir as much of it is away from the water and also the afternoon had turned very cloudy and grey, but the hot sunny weather this time and the good views over Yarrow reservoir had made all the difference. At only two-and-a-half miles all the way round it was a short and easy walk so one I may very well do again sometime in the future.
I’m linking up again with Jo’s Monday walk where this week she’s back in Knaresborough exploring the delights of Mother Shipton’s Cave and the petrifying well. Time to settle down with a brew now and check out where the other Monday walkers have been this week.