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West Pennine & Rossendale Walks

Brown Wardle Hill & Watergrove Reservoir

Date: 12th Sept 2015
Distance: 7.3 miles
Ascent: 1230 feet
Time: 4 hours
With: Lisa
Start Grid Ref: SD911176

Walk Summary:
A walk from Watergrove Reservoir visiting Brown Wardle Hill and the trig points on Rushy Hill and East Hill.

Route Summary: Watergrove Reservoir - Barn Field Lane - Stid Fold - Pennine Bridleway - Rushy Hill - Pennine Bridleway - Rossendale Way - Brown Wardle Hill - Grey Pasture - Higher Slack Brook - Wardle Brook - East Hill - Dobbin Hill - Watergrove Reservoir

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Cloudy skies over Watergrove Reservoir
Looking along the dam with our first objective, Rushy Hill, in the distance on the left
Lisa on the track climbing up from Stid Fold just before the rain started
The Healey trig point on Rushy Hill looking south to Rochdale
One of the greens on Lobden golf course
Looking across Whitworth to the slopes of Hail Storm Hill
Cowm Reservoir
A couple of the many ponies we saw either side of Brown Wardle Hill
Following the Rossendale Way towards Brown Wardle Hill
One of the boundary stones on Brown Wardle Hill, the stones mark the boundary between the old parishes of Spotland and Hundersford
The sprawling cairn on the top of Brown Wardle Hill
The tall boundary stone near the summit has unfortunately toppled over
The view south-east towards Littleborough from the fallen boundary stone
Dramatic skies overhead as we left Brown Wardle Hill
Looking ahead to Middle Hill and Rough Hill
The solitary tree above the ruin of Grey Pasture
Watergrove Reservoir from beside another ruined house
The fine cobbled path slanting down to Higher Slack Brook
The ruin of another old house above Watergrove Reservoir
Looking back at Brown Wardle Hill
East Hill, the trig point is located near the pylon
The trig point on East Hill looking to Littleborough and Hollingworth Lake
There are not too many trig points that still have their plug
Watergrove Reservoir and Brown Wardle Hill from Dobbin Hill
The 'Life for a Life' Memorial Forest
A reserved plot in the Memorial Forest
A colourful corner above Watergrove Reservoir
1716 datestone in the wall of Watergrove Reservoir
The old sign for Watergrove Mill
A final look at Watergrove Reservoir

Walk Detail: With me paying particular attention to revisiting various hills in the Yorkshire Dales this year I've not spent as much time walking in other areas as I normally would. This particular walk was thus my first foray into the West Pennines / Rossendale area for over a year.

We started the walk from the car park below the dam of Watergrove Reservoir which was reached by a bumpy cobbled road out of Wardle. It had been raining for most of the drive but as we arrived it looked initially like it was going to improve. We were soon disabused of this notion as we walked a long Barn Field Lane and the heavens opened, giving us quite a soaking.

While Brown Wardle Hill was the main objective of the walk I also wanted to bag a couple of the local trig points, the first one being the Healey trig point on Rushy Hill. I'd initially planned on heading south-west from Strid Fold before heading up to the top of Rushy Hill from the disused reservoir. With the weather deteriorating though we decided to keep on the main track to reach a quite bewildering number of path junctions from where we walked south along the Pennine Bridleway.

Just before reaching Meadowhead Farm we left the bridleway to climb up to the trig point, passing a rather wet and soggy Lobden golf course. The white painted trig point is situated just to the west of a large pylon. The combination of pylon, wet conditions and a view largely made up of suburbia to the south wasn't particularly inspiring it has to be said.

As we retraced our steps back to the junction of paths the rain finally abated and small patches of sunshine began to appear on the moors to our west. At the junction we took the path signposted as the Rossendale Way heading for the top of Brown Wardle Hill. Along the way we passed a number of ponies and a couple of boundary stones marking the boundary of the old parishes of Spotlands and Hundersford.

The summit of Brown Wardle Hill used to feature a trig point that has long since been removed, sadly the large boundary stone near the summit has also toppled over. There was however a large sprawling cairn where we sat and ate our lunch whilst enjoying the rather bleak moorland views, a mood enhanced by the dramatic clouds overhead.

Dropping down to the saddle with Middle Hill we saw some more ponies before turning right and descending to the ruined house of Grey Pasture which is located beneath a large solitary tree. From there we crossed Long Shoot Clough to another ruin before descending towards Higher Slack Brook, in its final stage this route turned into a lovely flagged path.

Across the brook we climbed up to meet the broad track called Ramsden Road. This would have provided a nice easy return to the car park but, as I wanted to visit the trig point on East Hill, we instead turned off the track on an increasingly indistinct trod passing yet more ruins. Eventually we found a clearer path that led us to a small reservoir below East Hill.

After a short steep climb up on to East Hill we made a short detour from the path to the trig point. As with Rushy Hill the trig point was situated near a large pylon. In addition there was also a pile of rusting scrap on the slightly higher ground to the north-east. Thankfully the view south-west over Hollingworth Lake to the Pennine watershed was a rather nice one.

Returning to the right of way (barely visible on the ground) we contoured around Dobbin Hill to join a track leading down into some woodland alongside the reservoir. This proved to be a 'Life for a Life' Memorial Forest with trees and benches placed in memory of deceased love ones. I thought it was a lovely idea, much more attractive than a graveyard. The walk concluded with a nice stroll alongside the reservoir back to the start. Along the way we passed a number of datestones set in the reservoir wall which originally belonged to the houses and businesses of the drowned village of Watergrove.

Despite the soaking we got at the start of the walk this was an enjoyable outing. Brown Wardle Hill is one of the finer hills in the area and there is lots of interest in and around Watergrove Reservoir, the numerous ruins giving it a slightly melancholy air. For non-trig point enthusiasts the two detours to Rushy Hill and East Hill can be ommitted and with them any close up encounters with pylons.

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