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Forest of Bowland Walks – Stocks Reservoir


This is a lovely circular walk around Stocks Reservoir, near Slaidburn, in the Forest of Bowland.
It sets off from the reservoir’s School Lane Car Park and takes a route through woodland and fields, picks up an old railway track before dropping down to the reservoir.

The reservoir was opened in 1932 by HRH Prince George and was built to provide water for the Fylde area of Lancashire. Managed by United Utilities, it skirts Gisburn Forest, which is very popular with cyclists, and there is a cafe at the Stocks Reservoir Fly fishery lodge, half way round and open during the fishing season.

Fact File
Start: School Lane Car Park, Stocks Reservoir, near Slaidburn
Distance: 8m, approx 3 hours
Refreshments: Stock’s Fly Fishery Cafe, during season, or at Slaidburn and Tosside.
Livestock: Plenty of livestock about, dogs need to be kept on leads.
Gates and footbridges: Several.

Download the route here.

Step by step
1. Park at School Lane car park and with the reservoir facing you, take the right path, marked with small green signs United Utilities Stocks Reservoir Circular Walk. Pass picnic area on left and two bird hides.

2. Continue along the woodland track and pass the site of Birch Hill Farm, follow the track across a field and a footbridge over Hasgill Beck.

3. Continue up hill along a grassy track until you reach the derelict New House Farm.

4. Take a windy route across the field to the footbridge over the River Hodder.

5. Continue along the track, which winds slightly upwards and through a kissing gate.

6. You will pass the ruins of another farm. The track can get quite muddy here, but flags have been put down to make the route easier.

7. At the end of the field, turn left onto the old railway track, which continues to the fly fishery.

8. Wind your way around the back of the fly fishery and through the car park, crossing over the cattle grid and the memorial wood.

9. To your left is the grand Stocks Board House, formerly the offices of the Fylde Water Board and now the offices of the United Utilities Bowland Estate office. Drop down, through a gate, to the track leading over the dam.

10. Cross over the dam.

11. Before you get to the end of the dam, take a right, through a gate and downhill, before turning left to rejoin the old railway track.

12. Follow the track, the reservoir is now on your left. Climbing slightly uphill and then downhill into a cleared woodland.

13. Go through a gate into the lovely wildflower meadow – particularly abundant in the spring with primroses.

14. Pass through a second gate at the end of the meadow and continue along the track, which meets up with the road on the right.

15. Join the road, and cross over the causeway, going back onto the path and ending up back at the car park

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