Chew Valley, Greater Manchester

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Chew Valley Reservoir
Chew Valley from Blindstones Moss - - 2356.jpg
Location Greater Manchester
Coordinates 53°31′N 1°57′W / 53.51°N 1.95°W / 53.51; -1.95Coordinates: 53°31′N 1°57′W / 53.51°N 1.95°W / 53.51; -1.95
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Chew Clough, Green Grain, Dry Clough, South Clough
Primary outflows Chew Brook
Basin countries United Kingdom

Chew Valley is within the Saddleworth parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, in Greater Manchester, England.[1] The valley follows the course of Chew Brook on the western slopes of Black Chew Head to where it joins the River Tame at Greenfield, several miles to the east of Manchester. Part of the higher fringes of the valley towards the peak of Black Chew Head lie across the boundary in Derbyshire. The eastern part of the valley including the reservoirs of Dovestone and Chew are within the north western extremity of the Peak District National Park.

Chew Reservoir was a notable feat of engineering. Construction began in the beginning of the 20th century and was completed in 1912. At 1,600 feet or 488 metres above sea level, it was the highest reservoir constructed in England. A tram-road was laid in Chew Valley to transport 42,318 cubic yards or 32,350 cubic metres of clay to make an inner core for its dam to make it watertight. The tram and railway are gone but the route forms the Oldham Way Footpath where a reconstructed bridge hosts a sign with information, pictures, and a map.

In August 1949, a BEA Douglas DC3 crashed into the hill at Wimberry Rocks killing 24 passengers and crew and leaving 8 survivors.[2]

Chew Brook[edit]

The Chew Brook begins as a small stream on the western slopes of Black Chew Head 53°30′46″N 1°55′02″W / 53.5128°N 1.9172°W / 53.5128; -1.9172, a hill in the Saddleworth Moor and the highest point of Greater Manchester.[1] Travelling westward down the slope it is joined by several other streams including the Black Chew Grain. After covering a distance of approximately 1 km through marshy moor land, the brook empties out into the Chew Reservoir 53°30′49″N 1°56′55″W / 53.5136°N 1.9487°W / 53.5136; -1.9487, which was built in 1912 and was the highest constructed reservoir in England (1600 ft/488m above sea level) at the time (the Cow Green rservoir, near Middleton in Teesdale in County Durham is the current holder, completed in 1971). Excerpts from a labourers description of working on the dam at Chew Valley is available in the book Navvyman by Dick Sullivan.

At the western end of the reservoir the brook emerges down a narrow and steep ravine, curving steadily to the northwest for 2.3 km before this time emptying into Dovestones Reservoir 53°31′34″N 1°58′27″W / 53.5262°N 1.9742°W / 53.5262; -1.9742. Exiting out of the western end of Dovestones, the brook - now a small river - meanders through the heart of Greenfield village. Chew Brook ends its journey a short distance below Greenfield railway station where it merges into the River Tame 53°32′06″N 2°00′43″W / 53.5351°N 2.0120°W / 53.5351; -2.0120.


  • Greenfield Brook (R)
    • Dove Stone Brook (L)
    • Near Deep Brook (R)
    • Far Deep Brook(R)
    • Craggy Brook (R)
    • Near Rough Brook (R)
    • Far Rough Brook (R)
    • Near Warmsey Brook (R)
    • Holme Brook (Rs)
      • Rimmon Pit Brook (R)
        • Little Brook (R)
        • Great Gruff (R)
        • Little Holme Brook (L)
    • Birchen Brook (Ls)
      • Little Birchen Brook (L)
      • Howels Head Brook (R)
        • North Grain (R)
  • Charnel Brook (R)
  • Dish Stones Brook (R)
  • Bower Brook (L)
  • Green Grain (L)
  • Black Chew Grain (R)
  • Bird Grain (R)


  1. ^ a b Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 110 Sheffield & Huddersfield (Glossop & Holmfirth) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2012. ISBN 9780319231876. 
  2. ^ "Accident Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 

External links[edit]