Dovestone Reservoir

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Dovestone Reservoir
Dovestones from Alphin Hill.jpg
Dovestone from Alphin Hill
Location Greenfield
Greater Manchester
Coordinates 53°31′48″N 1°58′30″W / 53.530°N 1.975°W / 53.530; -1.975Coordinates: 53°31′48″N 1°58′30″W / 53.530°N 1.975°W / 53.530; -1.975
Lake type reservoir
Primary inflows Greenfield Brook
Chew Brook
Primary outflows Chew Brook
Basin countries England

Dovestone Reservoir lies at the convergence of the valleys of the Greenfield and Chew Brooks above the village of Greenfield, on Saddleworth Moor in Greater Manchester, England. The reservoir is on the edge of the Peak District National Park in the South Pennines. It supplies drinking water to the surrounding area and is a tourist attraction, offering several walks amongst picturesque landscapes.


John Platt of Oldham built a Neo-Gothic mansion at Ashway Gap on the south side of the valley in 1850. It was used as a shooting lodge but after his brother James's death in a shooting accident on the moor above it, the house was left empty. The house was later acquired by the Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge and Dukinfield Waterworks Joint Committee. Boundary stones demarcating the extent of the estate are located at intervals along the footpaths along the south side of the reservoir. During World War I the waterworks board offered the house for use as a hospital. It was demolished in 1981.[1]

The Ashworth Cross memorial to James Platt MP 1857

On the northern end of Dove Stone Moss, above the Ashway Gap, the Ashway Stone is a memorial to James Platt, MP for Oldham, who "was killed here by an accidental discharge of his own gun" in 1857.[2]

The reservoir scheme in the Greenfield and Chew Valleys by the Ashton-Under-Lyne, Stalybridge and Dukinfield Waterworks Joint Committee commenced in 1870.[3] The scheme was completed with Dovestone Reservoir in 1968 to collect water from the surrounding moorland. The main contractor was A.E. Farr (Civil Engineers) of Westbury, Wiltshire. Its construction was opposed by local mill owners, who claimed that damming the river would cut off their water supply. As a result, a tunnel was built higher up in the hillside to bypass the reservoir.

During a visit in 1981 to attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga visited Dovestone Reservoir. To commemorate the visit, a carved stone has been set into the dam wall of the Yeoman Hey Reservoir.


Dovestone Reservoir's dam looking towards Alderman's Hill.

The reservoir lies at the convergence of the valleys of the Greenfield and Chew Brooks above Greenfield in the South Pennines. It is the lowest and largest of three reservoirs in the Greenfield Valley. Above it are the Yeoman Hey, built in 1880, and Greenfield Reservoirs. Chew Reservoir is in the upper Chew Valley and at 1,600 feet (488 metres) above sea level was the highest reservoir in the British Isles when it was built in 1914. The reservoirs are surrounded by moorland and, above the valley, high rocky outcrops.[4]

The A635 road to Holmfirth passes to the west and north of the reservoirs.[4]


The reservoir overflow

The dam wall does not have a traditional spillway to control water height but discharges into a tunnel via a large bell-mouth overflow in one corner.

On the dam wall is an ingeniously designed emergency overflow consisting of three metal troughs that when full tip water over a wall where it runs across the road and back into the river below. The emergency overflow is activated if a flash flood of approximately two metres of water occurs.



Access to the reservoir is via the A635 road to the pay and display car parks. There are toilets at Binn Green and at the main car park. The Peak District Park Ranger Service maintains an office next to the main car park and rangers patrol the reservoirs and park at the weekends.

The reservoirs and surrounding moorland attract walkers and hikers. Joggers compete in a race every Friday evening in the summer months. The path around Dovestone is well maintained, gravelled and relatively flat. Leading off its circular path are paths to Chew Reservoir, towards the car park at Binn Green and along the Greenfield Valley past the Yeoman Hey and Greenfield Reservoirs. Dovestone Sailing Club uses the reservoir.[5] The Chew Valley is a gritstone climbing area visited by climbers and boulderers

The "Life for a Life" Memorial Forest[edit]

Started in 1999, the plantation allows people to pay to have a tree planted in the name of a loved one.[6] Currently more than 700 trees have been planted.


In 2010, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds established an interest in the area, and decided to manage the surrounding moorland and woodland, in association with United Utilities.


  1. ^ "Walking - Dovestone Reservoirs". Lancashire Evening Post ( 22 February 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Memorial Cross (2)". Geolocation. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "£1,000,000 Water Scheme". Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser. 27 September 1911. p. 8.   – via British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Dove Stone Reservoir". United Utilities. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Dovestone Sailing Club". Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Dovestone Reservoir". Life for a Life Memorial Forests. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 

External links[edit]