Round the reservoirs at Rivington

My walk this week centres on the Rivington Estate, once the home of Lord Leverhulme. Born in 1851 he was the son of a grocer in Bolton but grew up to be a successful businessman. Starting as a manufacturer of soap he founded the Lever Bothers empire which later became Unilever.

The reservoirs that surround the Rivington Estate came into being as the result of an Act of Parliament passed in 1847. These allowed Liverpool Corporation to construct a series of reservoirs to solve the drinking water problem in Liverpool. In 1857 the first water from these works reached the city.It would probably take longer to do the work today! Over the years the reservoirs have taken on a very natural appearance.

We set off from the Great House Barn and walked through the woodland along the eastern shore of Lower Rivington Reservoir to reach the embankment. Part of the barn is believed to be 400 years old and its roof is supported by a huge oak cruck-framework. The building is now the cafe and gift shop. On the way we passed the village school which was built in 1714 although extended in 1905 and 2004. It stands on the site of the Elizabethan Grammar school of 1566 and founded by James Pilkington who later became the Bishop of Durham.

Lower Rivington Reservoir

Turning left we followed the road along the embankment between the Upper and Lower Rivington Reservoirs and then turned right just before Horrobin Cottage to follow a tarmac lane along the western shore of the Upper Reservoir. I saw some grey squirrel but they were very shy and I struggled to get a photo. They are not as cute as their red cousins.

02 Grey Squirrel

Along the way we saw some large pointed poles. They looked like a drab version of the mooring poles for gondolas in Venice but what were they for. They form a barrier to protect the channel that carries overflow water from the Upper Rivington Reservoir to the River Yarrow. They stop trees and other large debris from being carried into the overflow channel which could result in damage to the dam wall.

Mooring posts

After the heavy rainfall of the past few days the path was very muddy and in some places it was submerged.

04 Lots of mud

05 Lots of water

At the end of the reservoir we crossed the road by a cottage and then continued north along the shore of Anglezarke Reservoir. This was a lovely path through beech woodland and alongside the reservoir. it was a chance for Les to do some bird watching. We saw some Crested Grebe and Goldeneye. I just took a photo of a robin.

10 Alongside Anglezarke Reservoir

07 Robin

At the head of the reservoir we turned to walk back along the eastern shore. A sign by the footpath informed us that ‘You are what you drink. This reservoir is your drinking water. Please take your litter home’ Few people seem to have taken any notice!

12 Litter

Our return route led us by the small but beautiful Hugh Bullough Reservoir.


Near the foot of the reservoir we crossed the outflow from the Yarrow Reservoir.

19 OverflowP1040118

We now joined our outward path but instead of going back to the car we continued along the shore of Lower Rivington Reservoir. The reservoir was constructed in the 1850’s and is fed in part by the River Douglas. We continued as far as the castle which was constructed by Lord Leverhulme in the early 1900’s. It is supposed to be a replica of the ruined Liverpool Castle. It is said that it was intended to be used as an open air French style cafe but the plans were abandoned upon the death of Lord Leverhulme.

20 The Castle

21 The castle

From the castle we had a good view of Rivington Pike and the transmitter on top of Winter Hill.

22 The tower and the mast

Rivington Pike was once the site of a warning beacon established in the 12th century. The Pike Tower was built in 1733 by John Andrews when he was Lord of the Manor.It was used as a refuge by grouse shooting parties in bad weather.

It was now just an easy stroll back to the car park where Chris made a new friend.

25 Go Ape

A pleasant 8 mile stroll.


About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
This entry was posted in Adventures with Les, Lancashire, Photography, Walks. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Round the reservoirs at Rivington

  1. Looks good if a little boggy. I was going to suggest this for one of our jaunts. We could do the Anglezarke one along Spittler’s edge but will choose a drier day.

  2. Marie says:

    I really appreciate the history and information you put with your photos. The little robin was cheerful on such a cold day. When does it warm up for you? We are sweating with high temperatures and humidity.

  3. crosbyman66 says:

    Sounds good, or maybe we could do Rivington Pike and the tower

  4. crosbyman66 says:

    Thanks. Doing a bit of research on the walk always makes it more interesting.
    The weather here should start to warm up in April when we might hit 20 degrees.
    We have not really had any cold weather this winter. I have only had to de-ice my car windscreen twice.
    I’m off up the Lake District next weekend and hope for a bit of sunshine.

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