A Circuit of Stock’s Reservoir

  • Great variety of birds, flora and scenery
  • History of the dam building
  • Good and well signposted paths


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The history of Stocks Reservoir is as interesting as the walk itself. A village had to be built to house the 500 workers and their families who lived there between 1922 and 1932, when it was opened by the then Prince George. At its highest the reservoir holds a billion litres of water, mainly serving the Flyde area of Lancashire.However when I walked around the reservoir in the summer 2010 it looked particularly empty and the benefactors may well be about to go thirsty.

Ironically I walked the circuit on a wet and showery day, a great day for the wild fowl but not so good for the many fishermen who make use of the well stocked lake. I headed off north to follow the well signposted route but heading off south is just as enjoyable. I extended the walk on the upper end of the Hodder valley as it is a remote and interesting area; isolated farms and wild moorland adding a nice contrast to the reservoir and woodland that typifies the remainder of the walk. Aside from its reputation as an excellent place to fish, bird watching is the main activity. Up to 30 species of wild fowl have been spotted on the shores, with special bird watching hides dotting the shores. It is an area rightly protected and the walker needs to compromise his wanderings and stick to the track; it is a long way round the reservoir but I found keeping your head up and watching for the wildlife does enliven the walk.

Recommend: Look for information on the history of the building of the dam – a major construction job in an age where machinery was less developed than today. Thus it required the building of its own construction village.

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Stocks Reservoir map


All maps are copyright of Where2Walk ©2018

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL41 Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale Buy Map
Start Point: SD 732563. There are 2 possible starting points, the fishing centre or the parking spot on School Lane beside Stocks. I prefer heading north from the car park and exploring the Upper Hodder Valley early in the walk.
Height to Climb: 130ms (426 feet)
Terrain: The path is excellent throughout and well signposted. It appears raised for all the west side and is great to walk on.
Eating & Drinking: There is a tea shop at the fishing centre at Hollins House which is welcome. Otherwise it is a drive to Slaidburn.
Similar Walks Nearby: Fells over Slaidburn
Exploring Gisburn Forest
Long Preston Deeps
Places to Stay:


Inn at WhitewellThe Plough, Wigglesworth


  1. Johnny says:

    Correction – it’s actually 12 BILLION LITRES when full!

    We did this walk yesterday 5th Feb 2015 – absolutely fantastic, however seemed longer than the stated 8 miles – and it’s not a simple path walk with some hills and fairly rough terrain – that said is stunning and well signposted. Recommended.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Follow the B 6478 east for 2 and a half miles. Turn left to Stocks with Gisburn Forest obvious. The road turns in to school lane when it turns sharp right after 1 mile.

  3. Graham Watkinson. says:

    Hello, originally from the Preston area. Currently visiting from Tasmania. Would like to walk around Stocks/surrounding area with my wife on any future visit. Was unable to find way to the car park during limited time available – I did not have a map of the local area. Local names on your map obscured by trees. How does one access School Ln from Slaidburn?
    Thank u4 your time.
    Cheers 🙂
    Graham Watkinson.

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