logo Walking Britain

South Pennines Walk
Chew Reservoir & the Pennine Way

Nat Park - Peak District - Black Hill Dovestone

Region - South Pennines

County/Area - Greater Manchester

Author - Peter Schofield

Length - 14.0 miles / 22.8 km

Ascent - 2500 feet / 758 metres

Time - 9 hours 30 minutes

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference SD992046
Lat 53.538048 // Long -2.013541
Postcode OL3 7JX (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Chew Reservoir & the Pennine Way Photo from the walk - Chew Reservoir & the Pennine Way Photo from the walk - Chew Reservoir & the Pennine Way Photo from the walk - Chew Reservoir & the Pennine Way
Click thumbnails for larger images.

Using excellent public transport links, this linear Peak District walk provides the opportunity for those without their own cars to experience some of the fine sections of the Dark Peak around Black Hill and Laddow Rocks.

The walk starts at Greenfield Station (Grid ref. SD992046). On leaving the station, turn right and follow the road downhill around a sharp left hand bend. Continue for about 300m and turn right into Green Bridge Lane. Turn right to cross the bridge over Chew Brook (the first of several encounters with it) and then immediately left along a path through a housing development to reach the A635.

Cross over the road, go left for 50m, and turn right past a house, over a stile and head up the hill. At this point, things turn more promising. The urban sprawl of Greenfield is left behind and Alphin Pike lies ahead with a promise of finer things to come.

Follow the boundary wall up the hill for about 500m until a stile is reached. Cross over the wall and another one and pass through the garden of a private house to emerge at a junction of two tracks. Take the upper track. This is Intake Lane which was the route of the tramway which carried the stone used in the construction of Chew Reservoir from a quarry in Mossley.

The walk now follows a very pleasant route through woods and fields for 2.5 km. Extensive views open out over Dovestone and the Saddleworth edges and Alderman Hill and the Pots and Pans monument are visible across the valley. Chew Brook comes up to meet the path at a fine footbridge built on the abutments of the old tramway crossing where an information board tells something of the fascinating history of the operation of the tramway.

Cross over the bridge, climb up to the water company access road and follow it up the ever narrowing valley to Chew Reservoir. Walk along the south side of the reservoir and at the far end, continue along a well defined path which follows some of the streams feeding the reservoir. The desolate terrain of Black Chew Head lies to the north and further away, the Holme Moss transmitter can clearly be seen.

The streams are finally left behind and the boundary fence at Laddow Moss is reached. On a fine day, a magnificent Peak panorama opens up, Bleaklow, Kinder and Shutlingsloe all dominating the skyline to the south. The path continues down hill and after 300m, another superb vista unfurls itself as the Pennine Way is reached at Laddow Rocks (Grid ref. 056013).

Turn left on to the Pennine Way which is followed to Black Hill and then on to Wessenden Head. This section is well known to most walkers and little needs to be added; all I would say is enjoy an area which to me has a unique beauty all of its own.

On reaching Wessenden Head (Grid ref. 075072) turn right along the A635 and immediately left on to the Meltham road. After 300m, turn left down a broad track which is followed all the way to Marsden, passing four reservoirs en route. The track finally becomes a road as the edge of Marsden is reached. At the roundabout at the bottom, continue straight on and go under a bridge beneath the A62 road. With the parish church on your left, continue for 200m to a road junction. Bear left a further 200m up Station Road to Marsden station from where a train will take you back to the start at Greenfield at the end of a magnificent day's walking.

Both trains and buses (First 184) provide hourly journeys between Marsden and Greenfield on weekdays. On Sundays, there are no trains but the 184 operates at a two hourly frequency. Full details can be found on the Metro website (www.wymetro.com).

Finally, if you've just missed your train or bus, Marsden's own brewpub The Riverhead Brewery offers a most relaxing way of passing an hour (or maybe two) until the next one. A walker friendly place, it's situated in the centre of the village 200m from where you reach Station Road. Just turn right rather than left at that point cross over the bridge and it's right in front of you!

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers. Travel restrictions for exercise in Wales and Scotland will be lifted in early July.

Covid 19 Update for Walkers

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL1Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 110Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 110Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.

Recommended Books & eBooks

Dark Peak Walks

Dark Peak WalksGuidebook to 40 walks in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park. 35 circular routes for most abilities, from 8km to 19km, around Edale, Marsden, Fairholmes, Baslow and Castleton, including Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, and 5 longer (25km to 45km) routes highlighting the best of the Gritstone Edges, High Moorland and Deep Valleys.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Walking - Covid 19 update

Regular updates on how Covid 19 will impact on walking in the UK More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.