Dovestone Reservoir Walk (+ Trinnacles) – Saddleworth | 12-Mile Route

The Trinnacles Rocks on Dovestone Reservoir Walk

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A brilliant 12-mile walk exploring the north part of the Peak District. This Dovestone Reservoir walk includes walking alongside the reservoir but also exploring the edges high above it, with epic views!

The walk includes a fun scramble up the side of Birchen Clough + waterfall, stopping for views of Saddleworth Moor from the iconic rocks known as the ‘Trinnacles’, three large rocks jutting out as part of the Raven Stones, that make for a great photo.

The walk continues along the edge, past Ashway Rocks, Great Dove Stone Rocks and all the way to Chew Reservoir. From here you then follow the edge along to Alphin Pike before descending down to Dovestone Reservoir, then back to the car park near Greenfield

Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk, parking details, route information, map and GPX file, plus a detailed step-by-step guide of the walk.

**Important notice** - Feb 2023. We've received information that Binn Green car park will be temporarily closed whilst work is completed. In addition, the footpath across the reservoir will also be closed, which will affect numerous walks. More information here. We've read that this will be until Spring 2023 but we'll let you know if we find out more information sooner.

Is this Dovestone walk on your list? Let me know in the comments

Dovestone Reservoir walk from near Greenfield

Waterfall on Birchen Clough
Waterfall on Birchen Clough

Walk information + GPX

Walk type: Medium circular walk (challenging route in places)

Distance: 12 miles/19 km

Walk time: 6-7 hours

Total ascent: 857 m/2,812 ft

Highest point: 492 m/1,614 ft

Walk highlights: Views across Dovestone Reservoir, waterfalls + scrambling up Birchen Clough, The Trinnacles, views along the edge, Alphin Pike

Trigs: 1 – Alphin Pike

Ethels: 1 – Alphin Pike

Stiles: 4 stone stiles (same 2 at the beginning) – option to avoid

gpx file

Dovestone Reservoir + Trinnacles walk map

Dovestone Reservoir Map
Walk map for Dovestone Reservoir + Trinnacles walk
© Crown copyright and database rights (2022) OS 002572460


Click for OS online map

Walk start point

Start grid reference: SE 01773 04466

Car parking address: Binn Green car park, off Holmfirth Road, Oldham, OL3 7NN

This is a small free car park on the A 635, which can get pretty busy at weekends if it’s full there are laybys along the road where people park. There is also a second car park at Dove Stone Reservoir, Greenfield which is a paid car park. Please park responsibly, parking tickets may be issued if not.

Public transport

Unfortunately, there are no suitable public transport options for this walk. From Manchester, it’s approximately 15 miles/45 minutes taxi drive.

Facilities on the walk

Car park
Binn Green car park at Dovestone Reservoir

Unfortunately, the public toilets are now permanently closed at Binn Green car park, due to vandalism. There are no other facilities on the walk.

Other useful information

In heavy rain, the route via Birchen Clough may not be passable, during my first visit in February 2020 it was not safe to cross. Please consider the safest option on your hike may be turning back and returning another day.

The section up Birchen Clough has a few scramble sections as you make your way up to the top, with one more challenging one (see photo below).

Important note regarding ‘The Trinnacles’ – You might see pictures of people climbing these, it’s a sheer drop on the other side so please be careful. There have been numerous serious incidents here where people have fallen. Also, please consider the weather conditions, climbing in wet or windy weather can be very dangerous and result in accidents. Think before you climb – Oldham Mountain Rescue.

Rocks on Birchen Clough
Scramble up Birchen Clough

For wildlife lovers keep an eye out for animals and birds on your walk, I saw plenty of grouse, but also a weasel and two young Short-eared owls and their mum (or dad) on this walk near the reservoir.

Maja from Away with Maja – ‘We did your Dovestones/Saddleworth walk yesterday from the ‘Peak District Walks’ website Great route and the post was super helpful. Thanks for the inspiration!’

Maja Proescholdt / Instagram

Peak District weather

Check the weather for your walk location and hills. You are up high for the majority of this route so warm layers are essential.

Ordnance Survey Walk Map

The map for this walk is OL1 – Peak District (Dark Peak Area)

Check prices here for standard maps or waterproof maps Ordnance Survey or Amazon UK

And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition or the Silva Classic compass.

For online maps, I recommend OS Online App (I have been using it for many years and it is worth getting if you want to start walking more). Check prices here for the one-month or annual option with OS Online App. All the walks on the website are created using OS Maps Online + you can download them to the OS Maps App.

Check prices here for the one month or yearly option with OS Online App. 


Want to read later? Save the walk to Pinterest

Trinnacles - Rocks at Dovestone Reservoir

Dovestone Reservoir walk route

Stage 1 – Binn Green car park to The Trinnacles

Distance: 2.8 miles/4.5 km

Grid reference SE 01773 04466

Steps into woods near Dovestone Reservoir
Steps leading from the car park in the woods

From the lower car park, take the path down the steps through the woods, go through a narrow stone stile then a gate and turn left onto the road with Dove Stone Reservoir on your right. At the bottom of the road, turn right and walk across the reservoir, at the end you’ll see a footpath leading off to the left.

Avoid the stone stiles – you may wish to walk down the steps first to see if you can get over, but if not then turn left down the road and then the next left which will avoid the stiles. Remember to do it at the end of the walk too.

Follow this alongside Dovestone Reservoir, as you reach the Dam at Greenfield Reservoir, you’ll see a stile over a fence on your right. Go over here, through a gate then another gate and alongside Greenfield Reservoir, on your left.

Dovestone Reservoir
Dovestone Reservoir

Go to the end where you’ll need to cross the water at the top of the reservoir (you can bypass this by taking the upper path at this point SE 02020 04855).

Now follow Greenfield Brook all the way to the small footbridge. Turn right and cross over Birchen Clough, it’s easier at the lower point but it will depend on the weather and how much water there is.

Note – on an earlier trip this section was impossible to cross due to heavy rain (see photo below).

Birchen Clough water after heavy rain
Birchen Clough after heavy rain

Once across follow Birchen Clough uphill, there are a few scramble sections, including one challenging one next to the waterfall. A few hundred metres after the waterfall you’ll need to look for the path on the opposite side of the clough, and cross at this point (SE 04023 04580).

Then ascend heading right until you reach the top and the path at the top. Keep walking until you reach the rock formation – The Trinnacles, it’s easy to spot!

Trinnacles rocks
Trinnacles rocks overlooking Greenfield Reservoir

Stage 2 – The Trinnacles to Chew Reservoir

Distance: 3.6 mile/5.8 km

Grid reference SE 03496 04775

Ashway Rocks in Peak District
Views from Ashway Rocks

Once you’ve admired the views from The Trinnacles, continue walking along the edge, the path runs all the way around to Ashway Rocks but it’s easy to miss the path along the edge. Around this spot (SE 03311 04800) there’s a path that goes over the moor but keep to the edge to walk past Ashway Rocks.

From Ashway Rocks head on the same level in a southerly direction and you’ll pick up the path. This area was recently badly burnt in a fire so make your way through then pick up the path.

Follow the path keeping to the edge, you’ll head slightly towards the moors to cross the stream but then it doubles back on the other side back to the edge, past Great Dove Stone rocks and Cairn on Fox Stone.

Rock silhouetted in sun
Cairn on Fox Stone

Keep walking along to Bramley’s Cot, a ruined building (there’s no roof but it will give you shelter from the wind in bad weather) and from here it’s about another 2 km to Chew Reservoir.

Stage 3 – Chew Reservoir to Alphin Pike

Distance: 2.7 miles/4.3 km

Grid reference SE 03504 01991

Chew Reservoir
Moody skies at Chew Reservoir

Walk along the path at the top of Chew Reservoir and at the end cross over the road and pick up a track heading right along the next edge.

Note – you can descend via Chew Road at this point to shorten the walk by about 2.5 miles/4 km.

This part of the walk takes you along the edge past more rock formations on the way before finally turning left at the end to reach Alphin Pike, you’ll see it first with a stone cairn but the trig point is around the other side.

Rocks and sunset
Cairn at Alphin Pike

Stage 4 – Alphin Pike to Dove Stone Reservoir (+ car park)

Distance: 3.2 miles/5.2 km

Grid reference SE 00304 02816

From Alphin Pike, head back to the edge and take the winding path down towards the trees, it’s tricky with loose rocks in places so take your time. At the woods turn right, follow the path, turn right through a gate and walk downhill.

Path towards reservoir
Path heading down to the reservoir

You’ll intersect with another path, turn right and continue all the way to the end of the woods in Chew Plantation. Walk almost to the end, near some huge boulders and before the gate turn right onto the path winding down, then take any path on the right so you’re walking alongside the stream (Chew Brook).

Follow this until you reach the bridge, turn right and cross over here which takes you on to the path around Dovestone Reservoir. Keep to the lower path and follow the track.

Walk until you reach the dam (where you turned off at the start), turn left to walk across then go left at the end and up the road (that you started on) and look for the footpath on the right, through the narrow gap in the wall and head back up the steps through the woods to the car park.

Do you have any questions about this walk including the scramble section? Ask me in the comments.

Other options for this walk

Shorten the walk

There are a few options to shorten this route, the first point is to descend the edge at Ashway Rocks, there are a couple of paths down along Dove Stone Moss and instead of walking along to Alphin Pike you can descend from Chew Reservoir on the road to Dovestone Reservoir.

Chew Road down from Chew Reservoir
Chew Road down from Chew Reservoir

You can descend sooner on the section of the walk to Alphin Pike but this is a steep scramble down and won’t save you much time.

Please get in touch and I will happily help with your walk.

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Waterfall at Birchen Clough

Rocks on edge and blue skies

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