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, the 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.

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

Dovestone Reservoir walk from nr. Greenfield

Waterfall on Birchen Clough
Waterfall on Birchen Clough

Walk information

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 edge, Alphin Pike

gpx file

Dovestone Reservoir + Trinnacles walk map

Peak District map + route
Walk map including Trinnacles at Dovestone Reservoir
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.

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

There are public toilets available at the start of the walk at Binn Green car park; however, both occasions I’ve visited they were closed. 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. Also, 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

Check the weather for your walk location and hills

Ordnance Survey Walk Map

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

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

And don’t forget your compass I recommend the Silva Expedition compass

For online maps, you can get via OS Online App or Viewranger 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 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. There’s a path that goes across the reservoir but keep on the track following the reservoir on your right.

Walk all the way to the end where there’s a huge dam, the start of Greenfield Reservoir, cross the bridge then head up the short steep grassy section to the far right corner of the dam. Go through the gate and alongside Greenfield Reservoir (now 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) but you’ll need to practice for the next crossing!

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, 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 round 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 if 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 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 reach another path, turn right and continue all the way to the end of woods in Chew Plantation. Through the woods then turn right onto the road and left to take you on to the path around Dovestone Reservoir.

Follow until you reach the dam, turn left to walk across, left at the end up the road (that you started on) and look for the footpath on the right heading back up 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.

More walks in the Peak District

Fancy trying some walks in other parts of the Peak District? You might like these walks

Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here

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Waterfall at Birchen Clough

Rocks on edge and blue skies

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