Superlative Walks

Urban and rural trails, each with something very special

Wayoh, Turton and Entwistle reservoirs and Turton Tower

Directions with Added Information

This walk includes two reservoirs, a historic tower and links to Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Lancashire in 1931.

There are two alternative starting points for the walk – Entwistle Station, where parking is very limited, or the two car parks at the west end of the Turton and Entwistle Reservoir dam.  These directions start at the station and pick up the car parks shortly after the start.

If arriving by train, please note that Entwistle station is one of 144 on the National Rail network that are request stops, so the guard needs to be advised on boarding that you want to get off here. 

Spring Vale railway station was the next one to the north of Entwistle, but closed in 1958.  It achieved fame on the night of 25 September 1931 when Mahatma Gandhi alighted from a train there to spend the night with a local family.  Gandhi had accepted an invitation issued by Mr Corder Catchpool of Greenfield Mill and took the opportunity to visit Lancashire to see for himself the effects that India’s boycott of cotton goods had had on the workers there.

Entwistle: the name derives from the old English ened and twisla which means a river fork frequented by ducks.  The name was recorded at Hennetwisel in 1212, Ennetwysel in 1276 and Entwissell in 1311. Entwistle is situated in a fork between Edgworth Brook and a smaller tributary. Entwistle was originally a township in the chapelry of Turton which was part of the large ecclesiastical parish of Bolton Le Moors.

1. From the railway station, walk the few yards to the front of the Strawbury Duck pub.  Follow the private Overshore Rd., left from the front of the pub, past a terrace of red-brick  houses. Continue along this road/track  and then fork right down to the dam of Turton and Entwistle Reservoir.

When constructed in 1832 the Entwistle Dam was the highest in Britain. It rises 108 feet from the base.The engineer for the dam and reservoir was Jesse Hartley, best known for his docks and dock buildings, such as the Albert and Canning Docks in Liverpool.

2. Cross the dam on the road.  There are car parks here which are the alternative starting and finishing points.  Walk up the road away from the dam, then through a parking area on the right go up some steps to the right.  

3. Turn right when the path is reached, then just before the next car park is reached,  take a winding path uphill to the left.  Cross the minor road at the top, go through the gate and follow the concessionary path across the field.

4. Cross the B6391, following the bridleway signs. At a T-junction at the end of the short path, turn left onto the wider track and follow this for about one mile, crossing two streams in culverts under the road.  

5. Pass a pair of ruined  octagonal buildings (possibly a former brickworks).  When a junction is reached, turn left (i.e. not over the cattle grid) and go down the hill with a stream on the right.

6. Cross the ornate railway bridge.  Turn left just before the first building onto a path through woodland. After about 150m, at a stone hut, follow a low arrowpost and  turn right to Turton Tower, where there is a tea room.

Turton Tower was home to the lords of the Manor of Turton, and in about 1200 was part of the barony of Manchester, by which time part of the manor was in the hands of the de Lathom family. It was inherited in 1420 by the Orrells, who rebuilt the pele tower. In 1628 they sold Turton Tower to Humphrey Chetham, the Manchester merchant responsible for the creation of Chetham’s Library, the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom and Chetham’s School of Music. The tower was sold in a state of disrepair in 1835 to James Kay who restored it.

Turton Football Club, formed in 1871, was the first football club in the North West of England, as featured in the National Football Museum.

7. Go through the garden of Turton tower and turn left onto the path.  Go through the gate to the left of the Kitchen Garden and follow the wide path, past another ornate bridge. The path narrows when some houses are reached, follow it to a junction with a sett-paved road. To the left is a level crossing with a housing development adjacent.  

8. Turn right onto the road.  Follow the curving, sett-paved road, and then take the first track to the left.  Leave this via Key Street into Chapeltown by the Chetham Arms pub.

Chapeltown consists mainly of 18th and 19th century terraced stone cottages. The tight clustering of properties along High Street is typical of villages with medieval origins. The Old School House (1714) is particularly fine.There is a small public garden containing the old village stocks and market cross.  Although it has a church, Chapeltown doesn’t have a chapel.

9. Turn left and follow High Street, which becomes Greens Arms Road.  Turn right onto Embankment Road.  

10. At the gates marking an entrance to Wayoh Reservoir continue on down the hill  to the reservoir itself. At the bottom, take a short diversion to the right of the reservoir gates.  There is an impressive intake on the left and a spillway on the right.    

Wayoh Reservoir was completed on 28 April 1876 to supply water to Bolton.  Wayoh and the Turton and Entwistle Reservoir provide 50% of Bolton’s drinking water.  In 1962 in response to an increasing demand for drinking water in Bolton, a treatment plant was built and the reservoir was enlarged to its present capacity of 501 million gallons. Today the treatment plant can supply almost 10 million gallons of drinking water per day.

11. Return to the foot of the hill and take the track on the right alongside the reservoir.  After about half a mile, cross the causeway with the high railway viaduct crossing the reservoir to the left. 

The Armsgrove Viaduct was built between 1847 and 1848 by the Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton Railway to bridge Bradshaw Brook and pre-dates the building of the reservoir.

12. Turn right at the end of the causeway, and follow the path, with the reservoir still on the right.  As the path exits woodland turn right onto the road  to return to Entwistle station and the Strawbury Duck.

Alternatively, for a longer walk, turn right on exiting the woods and follow the road over the curving causeway, left at the end and take the path with Wayloh reservoir on the left. Cross two bridges at the head of the reservoir and take the path upwards, turning right to reach the Strawbury Duck