Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Morning Stroll and reccy around Langsett Reservoir

Free Parking, a Public Convenience, Langsett Barn (used for functions), a Ranger Station, picnic tables, good walks and a touch of wildlife. That's what you will find around Langsett Reservoir located around 10 miles west of Barnsley along side the A616 heading towards Woodhead Pass. It's not a source of ultra challenging walks, but it access to great walks to other areas such as Derwent, Margery Hill and my next target, Pike Low Hill.

Langsett Reservoir is, in my opinion, great for walkers. The Car Park is free, bonus, and quite extensive with an extra Car Park further up the road. There's also toilets, a cafe and a pub, double bonus.

The walking starts in the woods that surround the reservoir. It's all pine woodland and it is quite heavily managed. Lots of new planting on the go.

View from the Car Park.

My first ever walk around Langsett Reservoir was cough!..31...cough! years ago on a school trip. The memory of the walk has stuck with me and is now my favourite area to come to for a relaxing walk. The paths around the Reservoir are of a good standard. Wheel chair access is not too bad in places although certain areas are a bit on the steep side. So to be honest......limited. From the Car Park I took an anticlockwise route around the reservoir.

About just under a mile you come to where 'The Porter of Little Don River' (phew) meets the Reservoir at it's westerly tip. While I was here I did a little reccy around the valley the river flows through.

The Porter of Little Don River flowing into Langsett Reservoir.

The Porter of Little Don River.

The valley is quite narrow and secluded. It's very picturesque and looks to be a good place for spotting wildlife. Be careful around here though. Part of the path has been declared unsafe due to erosion by the council, in conjunction with the Peak District National Park, meaning that the official path has been rerouted slightly higher than the original.

Picturesque Valley the the Liitle Don runs through.

While I was here I had a very interesting chat with Martin, one of the Peak District Rangers. I have to say he was very pleasant, helpful and full of useful information. Thanks Martin!.

I headed back onto the main path and headed south, up the slope towards Hingcliff Hill. Up here are some great views towards the reservoir, Pike Lowe Hill (my target for next weekend) and the two wind farms, which I appreciate have mixed views.

Looking back from Hingcliff Hill.

Once I reached the fork in the path I turned left, heading east towards North America. Nope, I wasn't planning a walk that long, North America is the name of a farm that is now in ruins about half a mile from the turn. There used to be a liking for naming farms in the area after places in the world, hence the name. The name is in ruins due to being used as a target for tanks during the Second World War. I can remember on my first outing, 31 years ago, seeing abandoned metal roads up there that were used to allow tanks access on to the moor. The roads and other facilities from the time are still visible.

The path to North America.

The ruins of North America are quite impressive. The buildings were made of some seriously strong stone and they have been totally flatted. There are even some marks visible on some of the stones that demonstrate the fact that the buildings were blown apart by shell fire.

Ruins of North America Farm.

Ruins of the other Farm Building.

Langsett Reservoir from the ruins.

From the ruins of North America Farm you proceed through a gate and head down into a small valley.

The gate next to the ruins.

As you head downhill you pass the new plantation to your left. It's around quarter of a mile into the bottom where you come to Thickwoods Brook. It's a nice area, but due to the river being very slow flowing it attracts a lot of midges, so a break here might not be the best idea depending on activity and time of year.

Nice, but the pooled area attracts midges.

From here there are two ways back around the reservoir. One take you to the right (roughly south) through the little hamlet of Upper Midhope. Or you can continue on along side the reservoir and through it's surrounding woods.

The path around the reservoir.
It's important when you follow this path that you take the correct route. You cross two small wooden bridges around a steady left turn and incline. Shortly after this the path forks up an to the right. Ignore this, you want the next one which is 200 meters from this point. Yow will know you have the right one as you come to a few rough steps at the top of the banking. From the steps take a right and you will come to the edge of the woods. The path turns to the left and around 20 meters on you will see a gate on your right leading onto an access road the leads from Upper Midhope (to the right)  and down to the road to your left. When you get down to the road, take a left, and continue down the road where you will come to the reservoir dyke after about 100 meters.

From the Dam Wall you can see the woods where the Car Park is across the other side.

The woods where the Car Park is.

Head across the Dam wall and you will find the gate at the far end that continues on around the reservoir. Once through the gate you walk around 100 meters and find the path leading back up to the Car Park.

A nice pleasant sunny walk and some top tips from a helpful Park Ranger. A great walk for me with aims for Pike Low next weekend after some advice on it's access from the Ranger. The only negative to the day, the Ranger told me that the Cairn and small shelter on Pike Low Hill had been vandalised. Ah well, I'm sure the guilty will get their just desserts. I'll post some pictures of this despicable act after my walk next weekend.

Bye for now.