LIVERPOOL Corporation built the Rivington and Anglezarke Reservoirs in the 19th century but they also built a series of smaller reservoirs higher up in Roddlesworth Woods, linked to Anglezarke by the waterway known as the Goit.

Liverpool Corporation planted much of the woodland hereabouts and this walk passes the three reservoirs linking into the Goit.

The walk also takes in the lower part of the straggling village of Tockholes, a classic place to study the early days of Lancashire’s Industrial Revolution as there are handloom weavers’ cottages here and the old packhorse road, part of a longer route that linked Preston with the Rossendale Valley.

Look out for the enclosed village pinfold, used to collect stray cattle.

Join the track to the right of the Hare & Hounds pub car park, do not turn right along the reservoir track but instead continue straight ahead passing the new houses on the left. The farm access road takes you through open fields towards stables and then winds sharp right downhill.

Keep to the asphalt drive as it runs downhill soon meeting a waymarked path on the left. Turn left along this overgrown path which crosses a footbridge and climbs steps to a gate into the rear garden and chicken coop of Red Lea Farm. Turn left following the waymarked path emerging in the farm yard between buildings.

Bear right and pass between the buildings following a track to a stile in the hedge corner on the right (not the automatic gate).

Cross the stile and follow the enclosed track towards sheep pens. Look out for a waymarked stile on the left and cross this leading to another stile. Cross this and then cross a large field gradually uphill. Keep to the right of a pond and a stile on the far side of the field is reached.

Cross this and turn left following an enclosed track leading to houses on the left. Keep going straight ahead along the access track until a crossroads is reached. An old church cemetery is hidden behind a stone wall on the left.

At the crossroads of tracks/lanes turn right uphill passing the restored village pinfold on the left. You now follow the old wide bridleway, part of a former packhorse route between Preston and Rossendale.

The track climbs quite steeply uphill to cottages. Keep going straight ahead between the cottages to meet the main road through Tockholes. Turn right along this (no pavement) with a good view of Darwen Tower straight ahead. Join the pavement and when you reach cottages on the left enter the woodland on the right at a bridle gate.

The track drops quite steeply through the trees, swings left and meets a lower track running left to right. Turn right along this keeping the Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir down on your left. Just keep to the track through the woods, it soon climbs then drops gradually downhill keeping in the woods. Eventually it turns sharp left and crosses the dam of the lower reservoir.

At the far end of the dam do not cross the footbridge but turn sharp right. The track leads to a footbridge and weir on the left. Cross the bridge and continue straight ahead up steps to join another track. Turn right along this with Rake Brook Reservoir on the left. The track leads straight back to the Hare & Hounds pub and Abbey Village.

  • Nick Burton’s ‘Wainwright’s Way’, an exploration on foot of Alfred Wainwright’s life from Blackburn to Buttermere (Frances Lincoln, £13.99). His website is
  • START: Abbey Village, near the Hare & Hounds pub. Roadside parking along the main street, the A675 Bolton Road. 
    DISTANCE: 4 miles (allow 2 hours) 
    MAP: OS EXplorer 287 West Pennine Moors 
    Note: It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the route to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.