Hollingworth Lake

South Littleborough, 1 mile

Reservoir in a hillside niche with tourist facilities


image of hollingworth-lake
(no website)

Get there

Train station and bus stops at Littleborough, but the walk is an uphill slog on a busy road. Try the little Ealees Valley, or Smithy Bridge train station is a shorter walk, but steep. Private transport: carprking at the entry junction or by the visitor centre, large but when busy not enough.


Hollingworth Lake was once known as an ‘Inland Resort’. The marks are the Penny Arcades and the once‐glamorous Beach Hotel. Nested in a unique South Pennines niche, Hollingworth Lake is yet a large reservoir, with postcard scenery, a flat walk round, and fish, chips and icecream to finish. There are facilities here, but also some tourist commerce (pizza, public houses, Space Invaders…). On the east side is a visitor centre with exhibits, information, toilets and small cafe. On the south side is a small nature reserve, adventure playground, short trails through trees, and a second cafe. And, though Hollingworth Lake is not an obvious place to start, from here you can walk miles up and into the South Pennines. There are downsides: the walk from Littleborough is a low point in tourist access. The circle walk is complete but not ideal—one quarter is on a small road with no footpath, half is unmetalled but wide. The glamour is gone—and Rakewood Viaduct is surreal. That said, those who care for the place have done what they can—the visitor centre is worth your time. Popular—on a sunny bank holiday it’s an inland waterfront.