Manchester might be renowned for its grey clouds and typically rainy weather, but did you know it’s also the gateway to some of the finest beauty spots in Britain? From the iconic Peak District, to man-made attractions right here in Greater Manchester, we’ve rounded up the most photogenic water spots such as lakes and reservoirs that are just a short drive from the city.
1. Dovestone Reservoir
Situated close to Manchester within Saddleworth Moor, Dovestone Reservoir is undoubtedly one of Greater Manchester’s most impressive beauty spots, boasting a 12.5 mile walk with spectacular views of the Peak District and the water. There’s plenty of grassy areas that are perfect for relaxing with a picnic, and if you’re feeling active, there’s 5-7 hours worth of walking to do around the reservoir. Elsewhere, you can explore Dovestones Edge, which provides incredible panoramic views of the reservoir and moorland, and it’s also close by to Greenfield Waterfall too if you’re really in the mood for exploring.
Drive time from central Manchester: 41 minutes
2. Hollingworth Lake
A pretty man-made lake out in Rochdale, the 118-acre water spot features a short 2.5km walk around its perimeter, with water sports and a number of outdoor activities usually taking place in the summer. The leisurely spot dates way back to the 19th century, proving popular with the locals during the Victorian era. There’s a number of walks you can participate in around the area, including the South Pennine Water Trail, which offers views of the nearby Pennines and follows the Rochdale Canal.
Drive time from central Manchester: 33 minutes
3. Chew Reservoir
A stunningly vast reservoir right at the top of the Chew Valley, Chew Reservoir is the perfect nature spot to visit within the Peak District. The spot provides lovely views of Saddleworth Moor, and joins onto Dovestone Reservoir, which is a three-mile walk away if you wanted to explore both. The walk is brilliant if you like a bit of a challenge, with some of the walk heading uphill to reach the reservoir. Budding photographers will have a field day with the surroundings, with the old water tank remaining at the reservoir, Chew Valley itself, and Rob’s Rocks nearby.
Drive time from central Manchester: 47 minutes
4. Butterley Reservoir
A picturesque, short walking spot with three reservoirs to discover, Butterley reservoir can be found in Marsden, West Yorkshire. Surrounded by Blakeley reservoir and Wessenden reservoir, the scenic route is closeby to Marsden’s traditional village centre which features a number of local amenities as well as quaint homes dotted up and down the hills of the Peak District. The walking route varies from 2-10 miles depending on how far you’d like to go, and you can turn back at any point to head back to the village – which is well worth checking out during your day trip.
Drive time from central Manchester: 54 minutes
5. Gaddings Dam
Just a one hour drive from Manchester, Gaddings Dam is a disused reservoir, now more commonly used for swimming. The wild swimming spot is situated on top of a vast area of moorland, with a sandy shore that’ll have you feeling like you’re at the beach. The Dam can be found near traditional market town Todmorden in Calderdale, and is maintained by a group of locals who rescued it from being drained back in 2001.
Drive time from central Manchester: 53 minutes
6. Yarrow Reservoir
Part of the Rivington chain in Anglezarke, Yarrow reservoir is a breathtaking spot which is joined with two other huge reservoirs, Anglezarke and the Upper Rivington reservoir – with several others closeby. The tranquil spot features bodies of water at almost every turn, so there’s plenty to see while you’re there. Nearby, visitors can check out the historical Alance Bridge, take spectacular photos at the Anglezarke viewpoint, and even venture a little further towards Bolton to see the Rivington Pike Tower and the Great Ravine.
Drive time from central Manchester: 43 minutes