Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough, Lancs
Situated about 4 miles outside of Rochdale town Centre and about 4 miles from the M62 at Jct 21, Hollingworth Lake was originally built (Yes, its man made and was finished in 1801 and in use from 1805) to supply water to the Rochdale canal which is located less than 1 mile away. This was done to belay the fears of local mill owners that the canal would take water away from the local rivers, as most of the mills in the area at the time where powered using water wheels. The lake holds an estimated 92 million cubic feet or 2,605,149 cubic metres and covers 130 acres.
These days Hollingworth lake is more a place of leisure than a working item. The lake is used for variety of water sports such as canoeing and sailing, it is reputed that Captain Webb used the lake to get some practice before his cross channel swim. I don’t know if this is true but I’m sure the water is the same temperature after having swam in both!
As well as the water activities, which are best left to the brave, the Hollingworth Lake Country park facility is home to a vast network of path and woodland walks, which stretch out away from the lake towards Littleborough and Milnrow, the nearest towns. The lake itself has a path which runs around its perimeter which can also be easily walked. This is about 2.25 miles round trip and is nearly all flat so can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels.
In summer the Hollingworth lake cruise boat the Lady Alice is in operation which ferries customers from one side to the other should you feel sufficiently lazy. Last time I enquired was about in 2001, and the price was £1.50 for adults. Prices can be found here.
Row boats can be hired for about £4.50 for 40 minutes. Again this price maybe out of date!
Parking at Hollingsworth Lake
If you approach the lake from Rochdale or Milnrow then you will come to the main car park on your right, this is nearly always full!. If you carry on towards the white pub, whose name escapes me, but I think its the Plough! But once you have driven past the pub, turning right you will then come to the visitors centre which always seems to be open at weekends only. There is a car park here and you can park here if you want but there have been thefts in the past here. If you want to park near the lake and somewhere relatively safe then park in the car park opposite the white pub, the car park is down off the road in a dip. Its sign posted and you should be able to get a parking space pretty easily.
Nearly all parking at the lake is Pay and Display.
If your going to walk around the lake there is a visitors centre around the back, and this also doubles as a café. Behind this is a kids playground.
Walking around the park is a joy and if you go anti-clockwise round the lake you will come to the wildlife area of the lake about 2/3 of the way round where you can see a variety of animals but mainly birds. I am told by those in the know about birds that the lake is an excellent place for bird spotting at certain times of the year. As well as birds but depending on what time of day you visit you might see rabbits and even foxes.
If you want shopping then there is nothing here except a few cafes, a ice cream shop and 2 pubs.
If you’re doing nothing mid week then the lake is ideal for a nice bit of piece and quiet, a place for quiet contemplation however at weekends don’t get upset if you arent sat on a park bench on your own.