Ultimate Stocks Reservoir Guide 2024 (Walk Routes, Parking & More)
Ultimate Stocks Reservoir Guide 2024 (Walk Routes, Parking & More)

Ultimate Stocks Reservoir Guide 2024 (Walk Routes, Parking & More)

The Forest of Bowland is absolutely teeming with outdoor wonder.

Of all the fantastic trails to explore in the area however, one of our favourite walks has long been the circular route around Stocks Reservoir.

A gentle 10.8-kilometre ramble through ancient woodlands, picturesque moorlands and along the reservoir’s glistening waters, Stocks is also celebrated as one of the best places in the country for bird watching; attracting a whole variety of uncommon species throughout the year.

Stocks Reservoir circular walk, Forest of Bowland, water
Keep your eyes peeled – Up to 30 species of wildfowl have been spotted frequenting the waters during winter, along with other uncommon species including Red Throated Divers & Whooper Swans.

Likewise, with several other off-shoot trails available from the reservoir car park, this is a spot that’ll keep you coming again and again since there’s always something new to explore.

Interested in visiting & taking a hike here for yourself? Then let’s get to it 👇👇

Stocks Reservoir Circular Walk

Distance: 10.8-kilometres (6.7 miles)

Time: 2 hour 30 minutes – 3 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Address: Stocks Reservoir Car Park, School Ln, Clitheroe BB7 4TS

Where to park for the Stocks Reservoir walk?

Stocks Reservoir Car Park is the most convenient place to park up and start the walk. Costing just £3 for the whole day, you’ll also get to check out the map beside the paying machine which highlights all the different trails you can take in the near vicinity.

If you’d rather save your loose change however, you could try your luck parking on the bridge along Hole House Lane which you’ll drive over around 500 metres before reaching Stocks Reservoir car park.

Spots here do tend to fill up quickly though, so unless you’re arriving bright & early I wouldn’t bank on it!

Stocks Reservoir, Gisburn Forest, Walk

Stocks Reservoir walk information

Suitable for all walking abilities, this moderate trail around Stock Reservoir is super easy to follow. Simply keep an eye out for the blue marked finger posts throughout the outing.

Leading you along a mixture of stone & grassy paths with a variety of kissing gates and stiles to pass through, you’ll also have to walk by cattle & sheep when traversing the local farmland, so it’s recommended to keep a watchful eye when trekking with a furry companion.

Blue waymarker, Stocks Reservoir circular walk

A trail categorised as being predominantly flat, there are still a couple of short but steep sections worthy of note.

The steep descent just past New House Farm particularly took me by surprise. A sharp gradient taking you down to the narrow footbridge over River Hodder, we were hiking on a frosty day and I rather embarrassingly slipped on my backside twice due to the icy footpath.

This certainly served as a gentle reminder to take care, especially in wet or frosty conditions!

All in all however, the Stocks Reservoir walk isn’t a difficult one and can be finished in under 3 hours at a leisurely pace. Some inexperienced ramblers may feel a tad tired towards the end due to the length of the trail, but for most this won’t pose too much of a challenge.

5 facts you didn’t know about Stocks Reservoir

Fact 1

Stocks is actually the only reservoir on United Utilities’ Bowland Estate & was officially opened by Prince George on 5th July 1932.

Fact 2

When at full capacity, the reservoir holds a staggering 2.5 billion gallons of water; that’s almost the size of 4 Olympic swimming pools!

Fact 3

The forest surrounding Stocks Reservoir is not only pleasing to the eye, but it’s also incredibly useful. The large number of coniferous trees are used for supplying the region with timber, and much of the woodland serves as a vital habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Stocks Reservoir walk in the snow

Fact 4

Located in the Forest of Bowland, many first-time visitors are often surprised by the lack of trees in this vast region! This is because the name is a nod to the area’s history as a medieval royal hunting ground. Back then, ‘forest’ simply referred to hunting rights rather than the modern definition which we commonly use today.

Fact 5

Stocks Reservoir was once the location of a small village named Stocks in Bowland which was submerged beneath the waters in 1932. Long forgotten by most, be sure to visit the gorgeous picnic spot built on the old location of St Mary’s Church during your visit. Located close to the car park and providing breathtaking vistas of the reservoir, there really is no better spot to chow down along the trail!

Is Stocks Reservoir pram friendly?

Unfortunately, all of the stiles & kissing gates along with the often rugged footpath around Stocks Reservoir wouldn’t be much fun with a pram! However, some of the alternate trails heading into Gisburn Forest from the car park could certainly be more feasible with a stroller.

Other Stocks Reservoir walks

During your visit to Stocks Reservoir, be sure to take a good look at the map in the car park which highlights a number of other colour-coded walking routes in the surrounding area.

All accessible on foot from the car park, in my opinion one of the very best hikes here is the Gisburn Forest Waterfall walk.

Gisburn Forest Waterfall, Forest of Bowland
Many hikers are completely unaware this gorgeous cascading fall exists, and you’d easily unknowingly walk right past it if you didn’t know any better.

Interested in seeing it for yourselves? Then discover all you need to know by clicking through to our Gisburn Forest Waterfall Walk Guide!

Forest Of Bowland Walks

Likewise, the Forest of Bowland truly is a rambler’s paradise.

Home to a plethora of spectacular hikes, explore some of the very best in our ‘9 BEST Walks In The Forest Of Bowland’ blog post.

Happy walking 🚶🚶