A landscape that will take your breath away. Towering hills, sheer rock faces, swathes of open moorland, a picturesque reservoir – that’s Dove Stone, the northern gateway to the Peak District National Park.
Walking, climbing, running, playing, cycling and even sailing. If you’re into adrenalin-pumping activity or simply want to chill out surrounded by amazing wildlife, streams, waterfalls and woodland, then Dove Stone is a must.
At this stunning site, we’re working with United Utilities to bring benefits for people, water and wildlife.
Open at all times.
Entrance to the reserve is free. Parking is free for RSPB members, but there is a parking charge for non-members.
Information for families
There are lots of natural areas to play and explore, but no formal facilities. Some events will include family activities like quizzes or trails.
Information for dog owners
Dogs are allowed anywhere. We would request that they are kept on a lead, as most of the reserve comprises of working sheep farms.
Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.
Curlews are large, brown wading birds with very long, curved bills. In spring, you can hear their gorgeous, ‘bubbling’ song.
In their breeding plumage, golden plovers look very smart with black undersides and spangled golden backs.
Keep an eye out for a commotion among birds – a peregrine may be making a fly past. They are a regular sight overhead when a pair is nesting in the area.
You can see ravens’ plummeting display flights from late winter, through the spring and hear their gruff, ringing ‘kronk’ calls throughout the year here.
Listen out for sharp ‘go back, go back’ of the red grouse, or watch them flying across the heather.
Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds – some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.
See ravens and peregrine squabbling on the quarry cliffs. Curlews and lapwings breed on the in-bye fields, wheatears and ring ouzels on the moorland edge with golden plovers on the open moor. Dunlins may also make an appearance.
Canada geese love to breed on the open moor. Dippers race up and down the brooks and streams, and keep an eye out for water voles on the moorland streams.
Watch out for meadow pipits, fieldfares and redwings moving through. You could also see siskins and lesser redpolls.
Look for mountain hares turning white and red grouse scratching out a living amongst the heather. Mallards don’t seem to mind what the weather is like and stay put.
•Car park : Parking is pay-and-display and costs 60 p for two hours or £1.30 all day. No height restriction and there’ll be bike racks soon.
•Guided walks available
•Good for walking
How to get here
Greenfield Station near Oldham – outside the station, turn right, walk down the hill following main road (A669), follow sharp left bend, pass Tesco on the left and continue to mini-roundabout with pub on corner. Turn left up Holmfirth Road (A635). Turn right at brown sign for Dove Stone reservoir.
To get to Dove Stone, go through Greenfield village on the A669 towards Holmfirth. At the mini roundabout, turn left up the hill on Holmfirth Road A635. After 500 m, turn right onto Bank Lane. There’s a brown signpost for Dove Stone reservoir. Crowden car park is off the A628 Woodhead Road in the Longdendale Valley.
11 February 2013
Before you visit
•Open all year
•Free, apart from car parking charges
•No RSPB visitor centre, café, shop or office but regular RSPB presence on site
•Car park and toilets open from 7 am to 10 pm, April to October; from 7 am to 7 pm, November to March
•Registered assistance dogs and other dogs (on leads from March to July) welcome.
How to get here
•Directions on RSPB website
•Main car park just outside Greenfield. 117 spaces plus four Blue Badge bays
•Smaller RSPB car park at Binn Green, off the A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth road. 18 spaces plus three Blue Badge bays
•Charge for both. 60p for three hours or £1.80 for the day. Free to Blue Badge holders and RSPB members.
•No height restrictions.
•Main visitor trail part tarmac, part gravel surfaced 2.5 mile (4 km) circular route around Dove Stone Reservoir. Fairly level but steep in two places. Radar keys are required to access stock gates. Starts about 50m from the Blue Badge bays in main car park
•Wooden benches (most with backs and some with arms) at fairly regular intervals along path
•1.5 mile (2 km) trail around adjacent Yeoman Hey Reservoir. Rough, undulating grassy track and can be muddy
•Part Tarmac/part gravel steep track up to Chew Reservoir, 1.5 miles (2.5 km)
•Access to reservoirs and woodland trails from RSPB car park down a 1.5 mile (2.5 km) steep woodland track with steps and narrow stone stile
•Several informal woodland trails as well as large areas of open access countryside.
•Viewpoint at Binn Green car park up short, wide, surfaced track
•Woodland bird feeding zone in both car parks.
•A formal picnic area at Ashway Gap half way round main Dove Stone trail
•Five picnic tables and benches, including two accessible tables
•Wooden benches in main car park and Log benches at Binn Green. No tables at either.
•Hot food and ice cream van in main car park in good weather
•Variety of pubs and cafes in nearby Greenfield, Mossley and Uppermill.
•Main car park (managed by Oldham Council). Accessible toilet for use with RADAR key and unisex facilities
•Binn Green car park – male and female accessible composting toilets. No RADAR key required
•No baby changing at either.
•Plans to improve the gravel surfaces around the site to make them easier for wheelchair access
•Plans to provide way marker signage for the main trails.
For more information
We all know that the wild, moorland landscape above Dove Stones is breathtakingly beautiful. But did you know that it is incredibly important to both wildlife and people?
These moorlands supply the water that comes out of our taps.
If the moorland is badly managed, regularly burned, or overgrazed by sheep, it exposes the bare peat. The peat is then easily washed away by rain and gets into the streams, turning the water brown, the colour of stewed tea!
But, if we manage the moorlands well and protect the peat by growing sphagnum mosses, bilberry and heather, then the colour of the water is much improved.
On your walks, watch the skies for thrilling aerial displays from the fastest bird in the world – the peregrine
The peat has taken more than 5,000 years to develop. It is made up of dead sphagnum mosses and has locked up thousands of tonnes of carbon.
If the peat loses its cover of vegetation, the carbon is released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and climate change.
However, if we can ensure the continued growth of the mosses that form the peat, not only can we reduce the losses, but the bogs can actually soak up additional carbon from the atmosphere, helping buffer both ourselves and wildlife from the effects of a warming climate.
The Dove Stones moors are a special place for wildlife. On your walks, watch the skies for thrilling aerial displays from the fastest bird in the world – the peregrine.
In winter, you might be lucky enough to see snow-white mountain hares racing across the plateau; while spring signals the return of the moorland dawn chorus, with bubbling calls of curlews and the plaintive whistle of a golden plover.
The streams feeding into the reservoir are not only a great place for a paddle, they are also home to endangered creatures like water voles (Ratty from Wind in the Willows) and the delightful dipper. Did you know they keep their eyes open underwater as they search for insects to eat?
So you see, Dove Stone is a wonderful place for people, water and wildlife. We want to keep it that way – will you help us?
Community, youth and education
Access to Nature is a community, youth and education project with both on-site events and outreach sessions. The project is funded by Natural England, through Access to Nature, as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme.
What we offer
Keep an eye on the events pages for a wide range of activities and guided walks. For schools and groups we offer tailor made sessions and bespoke training for teachers and leaders with RSPB staff and other experts.
Conservation, wildlife, art, photography, drama, storytelling, debates, walks and skills training are just some of the things the project has provided so far.
Community Engagement Officer
07825 022 636
Geoff de Boer
Tel: 01457 819 884 / 07801 135 106
Tel: 01457 819880
Where is it?
Postcode: OL3 7NE
Grid reference: SE013036
Nearest town: Mossley, Greater Manchester
County: Greater Manchester