Hollingworth Lake

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Trips & Adventures – 19 April 2018

We caught the train at Victoria to Smithy Bridge and walked to Hollingworth Lake where our first stop (as usual) was the cafe. Most of us opted for the Senior Citizen’s Special – fish, chips, bread and butter with a drink and followed by ice cream.

Hollingworth Lake as seen from the north shore

Hollingworth Lake is a 130-acre reservoir at Smithy Bridge, in Littleborough — part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, and we decided to walk off our lunch by walking round the lake, a distance of 4kms (or 2.5 miles in old money). Half way round we found the Pavilion, and as it was such a hot day we couldn’t resist having another ice cream!

The lake was originally built as the main water source for the Rochdale Canal, but developed as a tourist resort from the 1860s, and became known as the Weighver’s Seaport. Hotels were built around it, at least two had outdoor dancing stages with gas lighting. Tourism was helped by the arrival of the railway in 1839, which brought day-trippers and weekend visitors from Manchester, Bradford & Leeds.

The lake was used for training by Captain Matthew Webb, before he became the first man to swim the English Channel in 1875, and was used for the “World Professional Mile Championship”, a long-distance swimming event, in the 1880s. It is home to the Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club, which has been in continuous existence since 1872.

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