In the shadow of the scarred hills surrounding it, sits Cowm Reservoir.  Built in the late 1860s, Cowm was built to supplement the water supply of the ever growing population of Rochdale. The reservoir opened its pipes in 1877 with the lose of approximately 26 homes and farms. Several ruins still remain on the outskirts of the water, including the area know as Cowclough. Cowm from cloughA single hamlet split into 2 parts, Near Cowclough and Far Cowclough. This was the home of upto 52 people, Mostly quarry workers, but I have been told a party of Nuns lived there for a while. By 1928 all had moved away, and all that now remains is ruins.

After this the only place that remained inhabited was Back Cowm Farm, occupied by the Parker family until 1950, this farm is now also a ruin.Bench sign behind cowm whitworth rochdale

Cowm reservoir “retired” as a source of water in 1975, after a tyre fire in the valley of stone polluted the water and made it an usable commodity.

Cowm was dead, or so you would think.


In the 1980s the first water-ski center opened and continues to attract visitors. Where else can you enjoy the water whilst surrounded by such stunning scenery. For more info visit

Above Cowm Whitworth Rochdale

Cowm has also become a haven for many wild species to inhabit. The water is always alive with several types of waterfowl, with ducks, Geese and Swans all huddled together in Duck Corner (that’s what I call it) and black-headed Gulls and Goo-sanders (winter) making up the melee.On the post

But the wildlife isnt just about the water, if you are lucky you may catch sight of a Roe deer or the unmistakable sound of a green woodpecker. If you are really lucky you may even get a glimpse of a Peregrine falcon circling for prey.


If water skiing or wildlife are not your thing, then I’m sure you would be hard pressed to find a better place to walk your dog.

If you would like to see more images from the Cowm area please visit my Art Store