Hollingworth Lake : Greater Manchester

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Go Outside, Greater Manchester, Walking

Route Information

An out-and-return circular walk

Route Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 9.16 km (5.69 miles)

Route Elevation: 169 m

Route Time: 4-7 hrs

Start and Finish: Hollingworth Lake Country Park Car Park, Rakewood Road, Littleborough, Greater Manchester, OL15 0AQ

Depending on the featured walk and especially in mountainous areas, you may need to Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in to your own pace.


There are toilets and a cafe at the visitors centre as well as various pubs and cafes around the lake.


Very few hazards along this route, although there is a steep climb for a few hundred metres on the path that takes you over the M62.

The Urban Ranger Website cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent, and to be able to read a map and use a compass. Plan your route properly with the latest advice from the AdventureSmart website

Public Transport

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Weather Forecast

Hollingworth Lake Weather


Hollingworth Lake is located between Smithy Bridge & Littleborough, and is one of the major attractions in the area and especially during the summer months. Most people like a leisurely stroll or a run around the lake, given its accessible for all surfaces. What most people do not know is that there is an extended walk which will take you out into the countryside, and then back through beautiful woodland in a circular loop.

This a great walk for those that like to walk a little further and get a different perspective of one of the most famous visitor attractions in Greater Manchester.

There are many attractions around Hollingworth Lake including many cafes and restaurants that are open all the year round. There are amusement arcades and ice cream stalls and a very good fish and chip shop.

Starting off from the country park visitor’s centre where there is parking and a cafe at reasonable prices. You can also park on the Beach Pub car park but that is a little more expensive. The walk will take you around the lake and then under the M62 motorway bridge, then above the M62 and down through Whittaker Golf Club. You will then head down through Whittaker Wood before taking some nice winding country lanes leading you back towards the visitors centre.

Hollingworth Lake is a 130-acre reservoir at Smithy Bridge, in Littleborough and part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester. 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 of which 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 as far as Manchester, Bradford and Leeds.

The popularity of the lake as a resort declined in the early twentieth century, and the area was used as an army camp during the First World War. The canal company sold the reservoir, with seven others, to the Oldham and Rochdale Corporations for water supply in 1923, by which time the canal was in terminal decline.

After the Second World War, boating rights were bought by Rochdale Council, who developed the area into the Hollingworth Lake Country Park in 1974. There has been a steady increase in facilities since, and it is now a thriving centre for water sports and other activities.

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