OS Grid ref:- SD562543
The small, picturesque village of Abbeystead is situated on the upper reaches of the River Wyre and lies in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The name derives from 'the site of the Abbey' in reference to a house of Cistercian monks which existed in the area in the reign of the first Plantagenet king, Henry II. It was said to have been sited just below the junction of the Marshaw Wyre and the Tarnbrook Wyre, on the north side of the Abbeystead Reservoir.
The chapel to the west of Abbeystead dates back to the fourteenth century. The village church was rebuilt in 1733, with a spire and new chancel added during restoration in 1894.
The Jubilee Tower (OS grid ref- SD5457) on High Cross Moor is a square tower with stone steps leading to the top and was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee by by James Harrison of Hare Appletree. The tower provides panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and coast. To the west, Lancaster, the Lancashire coast, the Irish Sea, Morecambe Bay and the Lake District are visible. Looking east the view encompasses the moorlands of the Trough of Bowland.
Abbeystead House (pictured right) was constructed in the Elizabethan style in 1886, by John Douglas and Daniel Fordham and was designed as a shooting lodge for the 4th Earl of Sefton. King George V was once a guest. In 1980 the house and the Abbeystead Estate, which totals 18,000 acres was purchased by the Duke of Westminster.
Douglas and Fordham also designed two lodges for the estate, Lancaster Lodge is situated at the head of the drive leading to the house. It is built in Elizabethan style and is a Grade II listed building. York Lodge lies around half a mile to the east on the road to the village of Dunsop Bridge.
Abbeystead Reservoir was built in 1855 by the Corporation of Lancaster and engineered by James Mansergh, it was completed in 1881 and was intended to supply mills lower down the River Wyre in the dry season. Although the reservoir is no longer in service it still features an attractive curved overflow weir visible from the footpath.
The Abbeystead Disaster which occured on the evening of 23rd May 1984, when 44 visitors from St Michael's-on-Wyre came to see the massive water scheme known as the Lancaster Conjunctive Use Scheme. While they were in the pump house an explosion occurred which killed 16 people, while many others suffered severe burns. Methane gas collecting in the tunnel is believed to have been the cause of the tragedy.
Nearby Places of Interest
Whalley Abbey- founded by Henry de Lacy, third Earl of Lincoln on the 4th April 1296.
Lancaster Castle- founded in the tenth century
Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, Lancaster was commissioned by James Williamson, Baron Ashton as a tribute to his second wife, Jenny and was built between 1907 and 1909.
Clitheroe Castle -Norman castle keep and museum, said to be one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire, and one of the smallest keeps in England