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Stocks Reservoir

OS Grid ref:- SD 725 555

Stocks ReservoirStocks Reservoir lies at the head of the attractive Hodder valley in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The reservoir, a popular location on the edge of Gisburn Forest, has a fly fishing club, the largest fly fishery in the North West of England and a small cafe, much favoured by walkers in the area.

The reservoir was constructed by the Fylde Water Board in 1932 when the Dalehead valley and the surrounding farmland was flooded. The reservoir acquired its name from the flooded hamlet of Stocks-in-Bowland, in the Dalehead valley.

Stocks Reservoir covers an area of approximately 340 acres and is 6.2 miles around at top water level. The reservoir attracts wildfowl and waders including Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Canada Geese.

The Board House, situated on the western shores of the reservoir, near the Hodder Water Treatment Works, is used for meetings by United Utilities.

The Lost village of Stocks in Bowland

The village of Stocks in Bowland was submerged beneath Stocks Reservoir in 1932.

Stocks in Bowland ChurchThe village was first recorded in 1234, when it was little more than a handful of farms. By 1900, it consisted of three cottages, a smithy and an inn, the Traveller's Rest, formerly known as the New Inn. The church, vicarage and school stood a little apart from the centre of the village.

In the years prior to the First World War, the Fylde Water Board purchased land and farms in the three townships of Easington, Bowland Forest Higher Division and Gisburn Forest to provide a water catchment area. A dam was then built across the River Hodder and 344 acres of the valley were flooded by March 1933 to form Stocks Reservoir.

The school, church and vicarage, stood a little above the reservoir limits, these buildings and many of the Dalehead farms were within the water catchment area of the reservoir and were demolished to preserve the purity of the water.

The tiny St. James Church, known as Dalehead Chapel, which dated to 1852, stood by the present car park at Stocks Reservoir. A new chapel was built beyond the catchment area, which incorporated masonry and fittings from the original building.

The remains of the church have recently been excavated, uncovering the walls of the entire nave, chancel and porch and preserved as a lasting memorial to the hamlet. Working in partnership with Slaidburn Archive, the project has been funded by United Utilities, with additional funding from the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The vicarage, built in 1874-5, was demolished in the 1930's. The stone was used in the construction of the present Board House at Stocks Reservoir. The area is now used as a picnic site.

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