East of the M60 on Saddleworth’s new park and ride service
This last weekend saw the introduction of DS1, Saddleworth’s new park and ride service linking Uppermill and Greenfield with Dovestone Reservoir. Luckily, its debut was blessed with good weather. I took advantage of this on Sunday, seeing it as an opportunity to explore Chew Valley and the reservoirs.
From Chez Vallantine, one JPT Travel bus (and a bacon, sausage and egg muffin from The Chilli Tree) later, I boarded the 353 to Greenfield, changing at the railway station for my DS1. I was the only one on board, but met up with a former fellow school pupil, who has worked for First Manchester for several years. The Optare Solo made light work of Chew Valley Road, like its fellows do along the 354 route. Its biggest challenge was manoeuvring into the car park at Dovestone Reservoir (a proper bus turnaround by the car park wouldn’t be a bad idea). The bus stop is shared with a motorcycle park and a parking meter and lacks both a clearway and a shelter.
On leaving the terminus I made my way to the reservoir via the sandwich kiosk, then got my camera and monopod ready. Though the weather was far from ideal for walking, I decided to walk the two and a half miles up Chew Road to Chew Reservoir. One hour and five minutes later (including a five minute sit down three quarters way), I was presented with a most amazing view of Chew Reservoir. For the first time, I saw the very location where my drinking water came from. After my walk, I quite rightly took a few pictures of Chew Reservoir, one of which seen at the top of this article.
Twenty minutes later, I walked down Chew Road. Instead of returning to the car park, I thought of walking around Dovestone Reservoir. From there I got a glimpse of Yeoman Hey at its most southern end. The perimeter of Dovestone reservoir was punctuated by dog walkers and families, some of which who may be occasional walkers. Foolishly, there were almost a dozen paddling in the reservoir and Chew Brook.
Six miles, one bottle of water, trip to the little boy’s room and a 99 cornet later, I awaited my return journey. Arriving 10 minutes late (Sunday afternoon traffic caused by retaining wall works), I decided to do the full journey up to its terminus (Saddleworth Pool and Tennis Courts). Four people boarded its last southbound journey of the day. From there I headed for the Hare and Hounds for a quick pint of Barnsley Bitter (£2.50, 3.8% ABV) and waited for the 353 to Ashton, where I would change for the 346.
As well as calling at Greenfield railway station and The Clarence, there are additional stops outside Greenfield Conservative Club and the Hare and Hounds, Uppermill. At 30p each way, the single fare is a steal compared with the equivalent fare aboard First’s 350/354 routes. The children’s fare is 15p with free travel available for concessionary pass holders. Unfortunately, System One passes are not valid on the DS1.
Let’s hope for the sake of First Manchester’s Dukinfield depot (who will be running the DS1) and Saddleworth Parish Council (who will be subsidising the route) that the DS1 is a bigger success than last year. For exploring the Chew Valley, Dovestone and Birchen Clough, the DS1 is the best car-free way of visiting Greater Manchester’s (or the West Riding of Yorkshire’s) chunk of the Peak National Park.
Stuart Vallantine visited Dovestone reservoir and Chew Reservoir by means of the 218, 353 and 346 buses as well as the DS1 route. To explore this part of the Pennines on public transport requires either a System One Bus DaySaver (£4.80, all operators in Greater Manchester), or a FirstDay ticket (£4.20, all First Manchester buses), or a System One Bus and Train DaySaver (£5.80, all buses and trains within Greater Manchester).
Recommended Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer Map, OL1: Peak District (including the Dark Peak).
S.V., 07 July 2011.