Places to walk in Bolton – Jumbles Reservoir

by Russ on November 5, 2012

Listen out for the high-pitched 'chip' call of the woodpecker in woods along Bradshaw Brook.Last time we looked at Seven Acres Country Park. Another brilliant place to go walking in Bolton that offers many different views and lots of wildlife is Jumbles Reservoir.

Found just outside North Bolton along Bradshaw Road (BL2 4JP) the Jumbles is the third in a chain of large reservoirs.  After the area became an important textiles production site in the 1800s, two large reservoirs (Entwhistle and Wayoh) were created along the Bradshaw Brook valley to ensure a constant source of water for the industry. Eventually these both became important sources of drinking water insetad (as they are today), meaning there was a requirement for a further water source for remaining industry. The result was a smaller reservoir to the South – the Jumbles Reservoir which was opened in 1973.

The start of the Jumbles walk takes you through mixed deciduous woodland with many small birds jumping through the branches.Starting at the visitor centre car park (requires a small amount of money to park) you can walk in either direction around the Jumbles. Heading left you’ll walk through thick deciduous forests of Ash, Oak and Horse Chestnut. Part way through this forest, you’ll happen across the Kingfisher Trail which will actually lead you directly to Seven Acres Country Park, if you fancy a good day walking. Back on the main path, the Bradshaw Brook flows just ahead and offers brilliant views of mother nature and the engineering work that holds the reservoir in place. Watch out for the elusive dipper along the brook and listen out for the high-pitched ‘chip’ of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. On the other side of the Brook is a mixture of open meadow and woodland thickets. Thrushes, jaws and long-tailed tits are common place here at this time of year whereas in the spring-time an abundance of wildflowers are one of the most spectacular wildlife events. Come back at dusk and you may be lucky enough to see bats, deer and red foxes.

Just one leaf can have over a dozen spangle galls. The galls can also be seen right across the forest floor.When you’re walking through the woods, don’t forget to look at the dead leaves on the forest floor as some of these many have Spangled Galls on them, which are a type of cocoon made by a small wasps. The gall protects the larvae from the cold whilst simultaneously providing it with it’s food source. There are many hundreds of different gall types, each belonging to a different wasp species. Some wasp species also create galls from the flowers of trees.

The waters of the Jumbles hosts ducks, geese, gulls and grebes!Continuing along the path you will pass through a stables and the Jumbles Sailing Club. Beyond this point you can get water-side views of the reservoir itself. Check the floating buoys on the surface for resting Black-Backed Gulls and Cormorants. It’s also a good idea to stop and look for a while when at the waters edge as you can often see Great Crested Grebes diving below the water, but you may need to be patient to spot them.

The Jelly Ear grows on dead/ dying trees and literally looks and feels like a human ear!On the other side of the bridge at the far end of the reservoir is a gentle, relaxing trail along the water’s edge. It runs parallel to protected wildlife areas and many species of bird, mammal and fungi can be found in the woods here including blackbirds, squirrels and jelly ear fungus.

Finishing back at the visitor centre, you’ll feel relaxed and invigorated by the fresh air and reliably easy-going paths. The Jumbles is a great day out for the whole family offering excellent wildlife and nature views, an insight into local history as well as a cup of tea to finish it all off.

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