Strinesdale and Waterhead

23rd December 2012.

This section of the walk picks up from Cairo and Majestic Mills near the Huddersfield Road in Oldham. Aptly named ‘Waterhead’ is the local area for two reservoirs and a water treatment plant. It is owned an managed by United Utilities. The site around Strinesdale was landscaped in the 1990s when the drinking water reservoirs were decommissioned. It is now a nature reserve. The upper reservoir is particularly lovely and leads up into the meandering valley of the Medlock to Roebuck Lane.

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Upper Strinesdale reservoir…

Strinesdale is an area of water and woodland covering approximately 40 acres (162,000 m²). In 1991, the reservoirs were drained and replaced by two smaller lakes with the old reservoir sites being planted with trees and grassland. The original reservoirs were built in 1828 and the erected plaque can be seen at Upper Strinesdale.

Strinesdale derives its name from the Old English “Strine” meaning boundary in connotation to the old Lancashire/Yorkshire boundary that ran through the middle of the site.
A flood struck Oldham on July 11 causing major damage across the area.

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Medlock emerges from bridge at Roebuck Lane. Not far beyond here is the source of the Medlock.



Turning round and returning along the tracks on the east side of the reservoirs. There are many solid, yet rusting, signs of the industrial heritage.

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Back to the Huddersfield Road. The Waterhead Academy website says:

Our Academy opened in September 2010 and embodies the coming together of our two predecessor schools at Breeze Hill and Counthill, which were founded in 1960 and 1951 respectively.
Our Academy’s twin specialisms are English and Creative Technologies, each of which gives special impetus to our students’ ability to succeed in every area of the curriculum.
Our Academy embraces two Campuses: our Main Campus on Huddersfield Road and our Sports Campus on Counthill Road.
Our Main Campus is built on the site of a former spinning Mill and on the boundary line which separates the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. One of the original boundary stones has been retained and is set within the wall at the Academy Entrance.

The Academy was built on the site of Orb Mill (demolished in 2004)

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Link to some interesting UrbEx exploration of the culverts under and around this area: Majestic Culverts

Link to United Utilities wiki