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Derwent Reservoir (Northumberland)

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Reservoir on the river Derwent in North East England on the border between County Durham and Northumberland.

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      26.01.2010 22:25
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      A great day out for all the family.

      I am lucky in that living in the North East of England as I do, I have some beautiful countryside and coastline right on the doorstep in Northumberland and County Durham.

      Derwent Reservoir is one of the many places I love to visit, particularly during the summer months.


      How To Get There:-
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      Derwent Reservoir is a little over a mile north of Edmundbyers on the B6306 Blanchland road off the A68 which is the main road linking the countryside of County Durham to Northumberland. The reservoir lies north east of the B6278 Consett to Stanhope road and can easily be found following the brown tourist signs.


      Derwent Reservoir - A Little History :-
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      The 1000-acre, three-mile long reservoir lies in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The boundary between Northumberland from Durham runs right through the middle of the lake.
      The reservoir is the second largest in the North East (after Kielder) and has became a popular place to visit since its completion in 1967.
      Fields were dug out to create a reservoir 30 metres deep at its deepest point. The earth removed was used to build the impressive dam and the sand and gravel went into making the concrete.
      The dam holds back the River Derwent and allows the reservoir to fill with 11,000 million gallons of water. It took six years to build, costing 5.5 million pounds.

      During the building the reservoir, farmsteads and cottages as well as an old manor house had to be demolished. In addition two miles of public road were submerged and replaced by a further four miles of new road.

      The reservoir is a key part of the water supply network in North East England. Owned and managed by Northumbrian Water, it is the principal water source for the Tyne and Wear area.
      The south-western area of the reservoir has been managed as a nature reserve since 1967 on account of its breeding birds and wildfowl. Many different species of birds migrate and breed here and the reservoir also has the largest common gull roost in County Durham.


      Visiting Derwent Reservoir & Picnic Areas :-
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      Beginning at the car park at Derwent Reservoir, a shop and public toilets can be found here at Northumbrian Water's fishing lodge.
      From April to November, access is permitted to the shores of the reservoir where there is a path and a number of benches overlooking the water. In the winter months this path is closed to prevent disturbance to roosting birds.
      When I visit Derwent Reservoir, I like to spend a little time here, before driving back out on to the road which runs alongside the reservoir, stopping off at the picnic areas.
      It can get quite windy looking out over the reservoir, but the view is stunning. It always seems so peaceful looking out over the calm waters, which are stocked with mixed trout, making it a popular fishing spot. Tickets for fishing are available from the lodge.

      Although it is popular during summer months, especially on weekends, it does remain a quiet and beautiful place, the call of the birds and wildfowl often the only sounds breaking the silence. Teetering at the water's edge, bobbing up and down, you might find the common sandpiper. These tuneful little birds arrive at the reservoir in the spring and leave again in July and August, with the young following in September.

      Leaving this area and driving a further 2 miles along the A3606 which runs alongside the reservoir will bring you to Pow Hill Country Park, which is an ideal picnic spot as it lies in a secluded small valley giving shelter from the wind.
      It is popular with families having picnics and playing ball games with their children. When my daughters were young they would love running up and down the hills and playing hide and seek.
      Following the pathway up to the reservoir the view of the water is beautiful, but also as you walk up into the open area away from the shelter of the valley it can get quite windy again!

      There is a signposted walk from the car park at Derwent Reservoir to Pow Hill Country Park. The two mile trail is an easy, comfortable walk along a multi-user path suitable for cyclists, walkers, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
      Along the way following this trail and you will spot a number of wildlife gems, with different characters emerging at different times of year. Some of these are shy and dislike human disturbance, but if you are quiet and have a keen eye, you might be rewarded with some special sights.

      Further information along the trail is available at the audio 'U-turn stations'. These hand powered listening posts are operated by winding a handle clockwise to hear more information about the route and anti-clockwise to hear local people talking about the area.

      It takes around an hour waking along the trail to reach Pow Hill Country Park.
      The postcode for Pow Hill Country Park for your Sat Nav is DH8 9ND.

      Back out on to the road again, you will come to Carricks Picnic Area, which lies near the head of the reservoir. The River Derwent runs through the picnic area, making it popular with children who like to paddle and play in the water at its shallow edges. This was my daughters' favourite place out of the two picnic areas because of the river, as they loved to paddle and play in the water.
      These days, I still like to stick my toes in the river on a warm day and I also enjoy taking a walk along the pathway which begins here and follows the River Derwent to Blanchland.

      This is a lovely walk which takes you through woodland, following the river. Many people prefer to walk just a little way and find secluded spots to have their picnic and paddle (or swim!) in the river, whilst more serious walkers follow the footpath all the way to the village of Blanchland.

      The postcode for Carricks Picnic Area for your Sat Nav is DH8 9NL.

      If visiting Derwent Reservoir I strongly recommend you take the time to visit both the reservoir and picnic areas. It is a great way to spend a family day out in the summer with a picnic, and with free parking available it is also a cheap day out that your children will enjoy without breaking the bank!

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