Dovestone - high-level review set to consider a weekend of frustration and anger

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 11 January 2021

A high-level review is to be held after a weekend of frustration and anger when hundreds of motorists ignored the government’s appeal to stay at home and invaded a controversial beauty spot.

The trips to Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield were seen as a sounding board to a much wider picture of confusion and disregard for rules surrounding the first weekend of a nationwide lockdown.

Critics say Dovestone is constantly featured as a must-visit beauty spot which had tempted motorists from across the north west to break the lockdown and make the journey.

On Saturday and Sunday the car park, manned by a team of Dovestone marshals, was full within in an hour of opening and despite biting cold and icy conditions, the nearby A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth was packed with visitors parking illegally.

Earlier, United Utilities had underlined the Government’s warning NOT to travel to their sites - including beleaguered Dovestone.

A spokesperson said: “The message from Government is that people should not be travelling to exercise and we are reiterating that at all of our sites, including Dovestone.  

“We're also reminding visitors they need to observe social distancing, stay in their household bubbles and observe the countryside code.  

“We'll be reviewing the situation again over Dovestone after the weekend.”

The marshals have been involved on site at weekends diligently supervising traffic since last year.

Superintendent Andrew Sidebotham, leading GMP's response to Covid-19, said: "Officers continue to police using the four Es approach - engage, explain, encourage, enforce - and will patrol hotspot areas where the public report large or repeated breaches of regulations.

"I  urge the public to think before travelling and ask those who can to stay local if possible.

"Certain places of beauty and areas can get extremely busy, making social distancing difficult and a high number of people in on area increases the rate at which the virus can spread.

"Protect yourself, your loved ones and the NHS by staying at home if possible."

There was a tragic spinoff to the weekend drama with a respected third generation farming family losing two ewes from their 200-strong lamb flock after they had eaten poisonous plants.

Said Claire Crowther: “We had to cut fences to get into our sheep. 

"It was absolutely horrendous.

"The two ewes died by eating rhododendrons because we couldn't get fodder to them fast enough. 

“If this continues we will lose more, hence we will have to start very early morning again.

"But when we feed in the dark we cannot see if any ewes need help or not.”

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.