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Grassholme Reservoir

Hector C. Parr

Click picture to enlarge

Of the five reservoirs, Grassholme has the most fully developed facilities for visitors. From the village of Mickleton follow the road towards Kelton, and in about one mile you will reach the eastern end of the reservoir, where you will find a large car park, and Northumbrian Water's Visitor Centre. A tea room is open at weekends and bank holidays, selling a variety of hot and cold food. There are facilities for disabled visitors, including an extensive concrete shoreline platform. To contact the Visitor Centre, phone 01833 641121.

Two miles further along the road you reach cross roads. Turning right will take you down to Grassholme Bridge, another favourite spot for some anglers. Alternatively, if you drive (or, better, walk) straight on you will pass the extensive nature reserve on your right, with the entrance to the bird hide almost at the end of the road.


The reservoir is regularly stocked with trout, and the season extends from 22nd March to 30th September for Brown Trout, and from 22nd March to 31st October for Rainbow Trout. Only bank fishing is permitted, with a daily bag limit of 8 fish, minimum size 23 cm (9"). Permits may be obtained from the machine at the Visitor Centre.


Teesdale Sailing Club has its clubhouse close to the Grassholme Visitor Centre, offering changing rooms, kitchen area, clubroom and boat park. On the water the club provides full rescue boat facilities on Sundays, and there are three club boats available for use by members at a small charge. Racing takes place on Sundays throughout the season. Friendly help and advice are always available for those new to sailing.


Nature Reserve
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Black-headed Gull
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This nature reserve is one of Northumbrian Water's most successful. From the bird-hide visitors can observe a vast number of birds nesting on the marshes. The reserve is recognised as a Site of Particular Interest. Snipe
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A colony of about 900 breeding pairs of black-headed gulls nest not far from the hide, while a smaller colony of jackdaws nests in disused rabbit burrows close to the bridge. At different times of year you may see also wigeon, snipe, oystercatcher and lapwing. Mammals inhabiting the reserve include rabbit, water vole and short-tailed vole, while shallows at the water's edge encourage the common toad to breed.
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Old bridge
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During the long drought of 2003 the water in the reservoir receded so far from the bird-hide that hardly a bird could be seen or heard. The only compensation was that the long-forgotten bridge which had been submerged when the reservoir was formed became visible once again. This photograph shows the remains of the old bridge seen through an arch of the new one.

(c) Hector C. Parr (2003)

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