Questers sought to venture forth and save a local reservoir from an evil toad!

Posted: 10.04.13

Everyone is invited to join the Castleshaw Quest, which has everything: playful characters, all named after local villages; a trail to follow, with carved quest markers along the way; and lots of scope for the imagination. Devised by Ann Gilligan, of Green Monster Arts, working with primary school children and local residents, the quest follows a route around United Utilities’ Castleshaw Reservoir.

“Why not follow in the footsteps of Lyd the Airy Fairy, Del the tree elf, Digg the dwarf and Spring the water sprite, to try to save the reservoir from Grott the evil toad and his accomplice Cross Dob the troll?” invited Ann. “From the first carved stone marker in Castleshaw Reservoir car park questers can seek out the help of Upp the unicorn, Frieze the wise water nymph and Densh the dragon, who is the guardian of Saddleworth.

“It’s a journey, not just around Castleshaw Reservoir, but also into the imagination because this story came from the imaginations of children,” explained Ann. “During a Diggle Primary School field trip to the reservoir we came up with this story. I’ve also worked with local residents, through a workshop at Saddleworth Museum, where we designed the block prints to illustrate the story and carved stones for the path.”

The Castleshaw Quest is part of a larger project in the Castleshaw Valley developed in partnership by United Utilities and Oldham Council as part of the award winning Watershed Landscape project which is managed by Pennine Prospects.

Morgana Restall, area ranger with United Utilities said: “This has been an excellent project involving all sections of the community as well as helping to deliver the company’s corporate commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment.”

As part of the work a car park, which is the starting point for the Quest and an ideal place to park to visit Castleshaw Roman Fort, has been upgraded, work has been completed on footpaths and gates have replaced styles to improve access to the site for all. It is also the starting point of the Castleshaw Valley Reservoir Trail and is situated only a mile from Brownhills Visitor Centre.

Funding for the Watershed Landscape project is provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the South Pennines LEADER programme (the Rural Development Programme for England), which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and managed by Pennine Prospects. The project recently won the prestigious UK Landscape Award and will now go forward to represent the UK in the European Landscape Awards 2013.

For further information on the work of the Watershed Landscape project, to download a copy of the Castleshaw Quest, and to find out more about the Reservoir Trails please visit the Watershed Landscape website.

You can preview the trail with this video by Tracy Howarth.

Photograph: The dragon stone, with Castleshaw Lower Reservoir in the background, by Ann Gilligan

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust