The reservoir is owned by Severn Trent Water and takes water from the river Amber. It now supplies water for the local area and is a holding ground for water from Carsington Reservoir near Ashbourne. It covers an area of 200 acres and holds 1.3 million gallons.
Although a haven for wildlife and recreation today, its construction in 1958 caused heartache amongst the population of Woolley. There were houses, shops, a Hydro/hotel, a stone mill, blacksmith’s shop and Napoleon’s Home Public House, all sacrificed during the construction.
Part of the line of the closed Ashover Light Railway was submerged by creation of the reservoir. The railway was officially opened in 1925 to carry stone from the Ashover Quarries to Clay Cross for the Clay Cross Company. It also provided a public passenger service. The four original steam engines were bought from the war disposals board at a cost of £1000 and were named Hummy, Guy, Joan and Peggy after the children of General Jackson of the Clay Cross Company. The railway closed in 1950.
Along the road
The drystone wall which separates the bankside from the road is built using stone from the old cottages of the original village of Woolley (dismantled when the reservoir was built).
To the right, as you walk along the road, you may be able to see a large heronry where, in some years twenty or so nests are occupied high in the swaying trees.
Near this woodland is also the site of the former Turbutt family picnic ground, as before the reservoir was constructed this was the route of the main drive from Ogston Hall.
Imagine the family travelling from Ogston Hall along the drive in their carriage.
Continue along the road until you reach Brackenfield Church. Turn left into Butterfield Lane where you will find QR plaque 10 on a footpath signpost on your right, opposite the church door.