For over 130 years there has been a reservoir tucked away near Baystone Bank Farm in the Whicham Valley. 30 years ago it seemed to be a rather cold looking place, seen on Sunday afternoon walks. It was a relatively small reservoir built in the 1870s to supply the town of Millom. Now smaller supply reservoirs like this are being taken out of use (this one in the 1990s) in favour of a more integrated supply system, leaving the question of what to do next. In the case of Baystone Bank reservoir the solution has been complete removal. This imposed lake has given way to a greening valley with a rocky upland beck (or stream) being put back to something resembling its original form, apparently based on the 1860s Ordnance Survey map showing the valley prior to the construction. The work was only completed last year but already it’s looking remarkably more natural.
The walk up past the farm took in views down the Whicham Valley with a steadily decreasing cloud cap on Black Combe. The afternoon sun brought out the butterflies. Green-veined whites were common over the rushy pastures while gatekeepers favoured the warm lane verges. At the old reservoir itself a hawker quartered its territory on a stretch of restored beck.