CyclistsWe own and manage over 55,000 hectares of land around our reservoirs, covering some of the most vibrant and diverse natural environments in England. We strive to achieve a balance between encouraging public access and protecting water quality, wildlife and habitats.

Recent initiatives to improve our catchment land, protect wildlife, and allow the public to enjoy our sites in safety include:

Interactive map: our handy interactive map provides information about our recreation areas and some of the many activities on offer.

Improving Macclesfield Forest: we carry out lots of work to improve access to our land. In Macclesfield Forest, we’ve been busy resurfacing bridleways and footpaths, using around 1,000 tonnes of locally quarried stone, and local contractors. The investment means that visitors are no longer greeted by muddy, unwelcoming footpaths when entering the forest.

We set up the Rivington Heritage Trust in 1997 to champion the future of the Rivington Terraced Gardens.  The gardens, near Rivington Pike in Lancashire, were designed in the 1920s for the soap magnate Lord Leverhulme. In their heyday, the dramatic series of themed, hillside gardens were a jaw-dropping sight.  The once spectacular gardens gradually fell into disrepair. To find out how we are working to help restore the gardens read our case study.

Black sailYouth Hostel revamp: working with the Youth Hostel Association and other bodies we supported the £325,000 redevelopment of the Black Sail Youth Hostel on our Ennerdale catchment. The remote Black Sail hostel is only accessible by foot or bike.

Reservoir safety campaign: although we actively encourage people to enjoy our sites, we want them to do so safely. Every year, particularly during summer, young people are often tempted to swim in our reservoirs – an action which can have tragic consequences.

In 2011, 405 people died whilst swimming in reservoirs across the country. Drowning is also the third most common cause of accidental death among young people under 16 years of age.

We have an on-going campaign to educate people of the dangers of swimming in reservoirs. The campaign, which is unashamedly hard-hitting, uses video, school talks, and partnerships with other stakeholders, including the fire service, to reach thousands of young people every year.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews