Porth Reservoir and Colan church circular walk

Porth Reservoir and Colan church

The footbridge between 17 and 18 is missing some boards and others are starting to fail so take extra care here until these are replaced.

A circular walk through the wildlife reserve around the reservoir lake, past crumbling ruins of Fir Hill Manor and via farmland, a mill and wooded vales that were also once part of the great estate.

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The app guides you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
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The walk route is described with detailed, regularly-updated, hand-written directions.
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Each time there is a new direction to follow, the app will beep to remind you, and will warn you if you go off-route.
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A map shows the route, where you are at all times and even which way you are facing.
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Each walk is packed with information about the history and nature along the route, from over a decade of research than spans more than 3,000 topics.
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Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need wifi or a phone signal during the walk.
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The app counts down distance to the next direction and estimates time remaining based on your personal walking speed.
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We keep the directions continually updated for changes to the paths/landmarks - the price for a walk includes ongoing free updates.

either as a GPS-guided walk with our app (£3.29) or a PDF of directions (£2.79) Example of directions

The walk starts along the edge of the reservoir, passing bird hides and following the Nature Trail through the wildlife reserve and woodland path to reach a track which was once the main driveway through the Nanswhyden estate. The walk passes the ruins of Nanswhyden House and Fir Hill Manor which fell into ruin when its heir never claimed it. The route then follows lanes towards Nanswhyden Farm via the ford at Trengoose and Colan Church where each member of the congregation would cast a palm cross into the Holy Well to determine if they would live another year. The walk then follows a footpath the the field and woods to return to the reservoir.


  • Pretty woodland and lakeside scenery
  • Wildlife including birdlife, deer and badgers
  • Crumbling ruins of the great manor houses of the Nanswhyden estate
  • Panoramic views over the lake and valley from Nanswhyden farm


  • The stream crossing to returning to Porth Reservoir is across uneven stepping-stones without any hand-holds. A walking pole may help with balancing. Alternatively, the stream is normally shallow enough to walk through in wellies.
  • The approach to the stream crossing is marshy and trodden by cattle. This can be deeper than a walking boot in winter when the ground is wet so wellies are advisable at this time of year.
  • The path leading out of the nature reserve to join the Public Footpath and the area after the stream crossing is susceptible to bramble growth. If you have secateurs, take them along to snip away brambles from the path.

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Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 106
  • Distance: 4.5 miles/7.2 km
  • Steepness grade: Moderate
  • Recommended footwear: waterproof boots

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 106 OS Explorer 106 (laminated version)

Click or tap on map for more info (blue=laminated)

either as a GPS-guided walk with our app (£3.29) or a PDF of directions (£2.79) Example of directions

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