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Ladybower Reservoir Circular Walk: A Scenic Hike in the Peak District

Ladybower Reservoir Walk Details

The Ladybower Reservoir Walk is a circular walk that covers a distance of 5 miles and takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete. The terrain is made up of well-made tracks and quiet pavements, which are gently undulating. The walk is accessible for all, with no stiles or kissing gates, and some gates.

Facilities available include cycle hire, motorised wheelchair hire, a cafe, shop, and toilets. The start and finish points are located at postcode S33 0AQ – /// drove.professed.bunkers. Visitors can download the Ladybower Reservoir Walk – Circular PDF route map for free.

Overall, the Ladybower Reservoir Walk is an easy and accessible walk suitable for families and individuals of all ages and abilities.

The Ladybower Circular Walk Details

The Ladybower Reservoir walk is a popular hiking trail located in the Peak District National Park. This gentle walk is suitable for hikers, dog walkers, and family-friendly cycling, as well as users of all-terrain wheelchairs or pushchairs. The circular route completes a circuit of one half of Ladybower Reservoir and passes the awe-inspiring Derwent Dam, which was the scene of the practice flights for the famous Dambusters raids during WWII.

The route is easily accessible and offers magnificent views for only a small amount of effort. Free parking is available along the route, although the walk starts and ends at Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre, operated by the Peak District National Park. Visitors can choose to park at the Centre for a small charge, which goes towards maintaining the facilities and supporting the charity. The Centre also offers toilets, a café, and a gift shop for visitors.

Circular Ladybower Reservoir Walk

The Ladybower Reservoir walk is a popular circular route that offers stunning views of the Hope Valley and the Derwent Valley. This walk is suitable for all skill levels and can be completed in approximately 2-2.5 hours. The starting point is at the Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre, and there are several parking areas along the road close by.

From the Visitor Information Centre, walkers should turn left and walk on the wide pavement alongside the road that takes them back towards the A57. The road is quiet, the path is well made and level, and the views are spectacular. On the left-hand side, walkers can look across the reservoir towards the bulk of Derwent Edge. To the right initially are the wooded heights of Hagg Side and, further on, the gentle green slopes of Crook Hill, managed by the National Trust. The tall ‘peaked’ hill directly ahead is Win Hill. Win Hill towers to a lofty 463m and, for those who like more challenging hikes, offers unsurpassed 360-degree views of the Hope Valley and the Derwent Valley.

After approximately 1.5 miles, walkers will pass through a gate beside a cattle grid, and the beautiful Ashopton Viaduct will be visible ahead. The arches that rise above the water are only the very top of this impressive structure. Once walkers reach the A57, they should turn left to cross the bridge, taking time to admire the views as they go over. Immediately after crossing, walkers should look out for a track to the left that brings them back to walk on the other side of the reservoir. Although the track is marked Private Road, please note that this is a public footpath.

Go through a wide gate and follow the quiet track along the edge of the reservoir, again with marvellous views ahead. The track is gently undulating and well maintained and passes through beautiful shady woodland. Walkers should ignore all footpaths off and stick to the main track. After approximately 1.5 miles, walkers will crest a hill and come upon a small cluster of pretty houses. These houses are all that remain of the village of Derwent, which is one of the two villages (Ashopton being the other) flooded to create Ladybower Reservoir.

The villages of Derwent and Ashopton were small but thriving communities in their time, with a number of houses, a shop, a church and a coaching inn. The villagers were all relocated and the buildings submerged under the waters. In particularly dry summers, walkers can look out for the exposed foundations of some of the village buildings as they walk around. Soon after passing through the village, the track forks, with the right-hand spur signposted as a Public Bridleway to Langsett. Walkers should continue on the left-hand track, heading slightly downhill.

Directly ahead is the mighty structure of Derwent Dam. In the winter months, there is often a torrent of water cascading down its face, spilling over from Derwent Reservoir above. The building of the dam was started in 1902 and it stands at an impressive 35m high. Derwent Dam, and the similar Howden Dam at the top of Derwent Reservoir, are well known for being the site of the practice bombing missions for 617 Squadron (known as the Dambusters) before their attack on the Ruhr dams in Germany in 1943. The 1954 film ‘The Dambusters’ was filmed here, and the reservoirs see regular flypasts from the Lancaster and Spitfire bombers of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

After walking for approximately 500 metres, walkers will arrive back at the starting point of Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre on their left.

This Ladybower Reservoir walk is also suitable as a short bike ride with a cycle hire station at Fairholmes Visitor Centre that is operated by the Peak District National Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the distance of the circular walk around Ladybower Reservoir?

The circular walk around Ladybower Reservoir is approximately 5.5 miles (9 km) long. The path is well-made and generally easy to walk on.

Where are the best places to park when doing the Ladybower Reservoir walk?

The best place to park when doing the Ladybower Reservoir walk is at the Fairholmes Visitor Centre. The centre has a large car park with ample space for visitors. There is a small fee for parking, but it is well worth it to have easy access to the walk.

Are there any downloadable guides or maps for walking around Ladybower Reservoir?

Yes, there are several downloadable guides and maps available for walking around Ladybower Reservoir. The Peak District National Park website has a variety of resources available, including a detailed map of the area and a guide to the circular walk.

How long does it typically take to complete the circular walk at Ladybower Reservoir?

The circular walk at Ladybower Reservoir typically takes between 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace. The walk is well-marked and easy to follow, so it should not take longer than this.

Is the path around Derwent Reservoir connected to the Ladybower Reservoir walk?

Yes, the path around Derwent Reservoir is connected to the Ladybower Reservoir walk. The two reservoirs are linked, and you can easily walk from one to the other. The path around Derwent Reservoir is also well-marked and easy to follow, making it a great addition to the Ladybower Reservoir walk.



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