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It is fitting that such an outstandingly beautiful walk should feature as the 100th walk completed in the Discover Derbyshire series. The wide ranging views over the reservoir and the surrounding countryside are superb. So make sure you pick a good clear day for this walk and get there early before the crowds.

The northern section of the Upper Derwent Valley has three reservoirs, Ladybower, Derwent and Howden, surrounded by forest, farmland and wild glorious moorland scenery. The largest and most recently constructed is Ladybower, which entailed the flooding of the villages of Ashopton and Derwent and the re-housing of the inhabitants.

There are a number of hill farms scattered about the area, most involved in sheep farming. The hardy white-faced woodland sheep are often seen in this part of the Peak National Park. 

Ashopton Viaduct was built to carry the Snake Road to Glossop and the Ladybower Viaduct to carry the road from Yorkshire Bridge to the A57. The reservoir was finally opened by King George VI, in 1945, and to mark the occasion a commemorative monument has been built close to the dam wall.  

Near the end of the walk a few cottages are passed, sited on higher ground; they are all that remains of the former Derwent village.



Length:     6 miles.     

Start/Finish:     Fairholmes Car Park.         

Location:     Off the A57 Glossop to Sheffield road.    

Terrain:     Easy walking on good clear tracks round Ladybower Reservoir.      



 1.       Walk away from the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, towards the right hand corner of the main car park.

2.       Continue along an obvious path heading towards the main vehicular road up the Derwent Valley.

3.       On reaching the road, turn left and after walking a short distance, turn left at a small roadside car park.

4.       Follow the clearly marked, permissive path, which runs between the road to your right and the reservoir to your left.

5.       With Ashopton Viaduct clearly in view, the path edges slightly to the right to reach a stile, only a few yards from the A57.

6.       Turn left, cross the viaduct and continue a short distance beyond its end, to obtain a better view of Ladybower Dam.

7.       Retrace your steps and turn right to follow the track up the other side of the reservoir.

8.       Stay on the track beside the reservoir without deviating for about two and a half miles.

9.       Keep to the left where the road forks at what remains of Derwent village and follow it round, with Derwent Dam towering up above on your right.

10.   Soon after the road begins to climb, turn left to return to the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre.


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The Upper Derwent Visitor Centre (Tel. 01433 650953) located at Fairholmes, close to the Derwent Dam. Fascinating facts can be found about the area through the interactive displays. Maps, books, postcards, souvenirs, drinks and light refreshments are also available. Picnic tables are provided outside. For opening details please ring or visit website.

Dams and Dambusters Museum (Tel. 01433 650953) this interesting display is open in the West Tower of Derwent Dam, most Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the year.

Castleton Caverns without doubt the most spectacular collection of caverns in the country. Speedwell (Tel 01433 620512), Blue John (Tel 01433 620638), Treak (Tel 01433 620571) and Peak (Tel 01433 620285). 



Ladybower Inn (Tel.01433 651241) situated on the A57 overlooking the reservoir, the inn was re-sited more than 100 years ago having originally been located further up Ladybower Brook. Open all day. Meals served daily. 

The Upper Derwent Visitor Centre Picnic Site (Tel. 01433 650953) a refreshment kiosk is available at the Visitor Centre, in what is a picturesque spot despite its close proximity to the car park. Picnic tables and benches are available. Open at same time as Visitor Centre.








Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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Ladybower Reservoir is situated in the Upper Derwent Valley at the heart of the Peak National Park, in an area often referred to as the “Lake District of the Peak”. It is surrounded by magnificent countryside where water and woodland, topped by high moors, predominate.

In recent years forestry has become an important factor and the sides of the valley have been clothed in conifers. Not surprisingly, the area has become so popular that over two million people visit each year.



All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.