Ladybower Reservoir Walk

Discover the tranquility of the Ladybower Reservoir on this delightful walk, offering breathtaking views with minimal effort. This family-friendly route, suitable for cyclists, wheelchairs, and hikers, encircles half of Ladybower Reservoir and showcases the historic Derwent Dam, linked to the iconic Dambusters raids during WWII.

Begin and end your journey at the Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre, a hub operated by the Peak District National Park. While free parking dots the route, choosing to park at the center supports facility maintenance and charitable causes.

Explore with ease and relish amenities like toilets, a café, and a gift shop at the starting point of this picturesque adventure. The perfect way to explore all that the Peak District has to offer.

Lace up your shoes and escape into nature’s embrace on the Ladybower Reservoir Walk…

Embark on an enchanting journey around Ladybower Reservoir, a walk that promises a diverse range of highlights for an exhilarating adventure. As you set out, take a moment to truly soak in the breathtaking views of neatly-lined trees, rolling hills and of course, the glistening Ladybower Reservoir itself.

Here’s a glimpse of the captivating features that await you on the Ladybower Reservoir walk:

  1. Spectacular Scenery Without the Effort: Marvel at stunning views with minimal effort along well-made paths around Ladybower Reservoir.
  2. Historic Wonders Along the Way: Encounter the awe-inspiring Derwent Dam, a WWII practice site for the Dambusters, and spot the picturesque Ashopton Viaduct.
  3. Versatile and Accessible for All: Enjoy a family-friendly walk suitable for cyclists, wheelchairs, and dog walkers, with free parking options or the convenience of Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre.
  4. Traverse Time and History: Explore the remnants of the villages of Derwent and Ashopton, submerged under the reservoir, and appreciate the historical significance of Derwent Dam, a cinematic landmark and wartime site.

Sykes Cottages has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind. Sykes Cottages does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained on this website.


1. Parking and Starting Point: Follow signs from the A57 to ‘Derwent Valley Dams.’ Park at Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre (postcode S33 0AQ) or nearby parking areas.

2. Initial Path: From the Visitor Information Centre, turn left and walk on the wide pavement toward A57. Enjoy quiet roads, a well-made path, and stunning views.

3. Scenic Views: Look left to see Derwent Edge and right for wooded heights of Hagg Side. Spot Win Hill ahead for a challenging hike with panoramic views.

4. Passing Through the Gate: After 1.5 miles, pass through a gate by a cattle grid. Ashopton Viaduct becomes visible ahead.

5. Bridge: Reach the A57, turn left, cross the bridge, and spot a left track after crossing. It’s a public footpath despite being labeled “Private Road.”

6. Following the Track: Pass through a gate, follow the track along the reservoir with scenic views. Stick to the main track, ignore side paths.

7. Village Remnants: After 1.5 miles, reach a hill with a few houses, remnants of the flooded village of Derwent. Villages had houses, a shop, church, and inn, now submerged.

8. Left Track: Continue on the left track, slightly downhill. Ahead, Derwent Dam comes into view.

9. Historical Insights: Derwent Dam, built in 1902, stands 35m high. It played a role in the Dambusters’ practice missions in WWII. Look for exposed foundations in dry summers.

10. Fork in the Track: Soon after passing through the village, the track forks. Take the left track heading downhill.

11. Final Approach to Derwent Dam: Derwent Dam looms ahead. In winter, water often cascades down its face. It was a filming location for ‘The Dambusters’ and hosts flypasts from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

12. Completing the Circuit: Continue for about 500 meters, arriving back at Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre on your left. Enjoy the completed walk!

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