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The view from the hill top between the Derwent Valley and Woodlands Valley
The view across to Crookstone Knoll from the hill top between the Derwent Valley and Woodlands Valley

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Route No. 194 - Saturday 9 September 2006
Ladybower Reservoir, Derwent Dam
Woodlands Valley circuit - 15km
Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

Map: OS Explorer OL1 The Peak District, Dark Peak area at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


A lovely example of the Shaggy Ink Cap
A lovely example of the Shaggy Ink Cap

One of our friends, Tony, was born and brought up in Hathersage and he led today's walk, and what a cracker it turned out to be!

This morning I met a group of friends at the Heatherdene car park next to Ladybower reservoir in Derbyshire at map ref. SK 202860, at around 10.30am.

Looking across Ladybower Reservoir from Heatherdene car park
Looking across Ladybower Reservoir from Heatherdene car park

Ladybower reservoir as we set off up the Derwent Valley
Ladybower reservoir as we set off up the Derwent Valley

The Derwent Dam where the Dam Buster squadron practiced during the second world war
The Derwent Dam where the Dam Buster squadron practiced during the second world war

It was a lovely sunny day with just enough breeze to be pleasant. We crossed the road in front of the car park and walked around the edge of the reservoir on the pavement at the side of the road for about 1km to map ref. SK 195865. Here we turned right off the A57 onto a quiet track alongside the reservoir heading up the derwent valley. We followed this track, which eventually became a tarmac access road, for over 4km to the Derwent Dam. This is a most impressive stone structure with twin towers and it was used by the Dam Busters squadron during World War 2 to practice their approach and bomb aiming device before the raids on the dams in Germany. There is a memorial to the airmen at the dam.

The Derwent Dam
The Derwent Dam

The Derwent Dam
The Derwent Dam
Looking up the Derwent reservoir from the view point at the dam
Looking up the Derwent reservoir from the view point at the dam
 Memorial erected by public subscription at the Derwent Dam
Two very different memorials
both erected by public
subscription at the Derwent Dam
Memorial erected by public subscription at the Derwent Dam

Climbing up to Lockerbrook Farm from Fairholmes
Climbing up to Lockerbrook Farm from Fairholmes

Just below the dam there is a tourist car park, cafe and toilets at Fairholmes which we made use of (very nice bacon roll). This is Derbyshire on a sunny weekend so there were wall to wall people. It's even busy on a cold wet winter's day because it's such a lovely area set in the middle of large conurbations around Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and the Potteries, millions of us all wanting a tranquil bit of countryside. From Fairholmes we followed a way marked trail (the green route) through the woods, up the valley side to Lockerbrook Farm and onto the ridge between the Derwent Valley and Woodlands Valley at map ref. SK 163891, a distance of about 1km.

Signpost as we left Fairholmes
Signpost as we left Fairholmes
Start of the climb up the valley side from Fairholmes
Start of the climb up the valley side from Fairholmes
The hill top between the Derwent Valley and Woodlands Valley
The hill top between the Derwent Valley and Woodlands Valley
Starting to drop down into Woodlands Valley
Starting to drop down into Woodlands Valley
Coming down through the woods into Woodlands Valley
Coming down through the woods into Woodlands Valley
Looking up Woodlands Valley as we came over the hill from the Derwent valley
Looking up Woodlands Valley as we came down the hill from the Derwent valley
The river Ashop in Woodlands Valley upstream of Ladybower
The river Ashop in Woodlands Valley upstream of Ladybower
Signpost 224 erected by the Peak & Northern Footpaths Society
Signpost 224 erected by the Peak & Northern Footpaths Society
They have an interesting feature on their web site where you can download a file that puts the location of their signposts onto Google Earth so that you can zoom in to an aerial photo of the location of each sign.

A mountain ash tree covered with clusters of red berries
A mountain ash tree covered with clusters of red berries

We crossed the footbridge over the river and walked along the path downstream to follow the edge of the reservoir for almost 6km to the dam at map ref. SK 197855. We crossed the dam and at the road crossed over and turned left to walk along a path through the trees back to the car park.

From here we followed the path down into Woodlands Valley to the main road (A57) at map ref. SK 162886. We crossed the road - it required both speed and agility to get across between the fast moving traffic and suicidal motorcyclists. Once across we followed a path down through some woods to the river Ashop which flows into this arm of Ladybower Reservoir.

Looking down Woodlands Valley to Crook Hill
Looking down Woodlands Valley to Crook Hill

Looking across Woodlands Valley to Longley Bank
Looking across Woodlands Valley to Longley Bank
Old stone gate posts now isolated and leading nowhere
Old stone gate posts now isolated and leading nowhere
An angler on Ladybower reservoir
An angler on Ladybower reservoir
Looking across Ladybower to the A57 bridge
Looking across Ladybower to the A57 bridge
Giant mushrooms by the handle of my walking stick
Giant mushrooms by the handle of my walking stick
Approaching Ladybower Dam near the end of our walk
Approaching Ladybower Dam near the end of our walk

Looking down the face of Ladybower Dam
Looking down the face of Ladybower Dam

The whole route had been just over 15km and had taken us 6 hours to walk including a longish stop at Fairholme, a stop to pick some sloes to make sloe gin, and a stop by the edge of the reservoir just to sit in the sun and admire the view. It had been a lovely walk with amazing scenery all day and glorious weather too, not to mention some very nice company. Thanks Tony!

The overflow spillway at Ladybower left high and dry
The overflow spillway at Ladybower left high and dry
Enormous wooden seat at Heatherdene car park
Enormous wooden seat at Heatherdene car park
A humble dung beetle, but where would we be without them?
A humble dung beetle, but where would we be without them?
Scots Pine in Heatherdene car park
Scots Pine in Heatherdene car park