Derwent Walk 1 – Ladybower to Hathersage

Monday 1 August 2016. This is the new me, the good me, having a day off! We had a lie in, then drove north. We found the Peak Shopping Village at Rowsley station and had an excellent lunch. We continued north through the Chatsworth Estate, then Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, to the Heatherdene car park beside Ladybower Reservoir. Having walked Hadrian’s Wall (did I mention I walked Hadrian’s Wall?), my next task is he Derwent Valley Heritage Way. This National Trail runs for 55 miles from here south to the River Trent at Shardlow, south of Derby. Therefore it runs through my parishes of Allestree and Darley Abbey. The route was set up in 2003. The website is here and the Long Distance Walkers Association has a site here. I’m not sure that’s an Association I am ready to join. There are also two useful books.


250px-Derwent_Valley_Heritage_Way_roundelThe River Derwent rises on Bleaklow and Howden Moors at about 2065 feet above sea level. Now the water is channelled down into the Howden, Derwent and Ladybower Reservoirs. Heatherdene car park – SK203858 – seems an odd place for the Trail to start as Howden and Derwent reservoirs are further upstream, which suggests there is more Derwent to walk than the Trail itself. Ladybower was built between 1935 and 1943, and then took two years to fill. It is a little amusing that we link these reservoirs with the Dambusters (the raids and the film), yet the third reservoir was not full until the end of the War. Those of us in Derby drink this water.

ladybower being built

This photo is not one of mine. The Dambusters raid took place on the night of 16-17 May 1943. In 1993 there was a remembrance service at Lincoln Cathedral, the flight took off from Scampton. We had been to the earlier service and Gareth (who was about 4) asked who all the people were who were gathering. I told him they were remembering the Dambusters and he ran down the Nave doing his Dambuster impression.

lancaster ladybower

Here is the reservoir’s website. They also have a reservoir facebook page – here.

There is a Reservoir Visitor Centre a few miles further north at Fairholmes which has more facilities than this car park (we went there several years ago and Julie hired an off-road mobility scooter). Heatherdene was quiet, just parking and a loo. Julie sat, read, and watched the squirrels. The Trail is signposted (though it could do with a clean). Outside the loo is a rather nice carved bench, then there is a metalled path down to the road.


It is quite a busy main road, but easy enough to cross by the memorial to those who built this reservoir and dam.


The dam is a clay-covered earth embankment, built by Richard Baillie and Sons. It was enlarged and strengthened in the 1990s. Some lovely metal gates – they did things properly in the 1940s. The intake is rather striking.


Having walked along the dam you turn right and follow the old railway down the west side of the valley. This line was built from the main line at Bamford up to the dam to aid its construction (you can just see it on the photo of the building of the dam).  There are excellent photos here. It was a lovely walk – and I chatted to a little girl who, with her little brother and dad, were geo-caching. There is some nice art work, the Bamford Parish Touchstones, installed for the Millennium and designed by Jenny Mather – see this website.




I came off the old railway by a building which is now a Quaker centre – website – it used to be the Derwent Valley Water Board HQ. Then beside the field, past lovely oak trees, and under the Hope Valley Railway line – the main line from Sheffield to Manchester. Across the main Castleton road, and then the first river you cross is the River Noe, which runs off Kinder Scout and past Edale.


The Noe It then joins the Derwent, and it is the Derwent we meet next.


The path follows the river, and is a lovely walk. Enjoy the photos. There were one or two places where it was a little overgrown, but nothing that couldn’t be managed. All the gates and stiles are fine, and there is no litter. One of the footpath signs was very sensible.


There is a rather wonderful set of stepping stones across the river, but they’re not on our trail. Overweight walkers might have a problem a bit further along.


A nice stretch through Goose Nest Wood, then I reached Leadmill Bridge on the B road from Hathersage south. I’d only done just over 5 miles, but I needed to get back to the start.


I walked towards Hathersage. There is a train to Bamford at 1628, but Bamford station is to the south of the village, so I’d still have a long walk through it and up to the reservoir. A better idea will surely be to walk into Hathersage village centre and catch a bus. There is a 1628 bus to Castleton via Bamford Turning Circle. Surely that means the bus turns off the main road, heads north through the village, turns round, and heads back south. Time to grab a coffee and join a crowd of Guides waiting for the bus (what is the collective noun for Guides?). The bus drove along the main road, but the Turning Circle is at the south of Bamford village by the station. I snarled, and retraced my steps to the Thornhill Trail and up the side of the valley as the main road through Bamford is not very walkable. No worries, it was a good walk. You will have guessed that the straight line on the map is the bus ride! I must go back sometime to blog Bamford and Hathersage churches. Julie had been content with her books. We drove home. How many months before I reach the River Trent?


This entry was posted in Derbyshire, Derwent Walk. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *