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This enjoyable walk explores the slopes of Goyt Valley, which contain a variety of forest and woodland, plus an abundance of wildlife. The return journey takes you along the former track of The Cromford and High Peak Railway, a nationally famous line.

The construction of the railway, considered to be an engineering masterpiece, attracts railway enthusiasts, not only from this country but all over the world. It linked High Peak Junction, at two hundred and seven-seven feet above sea level, with Whaley Bridge at five hundred and seventeen feet. In the middle it rose to over a thousand feet at Ladmanlow. Stretching for thirty-three miles in length, the line was fully opened in 1831, when it was used to transport minerals, corn, coal and other commodities from one canal to the other.

Goyt Valley was acquired by Stockport Corporation, in the early 20th century, for the building of two reservoirs, to meet the increasing demand for water in Stockport and Manchester areas. Fernilee was constructed in 1938 and Errwood Reservoir, 29 years later.

The valley comes within the South West Peak Environmentally Sensitive Area, an initiative which encourages the conservation of the landscape and wildlife habitats.


Length:     4.50 miles or for the shorter option 3miles. 

Start/Finish:   The Street Car Park Car Park on the North West side of Errwood Reservoir.   

Location:     Off A5004 Buxton to Whaley Bridge road.  

Terrain:     An easy walk, with only a little ascent and descent, along woodland tracks, field paths and a former railway line.  



1.      From The Street Car Park, follow a Fernilee Reservoir sign and walk diagonally to the left, down a field to a stile.

2.      Angle down a rough field, in the direction of the reservoir, to go through a stile in the bottom corner.

3.      Continue to the left along a clear forest path, with the reservoir on your right.

4.      When you arrive at a finger post sign take the ‘Fernilee via Waterside Walk’ and follow the path close to the reservoir.

5.      At one point the walk takes you to the left up a flight of steps and round a ravine, before bending to the right along a wide forest path.

6.      On reaching the far end of the wood go through a stile and turn right along a lane that leads to the northern end of the dam wall. Do not cross the dam unless you want to shorten the walk, in which case go to point 13.

7.      Turn left by the dam to join a farm track that takes you through several gates.

8.      As a farm appears in view, leave the track and descend a short distance to a stile gate on your right, in the bottom corner of the field. Go through the gate and turn left and walk diagonally down the field to a post marker.

9.      Maintain direction past the post maker to go through a gateway a few yards from the bottom of the field.

10.  Follow a sunken track to the right for a short distance before it bends to the left and leads you to the bottom of the valley and into another field.

11.  A few yards further on, cross a footbridge over the River Goyt and turn right along a clear path on the opposite side of the river.

12.  Walk through the reservoir works buildings and leave by the access road on the left, which winds up the bank to the dam wall.

13.  Walkers using the shorter walk should follow the instructions from this point. Continue your walk close to the banks of the reservoir, along the route of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway Line.

On reaching the dam at the far end of the reservoir you have two alternatives. Follow the track that you are on and turn right along the road over the dam. Alternatively go through the gate stile at the bottom of the dam and turn right, along the path leading to the other side of the reservoir and then left back to the road. Both options take you back to the starting point for the walk

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Poole’s Cavern (Tel. 01298 26978) guided tours are provided of the limestone cavern, famous for its stalactites and stalagmites.  Ancient remains show the Romans worshipped here. Large car park, toilets, shop and drinks facilities available. Please telephone for opening details or visit website.

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (Tel. 01298 24658) award winning ‘Wonders of the Peak’ gallery. Programme of temporary exhibitions and displays. Well stocked shop.  Open all year Tuesday to Saturday and Bank Holidays. Open daily Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am. Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September.

Whaley Bridge is a small town on the north western edge of the Peak District. It is popular with walkers who come to explore the Goyt Valley and the surrounding hills. Although industry has mostly gone, a small wharf, busy with colourful narrow boats, still remains as a reminder of its industrial past when it was an important part of the canal network.  


Cat and Fiddle (Tel. 01298 23364) on the A537 that overlooks the Goyt Valley, is the second highest public house in England. There is a comfortable lounge, dining room and a bar especially for walkers, cyclists and dog owners. Open all day, food served all day, but can be subject to alteration – ring for precise details.  

Pavilion Gardens Buxton (Tel. 01298 23114) offer the Fountain Restaurant, Gardens Coffee Lounge and Promenade Café to provide for all tastes. The latter is open daily, but the Coffee Lounge only at weekends during the summer, half term-holidays and busy event days. The Fountain Restaurant is fully licensed.




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The ruggedly picturesque Goyt Valley, surrounded by heather clad moors, has been a popular place for visitors since Victorian times.


The appearance of the valley changed dramatically in the 1930s when the Fernilee Reservoir was built and, some thirty years later, the Errwood Reservoir. Now the reservoirs provide leisure facilities, in a valley rich in industrial heritage and wildlife.



Goyt Valley Feature


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