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A short, but very rewarding walk, which introduces the visitor to Derbyshire’s ‘Lake District’ and whets the appetite for many more visits in the future. The northern section of the Upper Derwent Valley has three reservoirs, Ladybower, Derwent and Howden surrounded by forest, farmland and wild glorious moorland scenery.  

After passing the Ladybower Fishery Office and crossing the viaduct, the walk takes you through Ladybower Wood, a Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve noted for its ancient woodland. The wide ranging views over the reservoir and the surrounding countryside are superb.

Following the renovation of the Ladybower Dam, a permissive path was opened, giving good views up the reservoir to Ashopton Viaduct and beyond. This leads to the former railway line that was specially constructed to carry stone from the railway sidings at Bamford to Fairholmes, when the Derwent and Howden dams were constructed.  

At the western end of the dam is a small sculpture, part of a trail of sculptures established by the residents of Bamford to mark the millennium.   

The final section of the walk takes you on a pleasant woodland walk with distant views through the trees of Ladybower.


Length:     4.5 miles.    

Start/Finish:     Heatherdene Car Park. Parking may be impossible at busy times and with very little space available elsewhere it is important to arrive early, or to make alternative arrangements.   

Location:      Off the A57 on the A6015 Bamford road. The car park is on the right hand side of the road, when travelling in a northerly direction, between the Yorkshire Bridge Inn and the Ladybower Viaduct.    

Terrain:     Good, easy to follow walking along good tracks and hard surfaces, with some short ascents and descents. The short section through Ladybower Wood can be rather muddy, but you should be able to ‘pick’ your way round the worst of it.     



1.      Walk back to the car park entrance and turn right along the A6015 and on reaching the junction with the A57, turn right. 

2.      After about 300yards cross the road and immediately after passing the Ladybower Inn, turn left up a bridleway. 

3.      Walk forward for 100 yards, before turning sharp left at a track intersection. The track leads you gently up the hillside, with the inn below on your left and Ladybower Wood on the right. 

4.      Continue in the same direction for nearly a quarter of a mile, before going through a stile by a field gate that leads you onto an area of moorland. 

5.      The path climbs steadily close to a wall for the first part of the walk across the moor. After leaving the wall behind you, continue along an obvious path that soon starts to descend. 

6.      Go through a stile and onto a farm track and turn left passing Ding Bank Farm and Ashopton Wood Yard. 

7.      On reaching the bottom of the bank turn left along the reservoir service road and left again onto the A57, at the end of Ashopton Viaduct. 

8.      Walk back to the A6015, and turn right to cross the Ladybower Viaduct. 

9.      Continue on the pavement until you reach the dam wall, where you go to the right to walk along the concessionary path across the dam. 

10.  On reaching the far side of the dam, turn left down a service road. At the end of the service road, cross a bridge on your left. 

11.  Immediately over the bridge, take the footpath on the left signed for ‘Heatherdene’.  

12.  Angle to the right, crossing a grass track and going through some bushes. Ignore all the paths off to the right and gradually ascend to the top left hand corner of a field. 

13.  Go through a gate stile on the left, over a footbridge and follow the path through an area of woodland. 

14.  On reaching a ‘T’ junction of paths, turn right with the dam wall in front of you and walk up to the A6015. 

15.  Turn left along the main road and at the end of the railings cross to the other side. 

16.   Climb the steps and turn left along the path, which leads you back to Heatherdene Car Park and the start of the walk.   


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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). 

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. Open weekends winter and then every day for the remainder of the year. Ring for details.

Glossop in the far North West of Derbyshire often described as the gateway to the Peak, is surrounded by the beautiful Peak District National Park. It is approached from Ladybower through the Snake Pass along one of the most famous roads in the country. Glossop is a bustling former mill town, with attractive parks, a beautiful town square, and plenty of shops and places to eat.



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 Bay Tree Coffee Shop (Tel. 01433 651323) situated within High Peak Garden Centre, on the A6187 between Hathersage and Bamford. Hot and cold snacks served and there is seating outside.



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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A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:

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The tiny village of Yorkshire Bridge, in the Upper Derwent Valley, lies in the shadow of the dam wall of the Ladybower Reservoir. Its neat, regimented rows of houses were built to re-house the inhabitants of the former villages of Ashopton and Derwent. Both villages and the surrounding land having been submerged, when the reservoir was completed and filled with water. 

Despite all the references to Yorkshire, you are still in Derbyshire, the boundary between the two counties is more than two miles away to the north east. The visitor centre at Fairholmes, situated further north below the wall of the Derwent Dam tells the story of the ‘drowned villages’ and the birth of Yorkshire Bridge.  



 Yorkshire Bridge Feature




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