2nd April 2011 Ladybower Reservoir and the Derwent Edge

Distance 10.1 Mile Total Ascent1309ft Time Taken 5hrs

The Dams of the Derwent Valley, and the Derwent Edge.

The Derwent Dam

We made an early start on this walk as it was a steep climb to the top. We parked in the Fairholmes carpark, near to Derwent Dam. It cost £4 to park all day which is good value but get there early as it does get very busy. We first had a look at the Derwent Dam from the top to see the scale of this great engineering project. The Dam was finished in 1916 and contains about 9.4 million cubic meters of water. It was over this dam that the 617 Squadron practiced their Low level flying in ready for their bombing runs to the great Dams of germany. From the Dam we then walked along the Derwent Reservoir to Holden Dam.

Holden Dam

The Holden Dam again is a massive structure that separates Derwent and Ladybower Reservoir it is well worth a visit to this dam even though it was out of the way a little. From here we doubled back on ourselves to pick up our route and then started to climb up from Abbey Brook to Little Howden moor

Elevation Chart of Climb

This was a good climb as you can see from the elevation chart from our GPS unit. Little Howden moor gives some great Views across the opposite Hey bank. In under 4km most of the big climb was done and we were up near the high peaks of Lost Lad and Back Torr. Lost Lad is at 518 Meters and there is some story of a young shepherd boy getting frozen to death there. I can see why as the wind was dreadful up there and we sat down for a short while before getting up and moving on towards Back Torr at 538 Metres.

Me on Top of Back Torr (538 metres)

The views are great from this high point and we could clearly see for many miles. After a short break we made our way towards the
Derwent Edge and to see the great Gritstone rock formations that sit on top. The wind has formed these great formations over Millions of years and these have some great local names which can all be found without problems on the map. They have names such as the Cakes of Bread, the Salt Cellar, the Wheel stones etc. The largest of these formations stands at over 25 feet high, you can go over to them but the whole of the top of the Derwent edge is very boggy so it pays to keep on the path provided, also its easy to damage the environment up there. The hole of the Derwent edge is also home to the Red Grouse.

Me overlooking Derwent Valley

The Salt cellar stones are very strange to look at all angled towards the prevailing winds and all around them is just heather, all the other Gritstone simply must have eroded away over the millennia. We then made our way towards White Torr and on to the massive Wheel Stones. We got a few pictures here of this massive rock formation at about 25ft high. I think some locals call these the coach & Horses as they look like one as seen from nearby villages. I could not see any resemblance whatsoever and can only think large amounts of Ale consumed make this happen.

The Salt Cellar Stones

The Wheel Stones

From here we started to make our way downwards and soon found the path towards Derwent reservoir. The path again was a very steep descent and in bad muddy weather this would be a bit tricky, I think. The views again are fantastic and we passed a lot of people coming upwards including large groups of mountain bikers. Most were pushing them and as a keen mountain biker, I can see why, it was very steep, near impossible but looked good fun, there is a bike hire place near Fairholmes Car park. Some small farms are scattered around the hills with a large amount of sheep roaming about the place.

Looking towards Derwent Valley

We soon found the road and made our way along the water towards
Derwent. The water itself is about 2km in length and you will soon pass where the village of Derwent was before it was consumed by the water in 1944. The Church had its last service in 1943. The Church spire was left intact but was blown up after safety concerns made in 1947, this must have been a very strange sight sticking out of the water. We then made it back to the back of Derwent dam and back to the car, there is a small cafe there for refreshments.

Ladybower Dam & Sinkholes

Ladybower Overflow (Sinkhole)

At the end of the reservoirs lays Ladybower dam and we made our way there by car to have a look about. The water is about 4km long Ladybower dam is different from the Derwent & Holden dam as it is made from a massive earth embankment the opening was on the 25th September 1945. Two Massive sink holes sit at each end of the dam walls and they take water overflowing down to the bottom of the dam walls and out into the
river Derwent that sits a fair distance below. Water from Ladybower makes it way underground to the large cities of Derby and Leicester and the pipes also cuts through the estate of Chatsworth house. I have found this video on Youtube of the water overflowing into the sink holes. This was a great day and a fantastic hike into the hills, please make sure you go prepared, as it can get very cold and you get a lot of hill fog, so always take a map and compass and other emergency gear in your rucksack. Please see the links below for any other information

For the Full photo album please click this link.

OS Explorer Map the Peak Distrixt Sheet OL 1

View the Map in GoogleMaps

View the Map full detail in Garmin Connect

Download KPX file for GoogleEarth.

Peak District Weather
The Met Office