Walk: Derwent and Howden Reservoirs

Back in 2010 when I first visited this place, we didn’t know how long we will be walking. I remembered only having bottled water for the entire 17 km walk. I died – figuratively. 

Last night, the husband asked what were we doing for the weekend. As always, I have no idea because the weather was going to be grey and gloomy. 

I said maybe we can go for a walk but I don’t know where. He said Ladybower reservoir. I just said YES. I have never walked around it even if it was just next to Derwent reservoir. So I looked for the walking route. It was just a 6 mile walk. Easy peasy. 

Well, we ended up walking around Derwent and Howden Reservoirs instead for no reason. There was running event today around the reservoir – the Dambuster Challenge. It was good seeing the runners went past us. We started on the opposite direction from them.

These reservoirs are located in the Upper Derwent Valley. These provide water to Derby, Sheffield and Nottingham. There are two dams in this walk, The Howden Dam and the Derwent Dam. You can enter both dams, of course. 


We parked in the Fairholmes visitor centre. I was told to pay for parking in the visitor centre when I tried to break my five pound note at the shop. It only cost £4.70 for the full day. 

We took the route leading to the west tower of Derwent dam. There are steps leading to it. I was already out of breath when I reach the top. I am just in bad shape. It is an easy climb for anyone. Just take your time going up. 


The walk is very pleasant as there are so many trees along the road. On this side of the reservoirs, be mindful of the traffic as some cars are allowed here. There are many cyclists too.


The route is signposted with the distance. So at each kilometre mark, I feel happy knowing how much more left to walk. 


Halfway in the walk, we stopped for lunch near one of the bridges. We sat on a tree trunk and had our sandwiches. 

At the end of the road, there was a bus stop. I didn’t see any buses for the past two hours we walked. I don’t know if this is still operational. If people didn’t want to walk the entire route, at least this bus may take them back to the visitor centre. 

From this point, we walked for another two hours before reaching the visitor centre. The trail is not paved in this side. I would advise people to wear sensible shoes. I got two blisters from today’s walk despite wearing my walking boots. 

You will mostly be walking under the shade of the trees. The ever changing landscapes just make me stop and take photos. The weather wasn’t great today. We only had few minutes of blue skies. But I prefer walking this way, the cool weather made me less tired. 


Next time we will be doing the ladybower reservoir. 

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