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The unusually wet winter of 2023/24 has left the ground in many parts of the Peak District very wet and muddy. As a result of this, we have been forced to temporarily revise or postpone a number of our walks. Fortunately, this walk is unaffected by these changes, and so is still available as advertised.

Ladybower Reservoir Circular 1

Distance: 6 miles
Price: £8.00 per person

(Group & family rates available)

Ashopton Viaduct Ashopton Viaduct Ashopton Viaduct Ashopton Viaduct Ashopton Viaduct Ashopton Viaduct
Ashopton Viaduct

This is an enjoyable and accessible circular walk of the northern arm of Ladybower Reservoir, one of the three famous Upper Derwent dams that supply water to the towns and cities of the East Midlands and have a unique place in British military history.

The walk begins and ends at the visitor centre below Derwent Dam, from where it heads south down the eastern bank of Ladybower Reservoir. There, it passes the last remaining buildings of the village of Derwent, which was drowned in 1943 as the reservoir was filled. Reaching the base of the legendary A57 Snake Pass, it crosses Ashopton Viaduct, named for a second drowned village, to reach the start of the road up the western bank of the reservoir. Following this road up the side of the reservoir and back to the visitor centre, the walk makes a slight diversion to visit the dam wall at Derwent Dam. There, it visits the memorial to the RAF's 617 Squadron, who used the dam as a practice target in preparation for their legendary mission to the Ruhr dams on May 16th 1943 - the mission that gave them their famous nickname of "The Dambusters".

The route of this walk uses well-made tracks and tarmac pavements with no steep gradients, steps or stiles, and is best described as gently undulating. It does include a number of gates, but these should prove no real obstruction to the majority of wheelchair or mobility scooter users. On the Miles Without Stiles grading scheme, it would certainly rate as "Accessible For Many", and possibly even "Accessible For All" for the fitter unassisted wheelchair user.

Duration (approx):
3 to 3.5 hours.
Start point:
Upper Derwent Visitor Centre,
Start time:
End point:
Upper Derwent Visitor Centre.
Dates available:
Available as an open walk from March to November on a date of your choosing on Mondays, some Tuesdays, Wednesdays, some Thursdays, Fridays, most Saturdays and some Sundays.

Scheduled walks available on the following dates:
March 2nd, 4th, 11th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 27th, 31st.
April 3rd, 6th, 8th, 14th, 17th, 20th, 22nd, 24th, 27th.
May 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 18th, 22nd, 25th, 29th.
June 2nd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, 26th, 30th.
July 3rd, 6th, 14th, 17th, 20th, 24th, 26th, 29th, 31st.
August 3rd, 7th, 9th, 12th, 17th, 21st, 23rd, 26th, 28th, 31st.
September 4th, 8th, 13th, 18th, 21st, 25th, 29th.
October 2nd, 5th, 13th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 27th, 30th.
November 2nd, 4th, 6th, 10th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 24th, 25th, 27th, 30th.
(Online pre-booking is essential for these walks.)

Private group bookings are also available on a date of your choosing between March 1st and November 30th (subject to availability and Coronavirus restrictions).

When is this walk available?

This walk is available on a date of your choosing from March 1st to November 30th. Scheduled walks take place at least once each month from March to November. It may also be booked as a private booking via a Personal Walking Guide between the same dates.

Is this walk Covid-secure?

At Derbyshire Heritage Walks we follow all current government and industry guidelines, and all of our guides have been fully vaccinated. Therefore you can be confident that this walk is as Covid-secure as we can possibly make it. Details of how we do this can be found here.

Will we have the exclusive services of the guide?

All of our open and scheduled walks are open to all. If you book onto either of these types of walk, then there is a chance that there may well be other people on the walk with you. If you wish to have the exclusive services of the guide, you MUST book a Personal Walking Guide.


The following prices apply for this walk:

(Included in overall price)
Adult or Child aged 16 and over
(Up to 8 people in group)
£8.00 per person
£2.00 per person
Personal Walking Guide
(Group of up to 4)
£40.00 per group
£10.00 per group
Personal Walking Guide
(Group of 5 to 10)
£60.00 per group
£15.00 per group
Personal Walking Guide
(Group of 11 or more)
£90.00 per group
£22.50 per group

Discounted family tickets also available, giving cheaper prices for groups including children aged 15 and under. Please e-mail us for details.

Travel to and from the walk.

This walk is easily accessible by car from Sheffield and Manchester, as it is just off the A57 Snake Pass. From Derby and Nottingham, it can be accessed via the road through Chatsworth Park to Grindleford, Hathersage and Bamford, or via the M1 to Chesterfield and then cutting cross-country from there. Pay-and-display car parking is available at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, with some limited free parking at the roadside on the way from the A57 to the Visitor Centre.

Public transport options for this walk are very limited. Bamford Railway Station is on the Hope Valley Line between Sheffield and Manchester, but the station is 5.6 miles from the start point of the walk, which means that the total distance of the walk plus getting from and to the station would be over the range capability of many electric scooters. On summer Sundays ONLY, the 257 bus service between Sheffield and Bakewell does call at Bamford Railway Station and then the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, but this is a very popular service and the only public transport link direct to the start point of the walk. On other days of the week the 257 service just runs between Sheffield and Bakewell, dropping off and picking up at the Heatherdene bus stop alongside the main southern section of Ladybower Reservoir, which is just over 3 miles from the normal start point of the walk.

If public transport is your only option and you wish to do the walk on a weekday or Saturday, then please contact us via e-mail and we can modify the walk to begin and end at the Heatherdene bus stop. By doing this, it only adds just under 1.5 miles to the total length of the walk, making the total distance around 7.5 miles.

Are there any disabled access issues?

This walk is specifically designed to be as accessible as possible to persons of reduced mobility, especially users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The surfacing all around the route is good, combining packed earth and fine gravel with tarmac and other paved surfaces. There are no stiles or significant steps, and all road crossings feature dropped curbs. The only real accessibility issue with this walk is the problem outlined above regarding the lack of suitable public transport in the week and on Saturdays. However, as also outlined above, this can be addressed by modifying the route of the walk to start and end at the Heatherdene bus stop.

Is this walk suitable for dogs?

This walk is suitable for dogs. However, due to the popularity of this route and the number of cyclists using it, we always recommend that you keep your dog on a lead and under close control at all times. This is especially true when crossing Ashopton Viaduct, as the road can be very busy with fast-moving traffic and there are no barriers between it and the pavement.


You can book places on any of our open or scheduled walks via the PayPal button below. Other payment options are available on request - Please e-mail us for details if required.

If you wish to make a Personal Walking Guide booking for this walk, please see our Personal Walking Guide booking page here.

Bookings for walks can be made at any time up to 48 hours before the intended date of your walk, or up to 72 hours beforehand for Personal Walking Guides. We regret that we cannot accept bookings made less than 48 hours prior to the planned start time of the walk (72 hours for Personal Walking Guide bookings).

Please ensure before booking that the date you require is not listed below and on our online calendar as unavailable or fully booked, and that you have read and agree to our terms and conditions.

Latest Booking News

  • Bookings are open for all scheduled dates listed, and close at 1:00pm two days prior to the date of the walk.
  • We are now accepting open walk and Personal Walking Guide bookings for this walk on Mondays, some Tuesdays, Wednesdays, some Thursdays, Fridays, most Saturdays and some Sundays from the beginning of March to the end of November 2024.

Book An Open Or Scheduled Walk

Please select the number of places you would like to book, the start time you would like, and enter the date required.

Other payment options are available on request - Please e-mail us for details if required.

By placing a booking with us, you are accepting and agreeing to our terms and conditions.

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Book A Personal Walking Guide

To book a Personal Walking Guide for this walk, please go to our Personal Walking Guide page.

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