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The view from Derwent Edge in the Peak District envelopes you like a ghostly spirit, its rugged, craggy, spiritual beauty gratefully absorbs deep into your soul.

If you’re looking for hikes with views then this moderate walk takes you up rocky well-worn paths to the panoramas of the hills above the Ladybower Reservoir, along Derwent Edge in the High Peak region of the Peak District.  Pause along the way to clamber over the huge piles of rocks, made smooth by the constant lashing of the wind. Extend the walk down to the Derwent Dam Wall in the hope that  the overflow is in full flow, tumultuous an enormous, noisy waterfall.

The walk can be of variable length from 6 to 8 miles, depending upon your own ability and choices. The footpaths along the edge itself are reasonably well maintained, though the initial uphill climb from the Ladybower Inn (and the descent back down) can be a little tricky due to erosion caused by mountain bikes skidding down the steep hillside.

Starting Your Hike

You can begin the hike in one of two places. Either take the path to the right of the Ladybower Inn that climbs up and then around the back of the inn, or follow the driveway towards the group of three houses on the A57, just after the bridge and opposite the Ladybower Reservoir.  Both paths will soon meet each other as you begin the ascent.

Parking is available in the pay-and-display car park opposite the Ladybower Inn or in the Heathredeane car park on the A6013 (where you’ll also find public toilets). If you’re lucky or early enough, you may be able to park for free along the banks of the reservoir.

First Time At Ladybower?

If this is your first visit to the Ladybower reservoir, it’s worth a short detour before you begin. On days when the reservoir water levels are high, there are two giant sinkholes, one on each end of the dam wall. If the water is draining into the sinkholes it is a sight to behold and well worth the extra walk.

Sink-Holes-Ladybower-Reservoir-Peak-District

AscenDing the edge

If you’re taking the Ladybower Inn path, follow this rocky trail up and then around the back of the inn. After a short while you’ll come to scarring on the hill side, caused by a combination of landslips, downpours and mountain bikes.  At a fork in the path, take the one on the right up the hill. As you look back towards Ladybower, you’ll get a glimpse of the panoramic views this walk is going to be brimming with.

View-of-Ladybower-Reservoir-from-Behind-Ladybower-Inn-Peak-District

If you use the A57 starting point, walk up the tarmac drive and through the first gate, then take the path to your right and follow it up and through the woods. Eventually, you’ll end up below the same scarred hillside as above.

The pub and small collection of stone houses you see on your initial ascent are some of the few dwellings that remained after the valley was flooded to make the reservoir. Whole villages disappeared, including Ashopton the remains of which can be seen out in the reservoir during very dry spells.

Some of the Best Peak District Views

Find a suitable path up through the scarred hillside, taking care on the loose rubble and also keeping your eyes and ears open for signs of bikes that charge down the trails at break-neck speed. 

After a short while and just as your calves start to ache, the path heads to your left and levels out into a gentler climb. Take a well-earned breather whilst you admire the view of the reservoir snaking along and then behind the low, green twin mounds of Crook Hill. In the background, you can clearly see Mam Tor and the craggy peak and plateau of Kinder Scout (the highest peak and only mountain in the Peak District).

Derwent-Edge-Looking-Toward-Kinder-and-Mam-Tor-Peak-District

Wheel Stones & White Tor

Views-Wheel-Stones-Derwent-Edge-Peak-DistrictContinue along the well-worn path along the edge, admiring the views to your left and in front. Ahead you’ll see the rock formations of the Wheel Stones, The Salt Cellar and White Tor.  Choose any of these as your turning point, or if you’re feeling energetic carry on to Dovestone Tor. 

On this path, you’ll come across several “crossings” where various paths converge, but carry on straight, heading up the hill and keep the reservoir on your left to reach the Wheel Stones et al.

Path-Along-Derwent-Edge-Peak-District

The path along Derwent Edge towards Wheelstones.

The Salt Cellar

Possibly the most attractive of these wind-swept rock formations is the stack of stones called the Salt Cellar. Loved by children and adults alike who scramble over the stones like frenzied ants, posing for the ultimate ‘must-have’ Peak District selfie or portrait.

Derwent-Edge-Peak-District

 

Extending Your Hike

If you have time, it is worth extending your hike and taking a long, but very scenic way back. After the Salt Cellar, you’ll see a path heading down the hill on your left, towards the Derwent reservoir.

Take this path and, eventually, you’ll pass an old shepherd’s hut by a stile. Continue down the hill until you come to the tarmac track along the banks of the reservoir. 

Turn right and walk to the Derwent Dam Wall, a huge stone wall that towers above you. After a wet spell, water cascades over the top and down the wall to the river below before flowing into the Ladybower. This is really a stunning sight and you must see it at least once in your lifetime.

Call in at the cafe across the other side of the dam wall for a well-earned coffee, cake or bacon roll then follow the path by either bank of the Derwent back to your start point.

Derwent-Reservoir-Peak-District

Getting There

By Train: There are regular trains from Sheffield or Manchester that stops at the village of Bamford. You can then walk through the village to the start point (adds another 2 miles to the hike).

By Car: Take the A57 from Sheffield city centre (head out towards the University). From Manchester, the A57 Snake Pass also brings you to the start point. For parking see above. Note that this area can be very busy on holidays and the summer months so arrive early.

By Bus: The number 257 bus, operated by Hulleys, runs from Sheffield Interchange and stops right next to the start point of this walk at the Ladybower Inn. Be warned that the last return bus to Sheffield is quite early during the day! The timetable is on the Hulleys website.

Where to Stay

The nearby Ladybower Inn and Yorkshire Bridge Inn both have good value rooms available. For a little more decadence, as a special celebration perhaps, then the Loosehill House Hotel just beyond Hope offers great views and a relaxing, quiet setting.

There are plenty of cottages and Airbnbs available nearby, or why not combine your walk with a night on the tiles in nearby Sheffield with its range of hotels to suit every budget.

Where to Eat

You have a choice of three excellent pubs where you can eat or drink at the end of your walk. The Ladybower Inn is the obvious choice as it is barely 5 metres from the end of the walk. Another nearby option is the Yorkshire Bridge Inn, which is about half of a mile along the A6013, just past the dam wall and those fascinating sinkholes. A third option is a little further away, but ideal if you’re walking back to the train station. The Angler’s Rest is a homely community-run pub and cafe (and post office) and can be found on the bend in the road at the top of the village before the church. I’ve eaten in all three, many times, and can recommend all of them. However, I would recommend calling ahead to reserve a table, even outside peak times as they are all very popular.

Slightly further afield, you’ll find great country pubs all over this region, some of my favourites being Ye Olde Bowling Green Inn at Bradwell  (you must try the Desperate Dan pies!), The Cheshire Cheese at Hope and its namesake in Castleton. If you fancy an Indian meal, then the Maazi at Hathersage is one of the best Indian restaurants I’ve eaten in, outside of India and Bangladesh of course.

Other Nearby Attractions

 

If you’re around for two or more days and your appetite for the Peak District’s glorious “edges” has been whet, take a look at another of my edge walks, this one along the Curbar and Froggatt Edges.

Nearby Sheffield offers a host of restaurants, bars, museums and shops. My post on things to do in Sheffield may inspire you or, if like me you love craft beer, check out my post on the best places to drink beer in Sheffield.

Not far from the Ladybower Reservoir are the attractions of Chatsworth House and Castleton’s unique Blue John Mines.  You could go for a refreshing swim in the open air, but heated, pool at Hathersage. If it rains, try the fascinating David Mellor Visitor Centre just outside Hathersage where you’ll find a range of exhibits from his design contribution to the street furniture and household items we otherwise take for granted.

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