Ladybower Inn Circular via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs walk

A grassy ridge to Britain’s longest inland landslip. Descend to skirt the famous Derwent Reservoirs. Hilly return options across moors or along edges.

The Tower, Alport Castles SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

The Tower, Alport Castles

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

05-Sep-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Win Hill Pike, from Thornhill Brink, with Stanage End behind SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs) [Win Hill Ending]

Win Hill Pike, from Thornhill Brink, with Stanage End behind

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs) [Win Hill Ending]

21-Oct-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Engineered Path towards Alport Castles, Bleaklow looming in the distance SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

Engineered Path towards Alport Castles, Bleaklow looming in the distance

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

05-Sep-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Landslipped Area, Alport Castles SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

Landslipped Area, Alport Castles

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

05-Sep-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Lone Walker in Cold Side SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

Lone Walker in Cold Side

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

05-Sep-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Bench with Views, Upper Derwent Reservoir SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

Bench with Views, Upper Derwent Reservoir

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs)

05-Sep-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Hey Ridge, separating Woodlands Valley and Alport Dale, from track up Blackley Hey SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs) [Win Hill Ending]

Hey Ridge, separating Woodlands Valley and Alport Dale, from track up Blackley Hey

SWC Walk 349 - Ladybower Inn Circular (via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs) [Win Hill Ending]

21-Oct-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk349 walkicon 49017648318

Length

26.9 km (16.7 mi), with 715m ascent/descent. For a shorter or longer walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

8 out of 10, with 6 ½ hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 12 ½ hours.

Walk Notes

You cross Ladybower Reservoir and rise through pastures to Crook Hill to follow a grassy ridge with fine views to Win Hill and the Great Ridge, out towards the Kinder Scout and Bleaklow upland peat bog plateaus and across the Derwent Valley to Derwent Edge. At Alport Castles, the fascinating site of Britain’s longest inland landslip with its rocky pinnacles and debris, you turn down from the ridge along a good track through grouse moors into the wooded Derwent Valley and follow Howden Reservoir’s shore to cross Slippery Stones packhorse bridge into the open wild countryside of the Upper Derwent Valley.
From there, the return route follows the famous Derwent Reservoirs (Howden, Derwent and Ladybower) back towards the start with ever-changing views across the large bodies of water, partly in open country, at other times flanked by enchanting woods.

Three variations of the return route break the long, nearly flat reservoir-side walk by climbing up a hill or ridge with fantastic views and descending back to the reservoirs further along.
A much shorter walk is possible by starting and/or finishing at the Fairholmes Visitor Centre bus stop.
An Alternative Ending from Alport Castles descends through the tranquil Alport Dale and crosses the Woodlands Valley to ascend Win Hill’s ridge with a choice of finishes, back at the Ladybower Inn or at Bamford Station.

Walk Options

An Alternative Start at Fairholmes Bus Stop (Line H1 Derwent Dams – Blue John Cavern, 7 buses per day Sat/Sun) cuts 4.4 km/2.7 mi and 100m ascent.
A Short Extension on Crook Hill leads over its twin tops rather than skirting around its base.
Three Variations in the Afternoon break the long, nearly flat reservoir-side return route by climbing up a hill or ridge with fantastic views and descending back to the reservoirs further along:

  • from the crossing of the Derwent River at Slippery Stones up to Howden Edge/Margery Hill and along the edges back down to Upper Derwent Reservoir (add 3.6 km/2.2 mi and 238m ascent).
  • from Abbey Tip Plantation up to Pike Low and on to Derwent Village (add 30m and 123m ascent);
  • up Grindle Clough to Whinstone Lee Tor and Lead Hill (add 1.3 km/0.8 mi and 152m ascent).
A Shorter Ending at Fairholmes Bus Stop (Line H1 – see above) is possible (cut 4.9 km/3.0 mi and 65m ascent). [Only the first of the Afternoon Variations is walkable.]
At the end of the walk, you could retrace the outbound route (higher and a bit longer, but quieter) instead of following the A57 Snake Road to the Ladybower Inn.

An Alternative Route leads from Alport Castles down through the Woodlands Valley and up to Win Hill. This is 22.4 km/13.9 mi long with 804m ascent, and also rated 8/10.
On the Alternative Route, a loop exploring the landslip area of Alport Castles is described.
On the Alternative Route, easier descent routes avoiding some or all of the steep and potentially slippery descent through the beautiful Parkin Clough are described.
A Shorter Ending of that Alternative Route finishes at the Yorkshire Bridge Inn with its bus stop (on the same lines as the Ladybower Inn).
An Alternative Ending of that Alternative Route descends from Win Hill to Bamford Station, reverse-walking the start of SWC 302 (map-led).

Maps

OS Explorer: OL1 (The Peak District – Dark Peak Area)
OS Landranger: 110 (Sheffield & Huddersfield)
Harvey Superwalker XT25: Peak District Central and North
Harvey British Mountain Map: Dark Peak

Travel

Ashopton, Ladybower Inn Bus Stop, map reference SK 204 864, is 16 km west of Sheffield City Centre, 233 km north west of Charing Cross, 221m above sea level, and in Derbyshire. It is served by bus lines 256/7/8 from Sheffield Interchange to Bakewell (journey time 28 mins from Sheffield (04/22: £4.00 one way, £6.00 return). Sheffield is the terminus of the Midland Main Line from London St. Pancras, with up to two trains per hour (journey time from 118 mins Mon-Sat, longer on Sundays).

Saturday Walkers’ Club: This walk can be done as a day walk from London, despite the infrequent bus service. Take a train no later than 8.00 hours.

Lunch

Picnic.

Tea

Derwent Café Fairholmes Visitor Centre, Bamford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 0AQ (01433 650 953). The Derwent Café in the Peak District Visitor Centre is located at the Fairholmes Ending. The Café is essentially a hot and cold food kiosk with a separate entrance to the VC, and it is often open a bit longer than the VC.
The Ladybower Inn Bamford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 0AX (01433 651 241). The Ladybower Inn is a quaint stone pub with rooms (some offering views of the picturesque Ladybower Reservoir).
The Yorkshire Bridge Inn Ashopton Road, Bamford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 0AZ (01433 651 361). The Yorkshire Bridge Inn is located 300m off route, 1.6 km from the end of the Win Hill Alternative.

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Start A57, Hope Valley, S33 0AX Map Directions

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

May-22 Thomas G

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk