Upper Derwent Valley Reservoirs, The Peak District,Near Sheffield

A 15 mile cycle route which takes you around the three reservoirs which make up the Upper Derwent Valley reservoirs. The surface is mixed being of woodland trails, gravel paths and some tarmac roads. It can be a bit challenging in places and you can always choose to walk these small sections of the ride. Cycle hire is available in the area from Peak Cycle Hire, Fairholme Car Park Derwent, Bamford. S33 0AQ. which is situated on the east bank of the reservoir near to the start of this route.

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The Upper Derwent Valley Reservoirs consists of The
Howden Reservoir (Northern part) which was built in 1912, The Derwent reservoir (Centre Part) and Ladybower Reservoir (Southern part) which when it opened was the longest reservoir in Britain. In the construction of the reservoirs the villages of Ashopton and Derwent were flooded. The Derwent and Howden reservoirs are the place that the famous 633 Squadron trained with the ‘bouncing bomb’ during the second world war for their famous Dam Buster raids.

Starting from the Fairholmes Visitors Centre which is situated just off the A57 on the western bank of the reservoirs just south of the central Derwent Dam. From the visitors centre cycle to your left along the bank of the reservoir and past the Derwent Dam.

After about one and a quarter miles you pass Ouzelden Clough and pass the small village of Birchinlee which was built originally to house the workers who worked on the dam. The village had the nickname of ‘tin town’ as most of the buildings were made of corrugated sheets and they have nearly all vanished now.

Continue along the trail and after three quarters of a mile you reach The Howden Dam on your right. Cycle past the dam following the trail and it bends left around the small estuary and back again by Ridge Wood.

At Ridge Wood you come to a gate which you pass through and the next section of the cycle ride becomes a bit more challenging for the next few miles. Follow the forest trail as it takes you uphill through the woods and eventually brings you out at the northern tip of Howden reservoir. At the northern end of the reservoir the trail brings you out of the trees where you take the right hand fork which takes you down to the small pack horse bridge over the water. This bridge was originally built in Derwent village and was moved and rebuilt here before they flooded the village for the reservoir. After crossing the bride  the trail takes you sharp left and then after 50 yards you TURN RIGHT up the trail which takes you back down the eastern side of the reservoirs.

Cycle along the trail which is a bit rough in places as it takes you back towards the Howden Dam, passing Ronksley Wood along the way. After 2 miles you reach the Howden Dam and by now you will be cycling along a tarmac surface.

Continue along the trail past the Howden Dam as it takes you along the edge of the Derwent Reservoir and after one and three quarters of a mile you come to the Derwent Dam. If you wish you can cross the dam and return to the Fairholmes Visitors Centre should you want to have a shorter route.

Continue Past the Derwent Dam with the water on your right hand side as you head down to the southern point of the Ladybower Reservoir. After three miles you reach the southern end of the trail where you TURN RIGHT along the A57 and cycle across The Ashopton Viaduct. After 200 yards on the other side of the bridge TURN RIGHT up the road signposted for Derwent Water. Cycle along the road for two and a half miles where you arrive back at The Fairholmes Visitors Centre. The Start/Finish of your cycle ride.

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