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Bicycle ride around the Derwent reservoirs - Ladybower - Derbyshire Peak District cycling

A fairly level cycle route with not too much rough ground going around Derwent, Howden and part of Ladybower Reservoirs. This starts from Fairholmes Information Centre at the head of Ladybower Reservoir.

Derwent Reservoirs circuit


Route Info
cycle map
Difficulty level: 2  (1 to 5 scale)
Distance: 25.00 km
Estimated time: 3 hours - excluding stops
Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map sheet(s): 110
See start location on Streetmap

The Upper Derwent Valley is a popular venue for cyclists, with routes for both mountain bikers and other cyclists. The circuit of all three reservoirs, Ladybower, Derwent and Howden is a very good ride, in magnificent scenery. A lot of the route is on rough tracks so a mountain bike is advisable, but this is a fairly flat route as mountain bike routes go, with relatively little rough ground.

Howden Reservoir
Howden Reservoir
Start from the car park and information centre at Fairholmes. From there, follow the tarmac road up the valley, past Derwent Dam, alongside Derwent Reservoir, to reach Howden Dam and Reservoir. Continue alongside Howden Reservoir to King's Tree, where the road ends. Go through the gate and continue along the rough track towards Slippery Stones and the packhorse bridge, which once stood at Derwent village. There is a ford along this section with a steep approach - it is very easy to take it too fast and end up in the water!

Slippery Stones
Slippery Stones
Cross the packhorse bridge to the other side of the River Derwent - here no more than a stream. Continue leftwards for a short distance to reach a track which comes across at a higher level, then turn back right to follow this track back along the eastern side of the reservoirs. This track is fairly rough for most of the length of Howden Reservoir, but improves when you reach Derwent Reservoir. On reaching Derwent Dam it is possible to cut the ride short (about 15km) by taking a right turn and returning to Fairholmes.

The longer route continues alongside Ladybower Reservoir, passing through what remains of Derwent Village (the rest is under the waters of the reservoir) to eventually reach the A57 Glossop - Sheffield road at Ashopton Viaduct. Turn right over the viaduct then right again to follow the minor road alongside the reservoir and return to Fairholmes.

Cycle hire is available from the Fairholmes Information Centre.

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Derwent Reservoirs circuit Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Derwent Dam
0 - Derwent Dam
Derwent Dam overflowing
1 - Derwent Dam overflowing
Upper Derwent - Slippery Stones packhorse bridge
2 - Upper Derwent - Slippery Stones packhorse bridge
Derwent Valley - Howden Dam
3 - Derwent Valley - Howden Dam
Derwent Dams - Howden reservoir
4 - Derwent Dams - Howden reservoir
Ladybower - Ashopton Viaduct and Bamford Edge
5 - Ladybower - Ashopton Viaduct and Bamford Edge

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