Derwent Valley Heritage Way. Day 1: Ladybower Reservoir to Hathersage.

The plan is to walk the length of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way (55 miles, 88,5 Km) over 6 days. I could do it over a shorter period but I wanted to give myself some time to enjoy the walk without any pressure to get anywhere quickly. I booked 4 night’s accommodation, day 5 I’ll be back in Derby and day 6 getting the bus back to Derby.

I intend publishing a more detailed post on why I am doing this and how it went later. Meanwhile some words and pictures!

For a map of the path, click here:

Day 1: Train + bus to Ladybower Reservoir, walk to Hathersage.

Train on time, weather’s fine, glimpses of the river I will be following back.

I got it wrong. Train to Sheffield, Hope Valley railway to Bamford then bus. No bus. Cuts?

Discuss with self: Start from here or walk north to the reservoir? Courage mon ami, vas y!

Fortified by a bacon sarnie from Bamford Bakery, I stride northward to the Reservoir, knowing I will be retracing my steps. Hang on; the whole thing is retracing my steps.

Looking North :

Then South:

Then onwards:

The Way- that sounds kind of mystic and, at first I refused to use it. The Path, is that better? I’ll stick to the path and capitalise a bit less.

After a few glimpses of the Derwent,

the path quickly moves away from the Derwent, following an old rail track (the Thornhill Trail) which originally brought the stone to build the reservoir.

The path continues to climb and glimpses of the Derwent become more infrequent. I have to remind myself – as I will have to do at various stages of the walk- that this is the Derwent Valley way and not the Derwent River way.

At Shatton though, the path rejoins the river and follows its meanderings all the way to Leadmill Bridge, my stopping point for the day.


The boots might be made for walking but the feet are suffering!

These early stepping stones and these,

hint at the role of the river not that long ago, something I think a lot about over the next few days. This walk isn’t about getting away from it all- the railway and roads are not that far away and can often be heard. More and more as I walk along I am drawn to imagining a time when this area was not more rural but more industrial. A more modern tribute to the power of water and the importance of the fertile land can be seen at Ladybower Reservoir and along the Thornhill Trail by way of two sculptures or Touchstones, created to mark the millenium:

Meanwhile, there’s a harvest to be brought in.

I cannot afford to stay at the Plough Inn at Leadmill Bridge though I do enjoy a pint of Black Sheep (£3.40 a pint mind!) in the hot sun. I make my way up to Hathersage and the cheaper Little John Hotel. Didn’t you know? Hathersage is where Little John was buried. Fact!?

It was worth the trip up to the church in Hathersage

to see some of the other tombstones-many of the women of the village outlived the men by many years. A harsh reminder of some of the grim conditions in the various industries that used the power of the river to thrive.

Day2 to follow: any comments or views welcome.



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4 responses to “Derwent Valley Heritage Way. Day 1: Ladybower Reservoir to Hathersage.”

  1. Adey Greaves says :

    Very hopeful that by now you have finished your walk and that all is well.

    I email you from the roof terrace at my hotel in Sorrento. Such beauty I have never seen. Worth a visit Paddy – although a tad on the expensive side for food, beer etc.

  2. Mari says :

    I know I am rather late in leaving this comment, having been without internet access while we were away. Despite our lovely holiday I find myself envying you and your walk. Your pictures remind me of the Gwaun Valley to some extent. The walk looks really beautiful but also interesting from a historical point of view, however I know I would not have been able to do the number of miles you were completing each day. I look forward to the next installment.

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