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Saturday, 27 October 2018

Accessible Peak District - Derwent Dam

I've missed a couple of days, because Sunday we met up with friends and went to church, which was great but not very interesting to read about... and Saturday, we went to Leek, which is hilly and in places lacks dropped kerbs but does have a town crier, who recommended a great pub for lunch.


I did plenty of research before deciding on days out, so that we wouldn't waste days, attempting to access places that clearly aren't meant to be accessed. I found the Access for all website really helpful in doing my homework, and from there, I found some video clips of various places and decided that Monday would be a great day to go to the Derwent Dam (and Lady Bower reservoir and Howden Dam).

Photo of the information hut at the visitor centre

There is a decent sized car park at the visitor centre, which also has a food/drink kiosk and toilets, including an accessible one. Having done my research and having decided this venue was a mountain trike venue, I found it easier to leave my 'monster machine' outside the loo and hobble in without it. As it weighs a fair bit and has seriously good brakes, it's also a handy anchor point for Liggy.

The walk doesn't get much of a mention in the accessibility guide, which could be because it isn't an easy walk without some help. They apparently have a Tramper for hire but I prefer to struggle around with my trusty Husky (at least in her mind) and Neil. The walk offers some seriously stunning autumn scenery, with a forest in full colour on the opposite side of the reservoir. The sad thing for us, was the serious lack of water. In theory, levels are at 40% but in places, it was bone dry!

Photo showing an empty section of the reservoir

I seem to remember this being mentioned on the news recently (or maybe it was on Countryfile). A village that was buried when the reservoir was made, has become visible for the first time in decades.

Photo showing ruins of a house, visible only because the dam is empty.

The path is extremely hilly! Having said that, it's a good surface - mostly concrete - and is lovely and wide. We managed it fine between us, but I was glad we had decided to put the push handle on the back of my trike. Although it was a cool day, it was sunny and very pleasant to be outdoors. 

Photo of me in my mountain trike with Liggy attached at my side.

We took loads of photos of the walk, mostly of the dam and the scenery but this one shows how nice the paths are... and that it was definitely not flat.

Photo showing nice wide path reaching the brow of a hill

If you follow the road up from the visitor centre to the viewing point, there is a lovely photo-taking spot and we spent a while there just taking piccies. Here are a couple of the better ones...

Photo of the reservoir showing some water but lots of bank too. 
Photo of the dam with the two turrets

We then continued past the viewing point, along a flatter path but more of a dirt track. It was really quiet and peaceful and the views were even better! Here's one, looking back towards the dam.

Photo of the dam, showing from a distance

When we eventually wandered back to the turrets, Neil had a nosy through the gates. There is a memorial for the Dambusters (cue for a song) which looked like it should be more visible really. It would have been very easy to miss.

Photo showing a memorial to the Dambusters, with flags either side.

Eventually, we decided to head back to Flash, but even driving back, there were still plenty of photo opportunities. I love this one, if only because I didn't even look through the viewfinder. I just stuck the camera out of the window, whilst Neil was driving, upped the shutter speed and clicked...

Photo of the road bridge over the reservoir.

So, in summary, this was a wonderful place to spend the day. Facilities were great and the paths were well surfaced and wide but it was really hilly and my shoulders seriously killed all week. Was it worth it? Every bit!!!

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