Peak District Kids writer: Gemma from Families Can Travel
Dovestone Reservoir is located in the north of the Peak District near the town of Oldham in Greater Manchester. This short pram friendly walk in the Peak District offers a well-surfaced route around the reservoir with spectacular views across the water and steep-sided moors and crags.
The route is easy going so perfect for the whole family all year round. There’s plenty to keep the kids happy with detours into the woods and giant rocks to climb by the water’s edge. There’s also a memorial forest to explore where families have planted trees in memory of their loved ones.
Wellies are a good option for this walk and in the colder months, you’ll want to wrap up warm as the route is quite exposed.
Please note this is also the most popular Peak District reservoir walks for those visiting the National Park from Manchester, and can get exceptionally busy on sunny weekends and bank holidays.
If you want to extend this Dovestone Reservoir walk, you can continue to the other two reservoirs in the valley – Yeoman Hey Reservoir and Greenfield Reservoir. Or for something more challenging, you can climb up to the iconic Trinnacle, a dramatic stack of three stone pillars sitting high up overlooking the reservoir. Please note that the footpath to the Trinnacle is not pram friendly and involves a steep climb up and scramble back down.
If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas. Also, please use these walks as a guide; access and stiles may change.
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Do check out our top tips for hiking with young kids, as well as our essential items to take on a family hike in the Peak District.
Dovestone Reservoir circular walk map
On all Peak District family walks it’s a good idea to have an Ordnance Survey paper map with you, even if you have your phone on you. For this walk you need the OS Explorer Active Map OL24 (White Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
Our Dovestone Reservoir route follows the below map in an anti-clockwise direction.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 4.2km
TYPE OF WALK: Mostly flat, gravel paths and pram friendly all the way around
PARKING: Dovestone Car Park – click here for Google Maps location, postcode: OL3 7NE. 0-2 hours £1, 0-4 hours £2, all day £4. Machines take cash payment only. Parking is limited so it’s best to get there early. There is a second car park – Binn Green Car Park – click here for Google Maps location, postcode: Oldham OL3 7NN. If parking here, for a pram friendly route you will need to follow the road back down to the left hand turn and start the route from step 8.
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Spectacular views across the reservoir and hillside moorland.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Allow 2-3 hours for this walk, including a stop for a picnic.
ACCESSIBILTY: Pram friendly, well-surfaced gravel paths with a few slight uphill sections.
TOTAL ASCENT: 93 metres
PUBLIC TOILETS: There are public toilets at the car park. There is normally a drinks and snack van in the car park but no other facilities for food and drink. The closest pub is The Clarence, less than 2 km away in the nearby village of Greenfield.
START: Dovestone Reservoir carpark
1. Walk up to the top of the car park, passing the toilets on your right-hand side. When you reach the reservoir, look for the signpost for Dove Stone circular walk and follow the path anti-clockwise following the rabbit signpost.
2. With the reservoir on your left, follow the path for 300 metres past the Sailing Club until you reach a metal gate.
3. Go through the gate and continue on the path for 400 metres until you reach a bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left to cross another small wooden bridge, following the signpost to Ashway Gap.
4. Follow the path slightly uphill as it snakes to the right and then back around to the left. After 800 metres, you can bear left through the gate to walk through Pennyworth Wood. Or for the pram friendly route, continue straight ahead on the gravel path.
5. Continue on either path for 550 metres until you reach a bridge. Where the Pennyworth Wood path meets back up with the pram friendly path, there is a picnic area to stop and enjoy some lunch.
6. Cross over the bridge and continue for 400 metres until you reach the damn wall between Dovestone Reservoir (on your left) and Yeoman Hey Reservoir (on your right). You’ll also notice the footpath on your right up to the Trinnacle.
7. Cross the 200-metre dam wall, stopping to admire the view back across Dovestone Reservoir.
8. At the end, turn left and follow the path a further 50 metres until you see a metal gate on your left. Go through the gate and follow the path downhill back towards the water’s edge.
9. Continue along the path for 1 km, closely following the reservoir on your left all the way back to the other end. This section of the walk has some good rocks near the water for climbing on and also some fun detours where the kids can dash in and out of the woods.
10. At the other end of the reservoir, follow the path which takes a sharp left turn and then crosses over the overflow.
11. Continue back across the 500-metre dam wall until you reach the car park on your left.
Peak District Kids is a free online resource. If you enjoyed one of our walks, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much! You may also want to share your own photos from our walks in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group.
Or visit the Peak District Kids shop. £1 from every sale of the iron-on patches goes towards the Peak District National Park Foundation, a registered charity established to raise funds to care for The Peak District National Park.
Also, feel free to share your walk photos with us on Instagram. Please follow us and use the #peakdistrictkids hashtag so we can share with our wider community.
Want more ideas for family walks?
Check out our Best Family Walks in the Peak District and our Pram Friendly Peak District walks. Or you may be looking for shorter Toddler walks in the Peak District.
Also, come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group for any questions or to share photos of your walks.