Peak District Kids writer: Helen from Little Puddle People
Langsett Reservoir is a really special place bursting full of rare wildlife and offers one of the best Peak District reservoir walks. Indeed, this circular Langsett Reservoir walk takes you right around the entire reservoir.
Boasting stunning views across the moorlands and down to the glistening water of the reservoir, there is something really soul-filling about this place. Interesting history of the area weaves it’s way through the land as it was once used to practice the Normandy invasion, with old tracks and bullet scars to show for it, offering interesting imaginary conversation with kids along the route.
The changing terrain and environments on this Langsett Reservoir walk keeps everyone interested; from pretty ancient woodland with twisting tree roots and muddy paths, to open moorland between the heather and bilberry, to tall towering pine forest with cones to fill your pockets.
This Langsett Reservoir walk really is a magical Peak District walk for families. We encourage you to take your time and notice the surroundings, tune into the bird song and really see what it is home too. We heard a Cuckoo calling, which is now becoming more and more rare to hear. We saw a family of Oyster Catchers, usually a wading coastal bird enjoying the shoreline, and saw Grebes diving in the deeper water. I wonder what you will see?!
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.
Map of Langsett Reservoir walk
On all Peak District family walks it’s a good idea to have an Ordnance Survey paper map with you, even if you are using a mapping app on your phone. For this walk you need the OS Explorer Map OL1 (Dark Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
This Langsett Reservoir walk follows the below OS Map in an anticlockwise direction.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 5.8km
TYPE OF WALK: circular reservoir walk
PARKING: Langsett Barn Yorkshire Water car park. Click here for Google Map point. Postcode is S36 9FD. Please note that parking is currently free, but a notice says they are introducing charges later this year, so check the website for updates before travelling.
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Such an interesting place from the flora and fauna to the history and it’s stunning views.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Allow at least 3 hours.
ACCESSIBILITY: This walk is not pram friendly as the paths are often rocky, and uneven with exposed tree roots. There are no stiles, but there are steps and gates
TOTAL ASCENT: 173m
START: Langsett Barn Yorkshire Water car park. Click here for Google Map point. Postcode is S36 9FD
1. From the car park take the path that looks like the one in the photo below. A few meters ahead there is an information sign and the path splits in two, keep to the right and follow the path downhill. The reservoir should be on your left.
2. After some time walking through woodland the path splits in two again. Keeping left this time you’ll start to head down a steeper path that turns to cobbles.
3. As you pass over a bridge, on your right is a shallow area where The Little Don River feeds into Langsett Reservoir. You can access this area through a gate on the right (it’s a lovely picnic spot). If you don’t wish to stop here continue across the bridge and through the gate straight in front of you, to the left of the information board.
4. The path begins to head up hill through the bracken, with evidence of it being an old track it becomes rocky and has steps in places. As you reach the top of the hill and look back you get incredible views towards Langsett Reservoir. The path then plateaus along the moorland.
5. As you continue, take the left path leading down hill with Langsett Reservoir on your left in the far distance. The views are really something up here!
6. As you reach the bottom of the hill, you enter an area known as ‘North America’. There are ruins from an old farm building that kids will love exploring. See if you can spot bullet marks in the rocks from when this area was used as a training ground in World War 2. Head through the gate and continue to follow the path down in and back into woodland.
7. Head through another gate and follow the path to the left as it forks. The path can be narrow and steep in places along this section, weaving along the edge of the woodland with exposed tree roots and rocks.
8. Finally you will reach an area where you can get down to the waters edge; enjoy the sound of the calming waves, look for water foul, and skim stones. Our advice here is to not walk along the beach, but once you’ve finished playing, walk back up the way you came and re-join the path. It heads away from the reservoir, taking the path to the right and climb some steps. Keep following the path along through the woods until you reach a gate. Head through the gate and left down the lane.
9. At the bottom of the lane head left. This is a road, so please take care with children. Soon you’ll be walking across the dam wall on a pavement. The Waggon and Horses pub / Bank House Café is just ahead of you.
10. If you are not heading to the pub and want to return to the car park, take the path on your left as you cross the dam wall, through a gate, just before a stunning house that looks like a castle.
11. At the end of the path turn right and you’ll see the car park just ahead of you. You have completed the full circular Langsett Reservoir walk.
After your Langsett Reservoir walk
Just next to the car park is the Waggon & Horses pub, serving fresh cooked meals, snacks and drinks. They have a large beer garden with great views over to Langsett Reservoir. Across the road is Bank View Café serving ice cream, cakes, full breakfasts and more.
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.