More commonly known for its rolling dales and dramatic escarpments, the Peak District is somewhat lacking in lakes. Indeed, this is the Peak District, not the Lake District. But, there are some stunning reservoirs dotted around the National Park, especially in the Dark Peak, which make for a lovely Peak District reservoir walk.
The Ladybower Reservoir walk and the Carsington Reservoir walk are perhaps the most popular Peak District reservoir walks (although the latter is actually outside the National Park). But did you know that (according to Wikipedia) there are no less than 31 reservoirs in the Peak District National Park?
Here we have compiled our favourite Peak District reservoir walks for you from the family walks and pram friendly walks featured on this website. These have been ordered according to distance, from a quick stroll, to longer walks that fill the entire day.
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If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds if visiting over sunny weekends or school holidays. 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.
During the winter months, it’s important to be extra prepared and safe when out walking and adventuring in the Peak District. The weather can change so quickly, especially on the exposed escarpments, and we don’t want you to get caught out.
Read our top tips for safe winter walking with the kids.
PARKING INFORMATION: Please do not rely solely on the postcode for parking directions. In the National Park, a postcode can cover a large area. Postcodes are only provided as guidance. Please either use the Google Maps point provided for every walk, or what3words.
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.
Download and print out our walking guides ready for your family walk. There are over 80 downloadable walk guides available, and these include all the main Peak District family walks, pram-friendly walks, and toddler walks.
Each printable download is just £1.50, whether it’s a short 1km stroll or an epic walk up Kinder Scout.
Don’t leave home without your Peak District OS Map!
- For the northern half of the Peak District you will need the OS Dark Peak map. This covers Kinder Scout, Bleaklow, Black Hill and Ladybower Resevoir
- For the southern half of the Peak District you will need the OS White Peak map. This covers Buxton, Bakwell, Matlock and Dovedale.
- Ordnance Survey (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 1 Page – 02/24/2020 (Publication Date) – Ordnance Survey (Publisher)
- Ordnance Survey (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 1 Page – 06/24/2019 (Publication Date) – Ordnance Survey (Publisher)
Map of our Peak District reservoir walks
1. Tittesworth Reservoir – 2.8km
On the Staffordshire edge of the Peak District not far from Leek is Tittesworth Reservoir, the perfect place for families with a range of walking trails to suit all ages and abilities.
There’s a couple of short accessible routes including this 2.8 km pram friendly loop. The walk offers beautiful views across Tittesworth Reservoir, sheltered woodland and a shallow river for paddling so don’t forget to bring the kids wellies or waterproof boots. The paths are a mixture of flat gravel terrain and wooden boardwalks, so perfect for a toddler walk, prams and buggies.
A highlight for the kids is the fantastic playground which has two separate play areas for different ages, a zip line and sand pit. It’s one of the best playgrounds in the Peak District. There’s also plenty of picnic benches, a take-away café and the Waterview Restaurant.
If you’re looking for a longer walk, there’s also a 4.5 km trail and 7.5 km complete reservoir loop. Or for something a little different, you might want to try out paddle boarding or kayaking at the Tittesworth Water Sport and Activity Centre.
2. Broomhead Reservoir – 3.6km
The Broomhead Reservoir walk sits within the South Yorkshire and Sheffield area of the Peak District National Park. With waves gently lapping at the shore and sandy secluded beaches to enjoy a picnic, this is a peaceful walk where you are gently reminded of the sea. And the area commonly referred to as the ‘Mangrove’ (a tangle of knotted trees growing from within and beside the water) is an interesting places to climb and find fungi.
With it’s changing terrain, this is a fun walk for kids, but it’s also one of the best flat walks in the Peak District.
3. Valehouse Reservoir – 3.7km
Situated on the Manchester edge of the Peak District National Park, this is an easy-going circular walk around Valehouse Reservoir that takes you over both Valehouse Reservoir Dam and Rhodeswood Reservoir Dam. There are interesting weirs and plug holes to spot enroute that help manage the flow of water along the reservoirs; Valehouse Reservoir is just one reservoir along a string of five in this region of the Peak District.
Much of the route is along paved lanes (some of which are accessed by very infrequent cars or tractors). This walk would be added to our list of Peak District pram-friendly walks, except the last section is along a very rocky path.
Please note that there is no direct access to the water along this Valehouse Reservoir walk, and swimming or paddling in the reservoir is strictly prohibited.
4. Dovestone Reservoir – 4.2km
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. It is also the most popular Peak District reservoir walk for those visiting the National Park from Manchester, and can get exceptionally busy on sunny weekends and bank holidays.
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.
5. Ramsden Reservoir walk – 4.2km
In the far north-eastern tip of Yorkshire’s Peak District, this circular Ramsden Reservoir walk offers lots of variety to keep all family members happy; there’s the beautiful views over the reservoir itself, woodland and streams to play in, open pastures, and even a pub-stop enroute. The route doesn’t strictly stick to a loop around the reservoir (although this is possible), but that’s what makes this walk so interesting!.
This is quite a hilly route with lots of ups and downs as you pass between streams, but it never feels a slog due to all the natural play distractions and gorgeous views. Indeed, allow a good 3-4 hours for this walk, even though it’s only 4km.
6. Dale Dike Reservoir – 4.3km
The Dale Dike Reservoir walk oozes with calm and tranquillity as you amble through woodland and meadows following the water’s edge. Waves gently lap against the sandy shores, twisted old trees grow as close to the reservoir as possible, and the sky reflects upon the water; you can’t help but feel relaxed here. Plus, the surrounding fields with grazing cows, geese and sheep make this a really wonderful, diverse environment for a Peak District family walk.
Dale Dike Reservoir (also sometime spelt Dale Dyke Reservoir) was the site of the Great Sheffield Flood when the Dam failed in 1864 killing over 250 people. There is signage enroute with more information about this catastrophic event. Watch the below YouTube video to find out more before your visit.
7. Langsett Reservoir walk – 5.8km
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.
8. Damflask Reservoir – 6km
Near the quaint little village of Low Bradfield is Damflask Reservoir, lying in the Loxley valley not far from Sheffield. Starting from Low Bradfield village, it’s just a short walk to get to the reservoir path. The whole route is completely pram friendly with well-surfaced paths, although it can get muddy in the wetter months so make sure you wear appropriate footwear.
This circular walk follows the water’s edge closely on one side with woodland on the other side. Wellies are a good choice for kids so that they can paddle in the water. On the second half of the walk, there’s also some great little woodland paths and dens for the kids to play in.
Enjoy the beautiful open views across the water all the way around and look out for the small waterfalls feeding into the reservoir. There’s plenty of benches to stop and watch the sailing boats too.
If you’ve worked up an appetite by the time you get back to the village, The Schoolrooms offer a fabulous breakfast and lunch menu, as well as a good selection of cakes. There’s also a playground if the kids still have energy left to burn.
9. Errwood Reservoir – 7.4km
Over in the western part of the Peak District lies the beautiful Goyt Valley, a popular hiking destination with moorland paths and two large reservoirs fed by the River Goyt. This Errwood Reservoir walk starts on the west side of the reservoir with an optional detour to the ruins of the once magnificent Errwood Hall. The route takes the woodland path down to the bottom of the reservoir and then follows the River Goyt upstream to the Packhorse Bridge.
Crossing the bridge over the river, you then head back towards Errwood Reservoir across the moorland. From this point, the path is narrow, rocky and muddy in wet weather so not suitable for prams.
The final part of the walk continues to follow the reservoir anti-clockwise, walking along the valley hillside to the dam wall and back to the car park. There’s plenty of picturesque spots along the way to stop for a picnic.
10. Ladybower Reservoir – 9.1km
The pram friendly Ladybower Reservoir walk is a 9.1km loop around one half of the Y-shaped Ladybower Reservoir, with well-surfaced paths all the way round.
This clockwise route continues along the eastern side of the reservoir where the lost villages once stood before the area was flooded to create the reservoir. There are beautiful views all the way around but some of the best are from this part of the walk, looking across the water to the woods on the western side. Then after crossing over Ashopton Viaduct at the south end, the route follows the road back up the western side and then drops down onto the woodland path, returning back to the start.
It is also possible to cycle Ladybower Reservoir, but this takes a slightly different route to the walking route.
11. Carsington Water – 12km
Carsington Water is technically outside of the Peak District National Park, but as it’s such a beautiful stretch of water and easily accessible, we felt that we needed to include it here in the best Peak District reservoir walks.
There are shorter 1.5 km and 5 km walking routes at Carsington Water, but the pram-friendly 12km Carsington Water walk is a varied route with lots to see along the way.
This is one of our longer walks so if you’ve got little legs in tow, make sure they’re up for the whole loop. The route is well-surfaced limestone paths with some short uphill sections. Please note that the route is slightly different to the Carsington Water cycle route as there has been some effort too keep cyclists separate from walkers for some sections for safety purposes.
There’s plenty to keep both the adults and kids entertained along the walk around Carsington water with beautiful views across the reservoir, bird hides and carved wooded sculptures to spot. There’s even a little shelter with carved furniture inside for the kids to explore.
There are three available car parks but we recommend starting at the Sheepwash car park, which means the play area is near the end of the walk and can be used as an incentive to keep the kids going. After a play, why not treat yourselves to an ice cream from the Visitor Centre to enjoy along the final section of the walk.
If you want to spend more time at Carsington Reservoir, then the Visitor Centre provides a fun interactive exhibition of the journey of rainwater to our taps. There’s also a wildlife centre and watersports available for the more adventurous.
Peak District Kids is a free online resource. If you have found this website useful for planning your family adventures, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much!
Or perhaps purchase a Peak District Kids iron-on patch. £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.
Want more ideas for family walks?
Best Family Walks in the Peak District
Pram Friendly Peak District walks
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.