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The BEST Peak District reservoir walks

The BEST Peak District reservoir walks

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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When planning your 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.

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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 or what3words, which are provided on every walk guide.

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.

Don’t leave home without your Peak District OS Map!

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Map of our Peak District reservoir walks

1. Tittesworth Reservoir – 2.8km

Tittesworth Reservoir walk guide
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Tittesworth Reservoir walk

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.

© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

2. Broomhead Reservoir – 3.6km

Broomhead Reservoir walk guide
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Broomhead Reservoir walk

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.

Broomhead Reservoir walk OS Map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

3. Valehouse Reservoir – 3.7km

Valehouse Reservoir walk guide
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Valehouse Reservoir walk

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.

Valehouse Reservoir walk OS map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

4. Dovestone Reservoir – 4.2km

Dovestone Reservoir walk guide
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Dovestone Reservoir walk

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.

© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

5. Ramsden Reservoir walk – 4.2km

Ramsden walk guide
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Ramsden Reservoir walk

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.

© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

6. Dale Dike Reservoir – 4.8km

Dale Dike walk guide
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Dale Dike Reservoir walk

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.

Dale Dike Reservoir walk OS map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

7. Langsett Reservoir walk – 5.8km

Langsett Reservoir walk guide
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Langsett Reservoir walk

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.

OS map of Langsett Reservoir walk
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

8. Damflask Reservoir – 6km

Damflask Reservoir walk guide
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Damflask Reservoir walk

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.

Damflask Reservoir walk OSmap
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

9. Errwood Reservoir – 8.3km

Errwood Reservoir walk guide
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Errwood Reservoir walk

Over in the western part of Derbyshire’s Peak District, not too far from Buxton, lies the beautiful Goyt Valley, a popular hiking destination with moorland paths and two large reservoirs fed by the River Goyt, one of these being Errwood Reservoir.

This Errwood Reservoir walk starts on the northern end of the reservoir and takes in the once-magnificent Errwood Hall before following a woodland path that leads alongside the River Goyt upstream to a 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 extremely muddy in wet weather.

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 along the road. There are plenty of picturesque spots along the way to stop for a picnic. 

Please not that this is not a flat walk, with lots of ups and downs as you circumnavigate Errwood Reservoir. However, it really is one of the most beautiful Peak District reservoir walks, and if little legs are up for it, you may want to extend this to add on Shining Tor (although this would make for quite a mammoth day).

Errwood Reservoir walk OS map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

10. Ladybower Reservoir – 9.1km

Ladybower Reservoir walk guide
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Ladybower Reservoir walk

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.

Ladybower Reservoir walk OS Map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

11. Carsington Water – 12km

Carsington Water walk guide
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Carsington Water

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.

Carsington Water walk OS map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

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!

Also, feel free to share your walk photos in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group or on Instagram using the #peakdistrictkids hashtag so we can share with our wider community.

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


Or, use the search walks page to find your perfect family walk.

Also, come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group for any questions or to share photos of your walks.

You may also like to read:
Best pub walks in the Peak District
Best walks in the Peak District for views
Best river walks in the Peak District