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Upper Derwent Valley


Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire, Derbyshire, S33 0BU
Derwent Dam

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Sometimes referred to as Derbyshire's Lake District, the Peak District National Park's Upper Derwent Valley is known for its majestic reservoirs, spectacular scenery, peaceful forests and wild open spaces.

The area is home to three large dams, known as the Derwent Dams, which offer some of the area's most spectacular scenery. The dams are called Ladybower, Derwent and Howden, which form Ladybower Reservoir, Derwent Reservoir and Howden Reservoir respectively.

Surrounded by magnificent countryside and rugged edges, the Upper Derwent Valley boasts some of the area's most popular walks and cycle routes.

An ideal starting point for your visit to the area is the Peak District National Park's Visitor Centre at Fairholmes in Bamford (postcode: S33 0AQ). The centre is a great base from which to explore the Upper Derwent Valley and surrounding moorlands.

Charming villages in the area include Bamford, Hathersage - known for its plethora of outdoor shops and unique outdoor swimming pool - Grindleford and Calver, where you'll find great independent shops, cosy pubs and great places to eat, so you can rest and refuel after a busy day exploring. 

In World War II, the topographical similarity between the Upper Derwent Valley and the Ruhr Valley of Germany led to the dams being used for practice runs for the Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron (the Dam Busters) before their attack on the Ruhr dams. The world-famous Dam Busters film was subsequently filmed here, and the area has seen various commemorative flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.



  • Picnic site


  • Children welcome


  • Parking with charge

Property Facilities

  • Dogs accepted
  • Public toilets


Map & Directions


  • Visit EnglandVisitEngland Quality Assured Visitor Attraction VisitEngland Quality Assured Visitor Attraction 2019

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