Why You Should Visit the Derwent Dams in Derbyshire

Derwent Reservoir

I’ll admit it. I didn’t know the Derwent Dams in Derbyshire were used to practice the Dambuster raids during World War 2.

Also, I didn’t know that man-made structures could blend so seamlessly into the landscape – I do now…

Our friends at Accessible Derbyshire suggested we visit the Derwent Dams. We did, and I’d recommend you do too, especially if you have a blue badge…

The Derwent Dams

The dams are in the Upper Derwent Valley in the North-East of Derbyshire. There are three dams on three reservoirs, the Howden, Derwent and Ladybower.

Our first port of call was the visitor centre, it was busy, but there were plenty of disabled parking spaces, which are free for blue badge holders – yay!

Visitor Centre

We popped into the visitor centre to use the toilet and confirmed that although the road around the reservoirs is closed to traffic, we could still use it.

I’d been told the road is closed during busy periods to protect the road. It also makes it easier for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the scenery without dodging cars.

But, if you’re lucky enough to be disabled and have a blue badge, you can still use the road. Yes, I said lucky enough to be disabled because this is one of those times when it has its benefits.

If you’re a super fit chair user or on an electric scooter, you might be able to manage the route around the reservoirs.

The road does have a few inclines, but I did feel a bit envious of the walkers, who all seemed to be enjoying the trek.

If you do try it and struggle, there is a minibus that makes frequent trips around the reservoir, but check the times first.

The Route and Dams

Starting at the roundabout next to the visitor centre, you drive around the road closed sign and follow the road.

Road Around Derwent Reservoir

The Dam Builders

The Derwent Dams


Gate on the Dam

Flags and Memorial

View Over the Reservoir

Looking at the dam through the trees.

Active Dam on a Reservoir in the Peak District.

View Over Derwent Water

Derwent Water Views

Looking Back at The Dam

Roundabout at the top of the reservoirs

When you reach the end at Kings Tree, you turn round and go back the same way, so you see it all again, brilliant!

Days Out at Derwent Dams

If you’re looking for an accessible day out in Derbyshire, I can’t think of a better place than at the Derwent Dams. We’d walk or cycle around the reservoirs and take a picnic on the shore if we were able to.


Visit The Peak District

Peak District National Park

Whilst we were in Derbyshire, we also had a little bimble on the Monsal Trail, searched for the original Bakewell Tart and had a couple of days in The Room For All Seasons.

Disclaimer: We visited the Peak District as guests of Accessible Derbyshire. As always, all views are my own.

About The Bimblers 116 Articles
The Bimblers is a travel blog exploring the UK's best accessible holidays. Travelling with a chronic illness or disability just got easier as we share travel tips for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.