Alport Castles walk is a great route to do from Ladybower Reservoir, with a mix of beautiful views, rocks, streams and woodlands.
There are many walking routes from Fairholmes visitor centre, most heading in the other direction, taking you around Ladybower Reservoir, Derwent Dam, Derwent Reservoir and up to Derwent Edge so this walk to Alport Castles is a quieter option.
It’s a circular walk starting from Fairholmes car park you head away from the reservoir, ascending up through the woods before it flattens, you then continue on the edge of Rowlee Pasture all the way to Alport Castles.
Here you can enjoy the views and even scramble to the top of ‘the tower’, before descending and walking along the River Alport towards Alport Bridge. It’s then along the River Ashop before another ascent and descent back to the car park at Ladybower.
Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk near Ladybower Reservoir, Derbyshire, car parking, route information, map, GPX file, facilities on the walk, plus a step by step guide of the route.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve done the Alport Castles walk
Alport Castles walk from Fairholmes car park
Alport Castles walk mapClick for OS online map
Walk start point
Start grid reference: SK 17315 89330
Ladybower car parking address: Fairholmes car park, Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, Hope Valley, S33 0AQ
There are two levels to this car park but the cafe near the toilets is the best place if you’re meeting people.
Parking Cost (Change is required for parking)
Up to 1 hour £1.50
1-2 hours £2.50
2-4 hours £4.00
All day £4.75
You can also park for free on the road leading into the car park, however, you’ll need to arrive early to guarantee a spot as spaces are limited.
Nearest train station: Bamford train station (6 mile/10 km)
There is a bus that you can catch from Bamford near the station, the 273, that stops near Fairholmes car park
Facilities on the walk
There are public toilets available at the start of the walk at Fairholmes car park, next to the visitor centre. There is a small cafe next door where you can buy sandwiches and snacks for your hike.
Other useful information
Some parts of the trail leading to and from Ladybower Reservoir are often used by mountain bikers so watch out for them on your walk.
The route is signposted in places but I recommend you take a map and compass (see below).
Although this walk doesn’t include Derwent Dam, it’s only a very short distance from the visitor centre so worth seeing, especially if there’s been heavy rain you might see it overflowing!
Check the weather for your walk location and hills
The weather at Ladybower Reservoir can be very different from the conditions on the hills near Alport Castles so be sure to take some extra layers.
- BBC Weather for Bamford
- Met Office weather for the Peak District
- Met Office weather for Win Hill (nearest hill to Alport Castles)
Ordnance Survey Walk Map
The map for this walk is OL1 – Peak District (Dark Peak Area)
You can buy a paper map at outdoor shops or shop online at Amazon or Ordnance Survey
Check prices here with Ordnance Survey, there are options to buy either standard map or a waterproof one. You can sometimes find cheaper deals on Amazon, but the Ordnance Survey website sometimes has discounts for buying more than one map!
And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition compass
Check prices here for the one month or yearly option with OS Online App.
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Alport Castles walk route
Stage 1 – Fairholmes car park to Woodcock Coppice
Distance: 2.1 miles/3.5 km
Grid reference SK 17304 89338
From Fairholmes car park, head up away from the reservoir to the road. Turn left and follow the road parallel to Ladybower Reservoir.
Continue until you reach a car park on the right-hand-side of the road, where a track heads upwards through the trees.
Follow the track to the top where you go through a gate on your right and follow the footpath along until the paths join at a junction near Woodcock Coppice.
Stage 2 – Woodcock Coppice to Alport Castles
Distance: 2.1 mile/3.5 km
Grid reference SK 16364 89041
At Woodcock Coppice take the path heading uphill which leads you on to the edge. There is a lower path you can take on a windy day but the path up to the edge is not well-trodden and requires a steep climb.
Follow the edge which turns into flagstones all the way to the edge of Alport Castles. For the best views, it’s great to walk along to the end of Alport Castles before then doubling back along the path.
Stage 3 – Alport Castles to A57 Alport Bridge
Distance: 2.9 miles/4.7 km
Grid reference SK 14146 91565
As you leave the edge of Alport Castles, there’s an option to take a path off on your right which takes you to the bottom of Alport Castles Tower, a large rock formation.
It’s possible to scramble to the top; however, there is no direct route you’ll need to find the safest way for you. I wouldn’t recommend climbing up in windy conditions.
From the Alport Castles Tower, again you retrace the route back, then follow the footpath round to the right heading downhill.
Walk all the way down to a footbridge over the River Alport, cross here and turn right following the path round in a loop around Alport Farm, then continuing alongside the River Alport on your left.
Follow the footpath for about 1.5 km, as you nearly reach the A57 look for the less obvious footpath on your left which takes you down to the road.
Stage 4 – A57 Alport Bridge to Woodcock Coppice
Distance: 2.2 miles/3.6 km
Grid reference SK 14122 89569
Cross the A57 then head down the path where you can cross via a shallow (in summer) ford or alternatively, use the bridge to your right.
Take the footpath, which turns into a road down towards Rowlee Bridge, just before taking the path on the right, which takes you through trees.
At Haggwater Bridge, go across then start to make your way uphill to the road.
Cross the road and follow the track all the way to the top, which brings you out at Woodcock Coppice.
Stage 5 – Woodcock Coppice to Fairholmes car park
Distance: 1.8 mile/3 km
Grid reference SK 16374 89025
This is the point you reached at the beginning of the walk, instead of following the path on the right back to Fairholmes, continue straight ahead towards Lockerbrook Outdoor Centre.
From here follow the trails back through the woods until it reaches the road near Derwent Dam. Turn right here and follow the path back to Fairholmes car park.
Do you have any more questions about the Alport Castles walk? Ask me in the comments below.
More options for this walk
Shorten the walk
The simplest way to shorten the Alport Castles route is by retracing your steps once you reach Alport Castles and the Tower, instead of adding the extra loop where you descend to Alport Castles Farm and walk along the River Alport to Alport Bridge.
This option will shorten the walk by about 3 miles/5 km.
Add Derwent Dam
As I mentioned above Derwent Dam is literally a few minutes from Fairholmes visitor centre, it’s a perfect add on to the end of your walk if you have any energy left!
Or dump your bags, get a drink then have it as a cool day walk. It’s only 500 metres from the car park and pretty impressive to see, especially when it’s rained a lot and the reservoir is overflowing!
More Walks in the Peak District
Fancy exploring the other side of the Upper Derwent Valley? Why not try this walk along Derwent Edge, it’s another 10-mile route that starts from Fairholmes car park too!
Love the walks in the Dark Peak Area of the Peak District? You might like these Peak District circular walks.
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Please note 'Peak District Walks' accepts no liability through any injuries or accidents that may result from walking this route. We always recommend you take a paper map and compass on your walk. Read more here.