Derwent Edge Circular Walk (via Lost Lad + Back Tor) | 8-Mile Route

Rocks on Derwent Edge

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This Upper Derwent Valley walk is a lovely 8-mile route taking in some wonderful views from Derwent Edge.

From Fairholmes at Ladybower Reservoir, you start by walking past the impressive Derwent Dam then making your way along the Upper Derwent Reservoir before the uphill climb to Lost Lad cairn then the trig point at Back Tor.

From here you walk along the flagstones of Derwent Edge, maybe stopping for a moment to admire the unusual rock formations, including ‘cakes of bread’ and ‘wheel stones’, before then heading back downhill to Ladybower Reservoir and one final loop past Derwent Dam before you’re back at Fairholmes car park.

Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk, parking options, route information, GPX file, map, facilities, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.

If you have any more questions about this walk from Fairholmes let me know in the comments below.


Jump to walk instructions

Derwent Edge (via Lost Lad) from Fairholmes

Green trees and reservoir
Views back to Upper Derwent Reservoir

Walk information

Walk type: Medium circular walk

Distance: 8 miles/13 km

Walk time: 3.5-4.5 hours

Total ascent: 493 m/1,617 ft

Highest point: 538 m/1,765 ft

Walk highlights: Derwent Dam, Upper Derwent Reservoir, Lost Lad, Back Tor, views from Derwent Edge, Wheel Stones and Ladybower Reservoir

gpx file

Derwent Edge walk map

Click for OS online route here

Walk start point

Start grid reference: SK 17315 89330

Car parking address: Fairholmes car park, Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, Hope Valley, S33 0AQ

Ladybower Reservoir is a large reservoir, this location is also known as the Derwent Dam car park. It is a large car park split over two levels, however, can be busy during peak times.

There are some layby parking spaces as you drive up to the car park but as these are free spaces they tend to fill up quickly.

Parking Cost*

Coins required for parking

Up to 1 hour £1.50
Up to 2 hours £2.50
Up to 4 hours £4.00
All day £4.75

*Prices correct at time of writing

Public transport

Nearest train station: Bamford train station (6 mile/10 km)

There is a bus that you can catch from near Bamford 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 as well as a small cafe. However, there are no other toilets or facilities for the rest of the walk.

The Upper Derwent Visitor Centre has a small shop and information available, next to the public toilets.

If you’re looking for a good place to grab a bite to eat or a drink after your walk the Yorkshire Bridge Inn is a lovely place for a post-walk stop.

Other useful information

Green trees at Walker's Clough
Heading up Walker’s Clough – can be boggy in places

The route has good terrain with wide paths alongside the reservoir sections, it can be a bit boggy in places up to Derwent Edge but once you’re past Lost Lad the path is flagstoned (with the exception of a few water-logged flagstones) so it’s a good path and also pretty easy to navigate.

Derwent Edge hike is a wonderful place to see the heather flowers are in full bloom, which is normally later in the summer.

Check the weather for your walk location and hills

Ordnance Survey Walk Map

The map for this walk in the Upper Derwent Valley is OL1 – Peak District (Dark Peak Area)

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, it’s more expensive but a valuable piece of kit!

For online maps, you can get via OS Online App or Viewranger App.

Check prices here for the one month or yearly option with OS Online App. 


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Derwent Edge walk route

Stage 1 – Fairholmes car park to Lost Lad Cairn

Distance: 2.8 miles/4.5 km

Grid reference SK 17281 89317

From Fairholmes visitor centre, take the footpath around the back of the building and follow the trail towards Derwent Dam. (In heavy rain the dam overflows and looks amazing, a real treat if you time it right!)

Derwent Dam + Upper Derwent Reservoir
Derwent Dam + Upper Derwent Reservoir

Head diagonally across the grass to the far right tower then up the steps next to Derwent Dam. Then turn left and continue on the footpath alongside Upper Derwent Reservoir.

Walk for about 1 km, then take the first footpath heading uphill, with the green public footpath sign (there are two footpaths, ignore the one that heads diagonally through the woods).

Green trees at Walker's Clough
Heading up Walker’s Clough – can be boggy in places

Take the right-hand path next to the stream which will take you up to a gate and a sign for ‘Walkers Clough’. Continue walking uphill as this path winds it’s way up. (Don’t forget to look behind as the views of Upper Derwent Reservoir are beautiful).

Public Footpath sign
Public Footpath sign

At the public footpath sign, continue heading straight on walking uphill in the direction of ‘Strines via Foulstone’. The path is boggy in a few places, then when you reach a fork in the path take the track heading left which brings you out at flagstones heading up to Lost Lad’s Cairn at 518 m.

The summit is marked with both a cairn and stone marker

Stage 2 – Lost Lad to ‘Wheel Stones’ on Derwent Edge

Distance: 2.1 mile/3.4 km

Grid reference SK 19339 91208

From Lost Lad’s summit, you can see Back Tor, and maybe the trig point if you have good eyesight in the distance. Follow the flagstone path (which has a few submerged stones in places) to Back Tor.

Trig point on rocks at Back To
Trig point on Back Tor

Back Tor is the highest point on the walk, at 538 m, worth a scramble up the gritstone rocks if you fancy it! From here, you walk along the flagstoned path of Derwent Edge.

There are some fantastic gritstone rock formations along Derwent Edge, great for a few photo stops. Including ‘Cakes of Bread’, ‘Dove Stone’, ‘Salt Cellar’ and finally to the most impressive – the ‘Wheel Stones’.

Wheel Stones gritstone rocks on Derwent Edge
The ‘Wheel Stones’ on Derwent Edge

Stage 3 – ‘Wheel Stones’ on Derwent Edge Fairholmes car park

Distance: 3.1 miles/5 km

Grid reference SK 20195 88508

Continue along the path from the ‘Wheel Stones’, slowly making your way downhill. At the green public footpath sign, turn right following the sign to Derwent, heading towards Ladybower Reservoir.

Public footpath sign to Derwent
Public footpath sign back to Derwent

Continue walking down the path, you’ll go past a small building/shelter on the way, keep going until you reach the path alongside Ladybower Reservoir.

Turn right and follow the footpath until it brings you back to Derwent Dam and now you’re back on the same path heading to Fairholmes car park.

Have you done this Derwent Edge walk? Let me know in the comments below

Other options for the walk

Extend the walk

Following the path up towards Derwent Edge
Following the path up Howden Dean towards Derwent Edge

Fancy a slightly longer walk along Derwent Edge? Here’s a great 10-mile walk that you can do from Fairholmes visitor centre

Derwent Edge Walk From Ladybower Reservoir (Fairholmes) | 10-Mile Route

More walks in the Peak District

Looking for more walks of a similar distance? Here are some more 7 + 8-mile walks in the Peak District

Or can you search more walks by mileage here.

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2 thoughts on “Derwent Edge Circular Walk (via Lost Lad + Back Tor) | 8-Mile Route

  1. Pingback: Derwent Edge Walk From Ladybower Reservoir (Fairholmes) | 10-Mile Route - Peak District Walks

  2. Pingback: Birchen Edge Trig Walk Near Baslow | 2-Mile Route - Peak District Walks

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