Mable takes on Peak District Reservoirs
Time taken 31/2 hours
This is a walk we took last summer on an initially drizzly weekend morning, starting at Low Bradfield having made a visit to watch the rowers at Dam Flask reservoir. I had only intended to pop down and maybe walk around the reservoir, but as the weather improved I count not resist the opportunity to take in more of this lovely quite unspoilt part of the Peak District, on the outskirts of Sheffield.
Dam Flask plays home to Sheffield’s University Rowing Club as well as Sheffield City Rowing club and I wanted to finally introduce Mable to the sport. Her predecessor, Nelly, had been an avis rowing supporter out of Henley Rowing Club, and I wanted Mable to have a taste of a different life on the waters edge – she needed little encouragement as you can imagine.
After an hour or so watching the crews passing up and down I decided we need to stretch our legs before going home so headed back along the road that encircles the reservoir, taking us into Low Bradfield and out towards Strines Reservoir. I have read somewhere that Bradfield is one of the largest parishes in England and has a huge amount of paths surrounding it that can be used for walking. It is a pretty and quiet part of the Peak District set amongst rolling forested hills and moorland, ideal for some gentle plodding on a mild summer’s day.
Taking the turn for Dungworth you take a turn off onto a track about 20 yards along which leads you passed a house on the right then on through stiles until at the end of the fields, you climb over onto the lane and turn left off past Blindside Cottage and off into planted woods after about 20 minutes. Wragg House Plantation offers open tracks and plenty of doggy interest as you walk through. It also offers a view of Boot’s Folly which apparently, as I learnt later, was only built in 1927 by Charles Boot from nearby Sugworth Hall using recycled left over stone from another building and provided work for local workmen during the Depression – I have always wondered about frippery of folly’s but the Peak District castellated tower seems to have been built with more than just frivolity in mind.
Following the fields towards the folly, you will enter an area of rougher ground - Andrew’s Wood – where you need to bear right and pass over a stile into Holes Wood where you will find a small stream to cross – or paddle in and drink from if you are a white boxer – before continuing uphill to a gate and stile which needs crossing before following the wall to the right to another stile. Bearing left after it you continue along until you meet another bridged stream which you should cross and continue off towards the wooded area and following the path passed Broggin House at Strines Reservoir again with a now clear view of the afore mentioned Boots’ Folly. The view is breathtaking across the valley – completely lost on any canine companion of course, but still worth making the stop to take it all in.
Continuing after this site seeing venture passed Stubbins Farm and on into the right hand side fields following the wall to the left until you pass through a gateway heading off right. You should be able to see the High Bradfield quarry face some miles ahead at this stage and need to continue off towards Hallfield and then the infamous but beautiful Dale Dike Reservoir – the source of the biggest English dam disaster when in 1864 it burst its banks and sent a deluge into the Loxley Valley killing hundreds overnight.
The paths and lanes that take you up to and passed Wilkin Hill Outdoor Centre undulate through hollowed fields until you enter Windy Bank Wood, through a stream and out towards the stone bridge over Agden Dike and around the protected wetlands and nature reserve of Agden Bog.
With the Dike on your right and bog to your left, take a right until you pass through a gateway where you take a sharp left before climbing steeply up the valley side to the right of another planted wooded area. This section is quite a long steep climb – doable if you take it steady and on the day we did it, we allowed ourselves a sit down to peruse the surrounds and Mable mooched around in Peak District moorland splendour. She made the mistake of stone rolling – a favoured game – but this required her to mooch up and down hill on a number of occasions – something I have never understood as a person who doesn’t love climbing hills if she can help it!
In resuming the walk we topped the hill and turned left onto the path passing a memorial seat which was ideally positioned to enjoy the view – we didn’t realise it was there or I would have made use of it instead of getting a soggy bot sitting on damp grass. Mable wasn’t fussed either way however, having misplaced the stone she just continued along the path searching for other potential toys.
Crossing the stile and turning right you continue to another stile and having crossed need to access the path ahead turning right, again, to cross a stile which brings you to another lane. The walk continues passed farm buildings and eventually will show Agden Reservoir down to the right which, in passing through a gateway off the path can be descended to until you reach a kissing gate leading further onto Bradfield churchyard with its Watch House – apparently used to keep an eye out for body snatchers in years gone by . From here we made our way through High Bradfield and back off to Dam Flask from Low Bradfield, where we had parked.
It had been a fine walk, far longer than we had both anticipated on the day, but with so much to look out for and so many areas of doggy interest that time went very quickly and we both collapsed into the car with a sense of deep satisfaction.
I haven’t yet ventured back on to the water in a rowing boat, but the aim is still there for this year’s winter training. It will certainly be a treat to drive through the stunning Peak District scenery that surrounds the reservoirs on a more frequent basis and I think it is thrilling to think that this beautiful landscape is on the outskirts of the city of Sheffield. So worth a visit for so many reasons