Winscar Reservoir curcuit from Dunford Bridge

A Peak District walk that explores the open country and reservoirs to the nothwest of Dunford Bridge. This sector of the National Park sees fewer walkers and you are free to enjoy the superb scenery in relative peace and quiet.

Technical sheet
No. 293247
A Dunford walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 27/07/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h45[?]
Distance Distance : 8.86mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 820ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 801ft
Highest point Highest point : 1545ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 978ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Peak District
Location Location : Dunford
Starting point Starting point : N 53.518° / W 1.7634°
Download : -


(D/A) Leave the Trans Pennine car park (3), cross the main road and walk up Don View road. Keep straight on up the gated road between the gardens on your left and the river Don on the right and after the second gate there is a path that leads up on the left to the top of the reservoir dam wall. Go west towards the sailing club where you meet the road from car park (2) and you will see the gate to the open country just in outside the sailing club entrance.

(1) Follow the path/sheep track around the sailing club fence until going slightly inland to cross the first inlet before the end of the club compound - there are stone "fords" across the streams. Stay on the moors side of the wire fence until you come to a gate before reaching Dearden Clough. Stay close to the water's edge to cross the clough then climb up towards the trees that are the Dearden Foot plantation - again staying on the moors side of the fencing.

(2) This is the end of the open country/sheep path walking because, from the north west of the plantation, there is a moors/shooting track that leads up to an even better maintained moors track at SE141028. Take the right hand fork here and follow the track to the farm near Wetshaw Edge. As you approach it there are signs warning you to keep out, so go around the north of the farm buildings and pick up the track heading north.

(3) After passing through a gap in the next wall follow the track to the left then pick up the path/track that is indicated by wooden posts and leads in a loop around Snailsden Edge. The trig point is just to the north of the track. After approaching Holme Moss transmitter for some time the path then turns north and east then descends towards Snailsden reservoir.

(4) From the reservoir follow the track north and eastwards to the road then go west on Linshaws Road. After just over half a mile go right on the track that is marked as the Kirklees Way and follow it as it goes right again past the farm named Elysium. Shortly before the woods start there is a path off on the right (not marked as such but) which is the Holme Valley Circular Walk. Follow this past the ruined farm at Hades (look out for the stone writing) and carry on back up to Linshaws Road.

(5) Go a little left, cross over and follow the track down to Harden Clough so that you then come along the south of the reservoir. Cross over the Harden reservoir dam wall in order to get onto the Dunford Road which heads back to Winscar Reservoir. After a quarter of a mile a road off on the left leads down to a car park (1) and then the road leads on to the gated road over the reservoir dam wall.

(6) My choice for getting down to the lower Dunford car park (3) was to walk east from the start of the dam wall across Broad Hill Bank, which gives good views down the Don valley, then come back on Brook Hill Lane(D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 984ft - Car park
1 : mi 0.41 - alt. 1142ft - Follow the sheep track around the sailing club
2 : mi 1.99 - alt. 1276ft - Follow the track
3 : mi 2.35 - alt. 1348ft - Track to the left
4 : mi 3.78 - alt. 1391ft - Snailsden reservoir, follow the track north
5 : mi 6.4 - alt. 1289ft - Go a little left
6 : mi 8.14 - alt. 1142ft - Walk east
D/A : mi 8.86 - alt. 984ft

Useful Information

The car-park side of Winscar reservoir can be very busy but as you head up on open country towards Snailsden it is usually very quiet. On this walk there are three reservoirs to see, sections of the Kirklees Way and Holme Valley Circular Walk to follow and on the way you pass Elysium as well as Hades - so how come places in West Yorkshire ended up with names like that?

There are three places to park near Winscar reservoir - (1) at SE155030 off the Dunford Road would make this walk the shortest, (2) at SE152020 is closest to the start of the open-country walking or (3) at SE157024 has the largest parking area and is where this description starts.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 3.83/5
Number of opinions : 11
Description quality : 3.8/5
Routemap quality : 3.6/5
Walk interest : 4.09/5

on Mon 10 May 2021 09:14:56 CEST

Global average : 2.33 / 5

Date of walk : 10/05/21
Description quality : Disappointing
Routemap quality : Very disappointing
Walk interest : Good

No defined signs Map does not correspond to the route Very muddy in places

on Mon 26 Oct 2020 10:11:02 CET

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 25/10/20
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

A note, the path from Dunford Bridge TPT car park up from Don view Road has been closed by the waterboard, you instead need to walk left out of the car park and follow the main road until you reach the turning right for the sailing club/res follow this road to the sailing club wntrance where you will find a small wooden gate to the left.

A word of warning to the inappropriately dressed, this is not the walk for you if you are going out after rainfall, waterproof walking boots are a must as a bare minimum!

The route behind the sailing club is HARD particularly if you are carrying a child in a hiking carrier, no real path after a while due to it being tufts with 5inch plus drops, good for sheep not so good for humans, however once this is out of the way and you pick up the path on the other side of the clough it is far more enjoyable.

We did go wrong at one point (user error not map error) and with the previously mentioned very first path now closed this meant our walk was closer to 11 miles, the mile along snailsden edge nearly killed us off though! due to the strong wind and a screaming toddler in his carrier who was very angry at said wind!

all in all a great challenging walk!

on Mon 28 Sep 2020 22:20:02 CEST

Global average : 3.67 / 5

Date of walk : 28/09/20
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Average
Walk interest : Good

Don't bother with the start - the dam road is indeed now blocked and we just got barked at by a huge dog. Suggest reverse the end of the route as BJAF4G suggests to get to the Winscar Dam. The 'sheep track' past the sailing club is a long chossy marsh section - not pleasant walking at all. We gave up and reversed the route to the dam at Harden, where you can take a gravel road with good view over Winscar to pick up the route from the house with the 'we prosecute trespassers sign' (take permissive path onto the access land up and right at the gate, through an old quarry). From there the Snailsden 'summit' is via a lovely green lane track with great views, and the smaller Snailsden reservoir is a nice spot. If you're short of time there is an obvious shortcut at this point to skip the forest section, which has some further views and is more open than it appears from the edge.

on Mon 10 Aug 2020 09:07:49 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 20/07/20
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

Really enjoyable and varied terrain / landscapes, great views all around about half way through. At the start you can no longer get up the side of the dam, you need to take road up to the sailing club.

on Fri 24 Jul 2020 11:22:12 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 21/07/20
Description quality : N/A
Routemap quality : N/A
Walk interest : Good

Tried this walk but there were a number of obstacles !
1. At the end of Don View Road (300 metres from the car park starting point) the route has been blocked - locked fence and No Entry notices. So turn right immediately from the car park and walk up the hill for about 800 metres. Then turn left at the junction ( road to Harden). There is a public footpath which runs parallel to the road and takes you to the road which crosses the dam wall. From here it is possible to resume the original route.
2. The sheep path behind the sailing club is rough walking, but the main problem is a locked Five Bar gate. I think this is to prevent people from crossing the grouse moor as we are approaching the shooting season. However there were no signs to this effect.
3. On reaching the farm near Wetshaw edge ( Keep Out signs in evidence) it is possible to pick up the trail and cross over the moor towards Harden Clough, turn right and head for another dam wall which crosses to the Harden Road. Again , more signs here ,this time COVID related, which say areas closed to enable keyworkers to carry out duties. Here turn right and walk through a car park back to the dam wall at the start of the route.
So an amended route to suit the times !

on Thu 26 Dec 2019 20:29:11 CET

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 25/12/19
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Good

We walked the opposite way round as wary we would get mixed up but the map was great. Good walk but very muddy in places and some of atreans needed bit of care to negotiate. Would definitely do it again

on Mon 06 Aug 2018 10:21:10 CEST

Global average : 3.33 / 5

Date of walk : 06/08/18
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Average
Walk interest : Good

This walk was a lovely walk for a day high on the moors , but sadly the first part of the walk was very poorly defined , once last the back of the sailing club the oath became a little bit of kilter , ( new fencing landmarks ) , once at the gate to Dearden Clough the pathway became totally undefined , we made our way to the waters edge but then from there we were beaten but the body high bracken with no sign of the pathways , we struggled up onto the moor and found our way along the top between the shooting butts. After this the walk wa# a very good interesting walk with amazing far reaching views , but beware the path is very undefined after half an hour until up on the tops again

on Mon 05 Feb 2018 18:08:39 CET

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 05/02/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

This was a great walk. The weather meant that we had snow on the tops and green grass and trees lower down. A wonderfully varied walk around a bit of Yorkshire that we had not walked before. We did it short of the time set.

on Tue 07 Nov 2017 13:32:08 CET

OK thanks for the info. We'll recommend long legs and a good musher dog in the walk description then

on Tue 07 Nov 2017 12:24:20 CET

I actually managed it within the time you said. It was just quite difficult in places. I was walking fast didn't stop for lunch and had a dog to help me along!

on Tue 07 Nov 2017 10:58:34 CET

Thank you for the feedback on this walk Would you recommend us putting the walk time up to 6 hours? How long did it take you in the end? Thanks!

Hikideas Moderator

on Mon 30 Oct 2017 09:23:32 CET

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 08/10/17
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

Agree with previous comment as the marshland behind the sailing club was very difficult to cross due to the uneven ground and it was quite wet.

Also difficult to identify the path around the farmhouse. If it hadn't been for the gpx file I think I would have got lost on a couple of occasions.

on Thu 26 Oct 2017 12:13:56 CEST

Global average : 3.67 / 5

Date of walk : 14/10/17
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Average

the first bit round the reservoir (behind the sailing club) is impossible if theres been any rain , its a swamp.

on Tue 01 Nov 2016 13:45:01 CET

Global average : 3.33 / 5

Date of walk : 31/10/16
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Average
Walk interest : Good

Bearing in mind the first open moorland section, I think the time given for the walk is a little optimistic.However, did the walk on a very pleasant end of October day and enjoyed it.

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