Weekend Walks: Alport Castles

The areas surrounding Ladybower Reservoir in Hope Valley offer ample opportunity to explore...

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 27 July 2022

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With hopes of the pubs reopening any time soon fading by the hour, those days when a weekend walk felt like a waste of our two-day freedom sure feels like a very long time ago.

We could all do with something to look forward to right now – and with winter getaways also firmly off the cards for the time being – why not add a new favourite to your weekend walk list?

The areas surrounding Ladybower Reservoir in Hope Valley offer ample opportunity to explore – and if you’re after a route with mixed terrain, mood-boosting views and a variety of waterways to stop and reflect, then this walk along Alport Castles should definitely make it to your post travel-ban wish-list.

The Peak District might not have the towering mountains of Snowdonia, but it is home to a lot of hidden gems – and this place is certainly one of them! Alport Castles makes for a wonderfully quiet walk made up of rocky cliffs, flowing streams and superb views throughout.

The trail itself is a fairly moderate 7.5 miles – but given there’s a steady 1,000-foot ascent over the course of the walk, you might want to pack light if you’re not up for a proper climb. The incline itself is pretty forgiving, making it a perfect route if you fancy a slight challenge but enjoy a gentle pace to take in your surroundings.

Setting off from Fairholmes Visitor Centre, follow the steps to the left of Derwent Reservoir and you’ll be immediately rewarded with great views over the water. Once you reach the top, the path stays pretty flat for a good few miles. From here, you slowly divert away from the central path and climb towards a landscape that wouldn’t feel out of place in Colorado.

As you reach the highest point of Rowlee Pasture, the surrounding pine forests combine with panoramic views across the entire area, greeting you with a postcard-like vista.

The return leg was as equally pleasing on the eye, taking you on a quiet track through beautifully shady woodland that runs adjacent to the reservoir. The path is gently undulating and well-maintained, and once you reach the end, you can stop off at the Derwent Reservoir Café for a quick refuel!

All in all, it’s a great walk if you fancy a slight challenge but aren’t up for tackling the efforts of Derwent Edge – each offers equally incredible views and both are accessible from Fairholmes Visitor Centre.