We have walked around Dovestone reservoir for as long as I can remember and it is certainly one of “go to” walks when we have a spare few hours. It is situated on the edge of the Peak District National Park and is blessed with beautiful surroundings.
Dovestones is open year round and has on site toilets (at the Car Park) which are available from 8am-5.15pm Monday-Saturday and 8am-4.30pm on a Sunday. There is also an accessible toilet available which requires a Radar key.
The car park is situated at the beginning of the walk and has four disabled parking spaces available which are a good size and next to the toilets.
At peak times parking can be extremely busy and sometimes you may have to wait a short while to find a space, however this has been rare and usually we have no issues (however we do tend to go early). The whole site is managed by the RSPB and the car park is pay and display costing 60p for 3 hours, £1.30 all day or free for RSPB members. The RSPB also often have their nature team on site (usually Thursday- Sunday) with telescopes, and on sunny weekends and bank holidays they have quizzes and badge making activities which is great for the children.
As you start the walk you will pass the sailing club on your left and then come to a vehicle access gate (next to a boat yard). It can be difficult to get through the kissing gate in a wheelchair, however your radar key will open the gate on the right hand side allowing you to get through. The lock is a little fiddly but works eventually!
From here the paths are well maintained and was no problem for little legs or Charlie’s power wheelchair. There are plenty of spots for a rest on the way round and take in the wonderful views. Throughout the walk there are a number of parts when you can veer off road and there is now a trail through the woods too.
Why not check our Dovestone’s video out below!
There is a woodland path through Pennyworth Wood, and the sign says it has been created with families and wheelchair users in mind. Unfortunately we did not find this to be the case. There were a number of extremely muddy areas where Charlie became stuck and needed my assistance to help him out. There are also still a lot of large roots, tight areas and then a very rocky and uneven climb toward the end. I personally would not recommend this path in anything except an off road wheelchair. That being said as the woodland path leaves and re-joins after about five minutes a little further up at the Ashway Gap picnic area you could always split up and reunite there or all just stay on the main path which also leads to the picnic area
The lovely little picnic spot (Known as Ashway Gap) is again easily accessible and a great spot for a break and a bite to eat, and is also where the RSPB nature team are usually located, making for a lovely and informative hour break trying to spot the Peregrine Falcons! There are a number of picnic benches available and two of these were disabled friendly tables with spaces for the wheelchair in the middle which we love.
After going over the Dam there is another kissing gate which as with the previous one your Radar key will open. Leading on from this is a hill dropping back down to water level. We had no problems with this hill and Charlie’s Power chair was fine, however I would say to just exercise a little caution on the hill as it is a little steep, especially if in a manual wheelchair.
From here it is an easy and relaxing walk back to the car park where you find Faircloughs ice-cream truck, which has been a staple of Dovestones for over 50 year and serves as a lovely end to the afternoon.
To Extend the day….
You can make the walk a little further by parking at the bottom of the hill (A365) before you start climbing up to Dovestones if coming from Greenfield and following the footpath through the green gates which eventually then leads to the car park at Dovestones. This is again easily accessible and will add about 25 minutes each way at a stroll’s pace.
Why not finish off with Lunch at the Clarence Pub? Located just at the bottom of the hill, on the roundabout it is a lovely little country pub serving meals all day and is easy to get in to. Unfortunately however there are no accessible toilet facilities here which can be a problem if you are not local.