Travel & Tourism

The stunning reservoir walk near Manchester with giant ‘plugholes’

Easily one of the best winter walks in the north west.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 30th December 2022

It’s one of the Peak District’s most impressive bodies of water – but it gets a whole lot more mighty when there’s been a lot of rain.

And given that Greater Manchester isn’t exactly famed for its dry and sunny weather, winter is actually one of the best times to wrap up warm, suck it up, and get out for a walk.

Ladybower Reservoir stands beside Snake Pass in the heart of the national park, around an hour’s drive from Manchester city centre.

The huge y-shaped body of water is maybe best-known for its two bellmouth overflows – better known as its ‘plugholes’.

The overflows are 24 metres in diameter, and carry excess water to the base of the dam.


The water level often isn’t high enough to see the plugholes in action – but when they are, it creates quite the spectacle.

Ladybower Reservoir is one of three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley.


Its construction was completed in 1943 in a bid to keep up with the demand for water in industrial towns in the North West.

The reservoir itself is beautiful, but sizeable – it’s about 5.5 miles to walk around the water’s edge.

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It’s well worth the walk though to take in the views of the deep valley and surrounding woodland.


For even better views, you can extend your walk to nine miles.

Instead of following the water, head uphill to the neighbouring peaks of Win Hill and Crook Hill.

You can see a suggested walking route at

Featured Image — @lhphotographic /@peoplethepeak (via IG)