I could have picked several reservoirs to circumnavigate in the hills between Huddersfield and Manchester however there is a gem of a short walk nestled above the historic town of Holmfirth.
The terrain is not bad, at worst it can be muddy in some parts, and the path uneven with a few steps here and there. If you are brand new to walking and don’t yet want to invest in walking boots; most trainers will be fine providing you don’t mind them getting muddy.
The views are stunning over the water and surrounding hillside. The Victorian-like grand scale architecture of the dam and workings are superb; something Fred Dibnah would have loved.
You are free to roam in the woodland, there are also some good places on the north shallow shore of the reservoir to have a picnic (between point 2 and 3). If you are lucky the ducks will join you too.
Bring drinking water, a raincoat and your camera.
- Name: Digley Reservoir
- Location: Holme Nr Huddersfield, Peak District National Park
- Car park real postcode: HD9 2QD
- Back-up car park: South Car park (see map)
- Cost: Carparks are free, walk is free
- Tea rooms, café or pub lunch after: The Fleece Inn (HD92QG)
A fantastic country pub, serves quality home cooked meals and real-ale as well as a selection of coffees and buns. http://fleeceinnholme.co.uk/
(Follow the map provided in the photos)
- From the car park (HD9 2QD) follow the path east up and along the woods. You will pass some old quarry workings on the right. These can be deep in places so keep an eye on the kids.
- In the woods, you will descend down some stairs.
- Not strictly part of the walk but a great piece of woodland to explore and have a picnic.
- This part of the walk overlooks the smaller Bilberry Reservoir. From here pass through a steel gate and walk down to the intermediate dam.
- This is one of the best parts of the walk as you get a good sense of the magnitude of work that went into the reservoir. Be sure to stay on the well-trodden path. There is deep water on both sides but the path is quite safe. Dogs are best kept on a lead here. As you enter onto the dam you pass over a slipway. This is the flood overflow from Bilberry to the main Digley Reservoir.
At the far side of this dam to the right in the water you can see a circular water intake that is the main outlet of the Bilberry reservoir.
- This is a rising part of the walk that passes up through a heavily wooded area that is sheltered from any wind. Beyond this point the path carries on for 15 minutes to the south carpark.
- From this car park enter onto the main road pavement which is also the main dam wall. On the left; is the reservoir, on the right; a tranquil valley with a small stream working its way to Holmfirth.
- The first tower on the right is the main valve house (where the water is syphoned off for drinking water).
- At this point you walk past a huge structure that is the reservoirs ornate overflow. Beyond here you turn left and head up the road back to the car park.
- Difficulty grade: 1/10
- Length: 1.2 miles
- Time: 1 hour
- Height: Little elevation
- Danger level: Zero (If you keep to the path)
- How hard it was: 2/10
- Favourite bits: The slipway, where you can climb down a wall & the parts where you can see the water going down the pipes
- Walk score out of 10: 6
OS Map: Ordanance Survey Explorer OL1
Fun historic facts on the area: The reservoir was built around 1952 and finished in 1954, it can store up to three million cubic meters of water. It is 40 meters deep at the dam wall.
Wildlife- Animals, trees/plants/flowers: There are several wooded areas around the water, grey squirrels and several bird varieties nest in the area.
Yorkshire Water link: https://www.yorkshirewater.com/walks#ls3
Important safety note: The water in and around the reservoirs is cold all year round and very deep. Digley is a working water plant; there is water being syphoned off from under the surface in several areas. Do not attempt to enter the water, and take care when near the water’s edge. Dogs are best kept on leads.
the Walking Dad
Old photos: John E Mellor:https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmellor/with/19383836884/