Scammonden Dam

This is a great simple walk for all weathers. It’s a nice starter walk for the kids and you don’t really need a packed lunch. The views are super and takes in natural and man-made beauty. The path is well maintained and well drained.

  • Name of walk: Scammonden Dam
  • Location: Huddersfield
  • Car park real post code: There isn’t one for the exact road, use Low Platt Lane, Huddersfield
  • Back-up car park: There is a road adjacent called Chapel Hill Lane with 2 small laybys
  • Detailed description:

Follow the map attached:

Start: From the car park head out onto the path past the bathing prohibited signs in the direction of the motorway. The path splits in two; go either way. Where the two paths reconnect turn left and head down-hill. The path zig-zags down to the tarmac circle in front of the pumping tower.

1. From here walk through the tunnel that goes under the motorway.

Immediately out of the tunnel turn right and head up the steep grass banking to the path that runs alongside the motorway, or for a more gradual route take the sweeping path around to the right that works around to the same path. Follow the dead straight path along the side of the motorway. The path is quite safe and sheltered from the motorway by two steel fences. This path and portion of the motorway make up the actual dam part of the reservoir. It overlooks a beautiful sleepy valley.

As with lots of Yorkshire waters landscapes; the civil engineering is magnificent in scale and was done in a time when the job was done right rather than to a budget

At the end of the motorway side path, head up the ramp diagonally to the right. This path is quite steep so take care in winter and use the wire fence at the side as a hand rail if needed. At the top you walk through the metal gate and turn right along the residential road called Lower Road. Approximately 100 meters along the road there is an old overgrown road on the left called ‘Pill Box Lane’

2. Next to an old oak tree. Head up the path in the middle of the overgrown road.

! As you get to the top of this overgrown road/path you walk straight out onto a main road with no path. Its best to hold hands of any children at this point. Turn left on the road and try walk in single file on the verge as there is no path for around 100 meters. As this is a dead straight road and quite remote; motorists often pass at great speed. As the path remerges you will cross the huge Scammonden bridge.

The bridge was designed by Colonel Stuart Maynard Lovell and built by Sir Alfred McAlpine between 1967 and 1970. It is 37 meters high and 200 meters long

The bridge is very safe to cross and has heavy steel rails and mesh on both sides. Don’t let your kids climb on the rails. The bridge is quite exposed so it could be a little windy however you get exquisite views in all directions for miles around. Immediately after you have crossed the bridge and before the small wind turbine turn left down the road

3. Walk down the road for 200 meters to the blue metal gate. Go around the gate and walk down the steep concrete path. ! The path is covered in moss in places so can be very slippy in all weathers so take extra care. There is a wire mesh fence to hold onto if needed. At the bottom of the steep path turn right. You walk down a short tarmacked area; from here you join a sandy path. Stay on this path for the full length of the reservoir.

Keep an eye for the several QR codes as Yorkshire Water has added an audio trail to the path.

At 4. You pass an old church called St Bartholomew. Further along there are great views across the water; directly across is the sailing club.

At 5. where you can head down hill and down some stairs to the bridge over the stream; carry on up the new path just below the woods.

If you want to make the walk 20-minutes shorter head down and over the bridge and carry on the walk from 7.

The new path takes you to a single lane road. The road has no path and is frequented by 4×4 vehicles so keep the kids close by. At the top of the road there is a public footpath sign.

6. Turn left here and go around the metal gate. Follow the old concrete path. The view to the left is of the dam banking. As you reach the edge of Dean Head Reservoir there is an old wrought iron gate and a turnstile. Go over the turnstile and walk across the full length of the dam. At the other side of the dam cross the small metal bridge and head uphill a short distance passed the bathing prohibited signs. Walk down the scree covered road to the tarmacked road. Go over the turnstile and head down the road until you reach the small car park and picnic area. Walk to the bottom corner of the picnic area and pick up the path along to 7.

With the stream and bridge on your left follow the path, pass through the two gates to the mouth of the reservoir. Walk along to point 8. this is a concrete launch ramp. Walk all the way up the ramp to the road. Here turn left along the road and walk the short distance to the Scout and Activity center. Before you get to the centre head up the path; this will take you all the way around the grounds of the activity centre and Sailing club. Head down the steep path all the way down to almost the waterside. From here follow the path all the way back to the Pumping tower.

Just before the pumping tower at 9. Turn up the path and retrace the zig-zag path back to the car park.


  • Difficulty grade:2/10
  • Length: 7.5KM or 4.66 Miles
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Height: Low level, varies around 70 meters around the walk
  • Danger level: Very low; basic road safety, some paths can be slippery

Kids’s review:

  • How hard it was: Its quite an easy walk
  • What he got from it: the tunnels and bridge are spooky
  • Score out of 10: 7.5


  • Tea rooms, café or pub lunch after: You have a town full of cafés to choose from, one close-by near the motorway junction is the Brosters
  • Farm Shop, they have a great café on site selling delicious homemade and local meals and snacks at reasonable prices. The elevated café has great views over the local countryside. It is often full for good reason, a short wait is often necessary. Post code: HD3 3SZ
  • Fun / historic facts on the area: The reservoir holds 7.8 Billion litres of water, is 1.4KM long, and is 52M at its deepest point. Deanhead village was partly demolished and submerged under the water.
  • Wild life- Animals, trees/plants/flowers: Keep your eye out for the frogs on the path down to the reservoir from the carpark
  • Map: OS Explorer 21 South Pennines at 1:25000
  • Important safety note: The water in and around the reservoirs is cold all year round and very deep, Scammonden it is a working water plant; there is water being syphoned off from under the surface in areas. Do not attempt to enter the water and take care when near the water’s edge.

Images: The Walking Dad and the Huddersfield Examiner

Start of walk at Scammonden Dam
Looking down into valley ta Scammonden Dam
Surrounding COuntryside at Scammonden Dam
M62 viewed from bridge at Scammonden Dam
M62 viewed from birdge at Scammonden Dam
Scammonden Dam
Scammonden Dam
Boats on Scammonden Dam
Scammonden Dam
Building of Scammonden Dam
Building of Scammonden Dam
Building of Scammonden Dam
Map of Building of Scammonden Dam walk
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