4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
With a combination of good paths and roads, and enough height gain to make it feel like you've earned a pint, this is an excellent non-technical hike within easy reach of both Manchester and Sheffield.
It's quite a long trip but the climbing is spread out fairly evenly so you'll never feel too strained at any single point. Parking can be an issue for this hike because the proximity of 2 major cities and the plethora of activities available in the area, so getting here early is strongly advised. Set out from the carpark and head north past the Derwent Dam, Hancock Wood and up to the thick stone dam which separates Howden and Derwent reservoirs.
The views and ambience are wonderful on this section, and you'll feel as if you're amongst the hills without actually having to climb them! Continue north, crossing Howden Clough and meander past the northern end of Howden reservoir before swinging back south where the path crosses the trickling River Derwent via some fun stepping stones.
Pass down the western side of both Howden and Derwent reservoirs, crossing the River Westend and Ouzelden Brook en route.
As you cross the second of these rivers, you have the choice of either following the road back to the carpark or following our line and detouring up onto the forested slopes of Lockerbrook Heights.
The latter is a far more scenic and enjoyable option than following the road but your level of fatigue will likely determine which option you choose!