East Tower of The Derwent DamSpring 2007The Derwent DamThe Howden Dam at full capacityLancaster over The Derwent dam

The Ladybower, Howden and Derwent
reservoirs dominate the upper Derwent valley in The Peak District National Park.  The upper two dams are The Howden and The Derwent and these were constructed in a gothic style and were both finished in 1916. Initially The Derwent Dam and The Howden Dam do look the same, although there are some differences. More info'.....

The Derwent reservoir was used by the RAF’s Dambusters 617 Squadron to practice their low level flying techniques during 1943, in preparation for delivering Barnes Wallis’ famous bouncing bombs to German dams. The 617 Squadron Dambuster's Memorial is located just inside the gatehouse to the Western Tower of The Derwent Dam.

There is a lot of recreational activities available near the Howden and Derwent dams including cycle hire, plenty of footpaths and bridleways, fishing, and walking.The Fairholmes Visitors Centre located very near to The Derwent Dam has information, refreshments and cycle hire.  Open all year to the public this area attracts over 2 million visitors a year.

The Ladybower reservoir was constructed at a later date in 1945 in order to meet increased water demands. This however required the flooding of two villages, Derwent and Ashopton which caused much controversy at the time.

Located in the West Tower of the Derwent Dam is The Derwent Valley Museum {aka: The Dambuster Museum} which houses a collection of memorabilia, photographs and other material covering all aspects of the dams raid and material relating to The Dambusters film made in 1954. There is a life size replica of the bouncing bomb as well as some rare photographs of life in the villages {that were to be flooded} before the dams construction.

Opening times for the small and free museum are from 10.00am till 4.00pm Sundays and Bank Holidays only.

The Derwent Dam after periods of heavy rainfall can be seen to be overflowing. This excess water is allowed to run over the 600ft crest between the Towers to be collected below for water treatment at nearby Bamford works. There are picnic areas and plenty of car parks along the way of which most are free. On a weekend day in the summer this area can get very busy so arrive early at peak times of the year.

Pictures from the day of The Dam Buster's 65th anniversary on 16th May 08 are now featured in my picture gallery.