Thursday 18 August 2011


My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

R is for reservoirs.


There are a number of significant reservoirs in and around Derbyshire, but with a combined capacity of 463,692 million litres, Howden, Derwent and Ladybower are the biggest of the lot. Situated in the Upper Derwent Valley, collectively, they are known as the Derwent Reservoirs.

These solid stone structures were first given Royal Assent in 1899, and the first two dams were constructed between 1901 and 1916.

This is the Derwent Dam; the middle of the three. When the reservoir levels are high, water cascades over this wall into the channel below. No sign of water today, so I was curious to go beyond the dam to see the levels.

The reservoirs still haven't recovered from the dry Spring.

Further up the valley, at the top of Derwent Reservoir, is the wall of Howden Dam. This was the first of the three to be built, trapping the waters of the Derwent River in this narrow, steep-sided valley.

The side channel drops down a series of small falls to keep the river active. The water is orange with iron oxide from the peat moorlands.

The shores of all three reservoirs are planted with managed woodland; a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees.

At its tip, Howden stretches into the high moors.

Up here is the Royal Oak, planted by King George VI on 25th September 1945.

The main purpose of the reservoirs is to provide water for North Derbyshire, Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, but lots of visitors also come here to enjoy the countryside. This is the Visitor Centre at Fairholmes; a fairly modest construction with a kiosk and a small shop, but which is also the centre for the rangers who care for this landscape.

This is the furthest north I have travelled for the A-Z. The landscape around here is very different from the villages further south; wilder and more remote. It has a character all of its own; wonderful, as long as you treat it with respect.

I hope you enjoyed the change of scenery.


  1. What an interesting reservoir! Quite beautiful, in fact. We don't have anything like this in the states.

    I hope you’ll decide to check…
    R is for Robin
    Have a lovely weekend!

    Your friend,
    Cathy Kennedy, Children's Author
    The Tale of Ole Green Eyes

  2. I loved the change of scenery! Absolutely beautiful and the Reservoir is so graciously constructed! An attractive feature all on its own. I love the turret! The water levels do look very low. Hope you get good rains next Spring!

  3. I loved the change of scenery. Reminds me of home. (Oregon)

  4. You live in the most beautiful place. I can't imagine such greenery, since I'm here in Arizona. And the beauty of that bridge. Wow.

  5. What gorgeous construction for much more interesting than the concrete slabs that we have.

  6. What a beautiful landscape again ! I feel like "Escape to the country" without the house hunting of course, lol !

  7. What a neat challenge to fit within the blog meme! Now I have the urge to travel to Europe...well, I already had it but now it is worse. Beautiful.

  8. I have very much enjoyed the change of scenery - it is such a beautiful area with an interesting history. The water does look low in places:)

  9. The farmer and I had a picnic above LadyBower some years ago and I agree it is a magnificent sight.

  10. elegant r words,
    love the watery shots.
    blessings, Happy Friday!

  11. What beautiful structures! These are so gorgeous. And definitely much more charming then the cement edifices they erect here.

    Thanks for another fascinating look at where you live!


  12. These have got to be the most beautifully constructed dams I've ever seen :) It's refreshing to see dams that are not gigantic (like the one in China). I really like how the dam adds to the countryside aesthetic too :) It's so very charming!