Goyt Valley walk 13: Errwood circular

Walk distance: 5 miles | Approximate time: 3.5 hours | Date recorded: February 2012

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Walk description & directions

There are some wonderfully panoramic views during this easy and enjoyable 5-mile walk around Errwood Reservoir. The narrow path on the east side of Errwood  can get muddy after rain – so walking boots are essential. But I took the photographs during a fairly damp February, and it wasn’t a problem.

The walk description starts from the main car park between the twin reservoirs, but there are two others marked on the map. It heads along the western bank of Errwood and then down the riverside path, before crossing the picturesque packhorse bridge and returning on the other side to the lower part of the Bunsall Incline, and then back across the dam wall to the car park.

There are also some excellent picnic spots along the way to rest a while and enjoy the views.

1: From the main car park between Errwood and Fernilee Reservoirs, head down the slope, go through the gates, and along the narrow road beside Errwood Reservoir.

2: When you reach the modern bridge take a look to your right. The road from the now-submerged hamlet of Goyt’s Bridge up to Errwood Hall once went along here. Take the narrow footpath on the right, just after the bridge, and head diagonally left up the slope.

3: Go through the gap in the stone wall at the top of the slope, and turn left along the track. (For a detour, you could take the path to the right and visit the ruins of Errwood Hall, returning along the same path to this point.)

4: Follow this track for some distance, keeping the stone wall on your left, until reach the single track road.

5: Cross the road and go through the small gate on the opposite side. This leads along a track known as the ‘Riverside Path’ which runs down to the River Goyt (which is very much a stream at this point).

6: This picturesque track is wheelchair and pushchair friendly, and provides some idyllic picnic spots alongside the Goyt. It’s one of my favourite places in the valley and shows what wonderful scenery was lost when the reservoirs were constructed.

7: At the end of the track, follow the narrow path straight ahead which leads through the trees, and then up a series of winding steps to reach back to the road. This road is one-way only, with traffic coming from your right – from Errwood Reservoir towards Derbyshire Bridge.

8: Turn left along the road. You soon reach an open area on the right which was once a loading bay for stone from Goytsclough Quarry. Walk further you will soon see the picturesque Packhorse Bridge spanning the Goyt in the valley to your left.

9: Head down the narrow path leading to the ancient bridge and cross over to the other side. A metal plaque explains that it was moved here from the hamlet of Goyt’s Bridge just before it was flooded in 1965. Which is one thing to be thankful to the planners for!

10: In times gone by, teams of up to 40 sturdy packhorses, each laden with heavy goods, would have crossed these stones. From the far side of the bridge, take the narrow path on the left which leads along the valley side and across the moorland.

11: This path can get muddy after rain, but a series of wooden platforms along the route make the going fairly easy. Keep following this path for some distance.

12: This photo shows just how muddy the path can get! Go though the gap in the stone wall, continuing in the same direction, towards the reservoir.

13: Eventually you will see Errwood Reservoir nestling in the valley ahead. Keep following the track, keeping to the right of any stone walls. There are some great view points on the left along this path.

14: Eventually you reach a footpath sign. Follow the sign to the left and towards ‘Errwood’. This wider and more solid track winds down and around the slope.

15: At the foot of the slope you reach a small footbridge. The path to your right eventually leads to Burbage on the western edge of Buxton (see walk 9). Take the track which winds around to the left.

16: There are some well-placed benches when you reach the reservoir. The track coming down the slope from your right at this point is Old Goyt’s Lane (see walk 10) which leads up to the top of the Bunsall Incline. But keep following the path straight ahead, along the side of Errwood Reservoir.

17: Follow this path for some distance as it winds across the side of the valley, through trees and over moorland. Eventually you reach the narrow lane which is the main route into the valley from the Buxton to Whaley Bridge road.

18: Turn left down the road. This is the ‘Bunsall Incline’. Trains were once hauled up and down here using steam-driven pulleys (click for more info).  A small plaque further down on the left explains that it was only tarmacced in 1967, during the construction of Errwood Reservoir.

19: Just as the lane winds around to the left, look out for a path on the right. This leads down to Fernilee reservoir. I’ll post another walk around this reservoir at some point, but it’s very simple to find. To return to the car park, simply continue along the lane and over the dam wall, and it’s straight ahead.

Please do get in touch if you discover any mistakes in these directions.