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  • Sam Weatherstone

Derwent and Howden Reservoir walk.

Updated: May 6

12th October, 2017


This weeks adventure saw us take on the 16k walk around Derwent and Howden, taking in the famous dam used by 617 Squadron RAF 'The Dambusters'. We also walked through the site of the village of Birchinlee also known as Tin Town, a purpose built village by the Derwent water board to house Navvies and their families who helped build the Derwent and Howden dams in the early 20th century.  A really interesting walk with information boards along the way giving you an insight into the daily life of the workers and their families.  


After frightening ourselves at the thought of falling through the ground into an abandoned cellar (yes a little over dramatic we know) we continued on the path towards Howden.  The trees, now all golden and autumnal, lined our way with the odd sighting of a mushroom popping its head up from under the fallen leaves.  The views across the reservoir were breathtaking as always, and the mist and rain only added to the dramatic scenery.



On reaching the head of Howden the rain started to move in, so we found a shelter in a little wooded spot to try out Sue's new stove.   We thought a full fry up would be a little adventurous so we started small with Mugshots (other dried pasta snacks available) with full bellies and feeling a little smug we dusted off the spiders and wood louse and set on our merry way.


The weather man didn't get it wrong, and as promised the rain came down at around 1pm and made us fully aware of its presence for pretty much the rest of the afternoon! However, little did we know what wonders were waiting for us just around the corner....

A red glow in the distance snuggled in to the bank was what only can be described as a scene from a Brambly Hedge or an Enid Blyton book! Little red fairy houses in there hundreds.  There were so many different varieties all sat together.  From what Sam's identified, and apart from the unmistakable Fly Agaric (which we were on a mission to find that day!) we saw Death Caps, Wood Blewitt and Wood Mushrooms to name a few.  They must have stretched out by the bank for a good 30 metres.  Never have we witnessed such a site in perfect form.  We used to get this excited about shoes 20 years ago! Oh how we've changed haha!




After composing ourselves but still giddy on our findings we scrambled our way back up to the main path and continued our journey around what now seemed a never ending reservoir.   14k in and wet from head to sock our spirits were starting to crumble until we cracked open Sam's 350g bag of trail mix (yes 350g! Sue's still eating it at point of writing, 3 days later!) it gave us the lift we needed to carry us across the finish line back at Fairholmes visitor centre.

After a change of socks we managed to find just enough energy to get to the Yorkshire Bridge for a well earned pint of Shandy (again, we've changed!), and a packet of seabrooks to sit back and recap on our days adventure.


To read more about Tin Town, its residents and how the dams were built, as well as the mission of 617 Squadron please find a link here.



To watch our walk, the views and our findings of the day, click the vid below.  We'd love to hear your feedback on this and any of our videos so please Like, Comment, Share and Subscribe.



Thanks for stopping by!

Sam and Sue


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