Guest Information

Ladybower Reservoir

Just a short stroll from the apartments, Ladybower Reservoir was the third and last of three reservoirs which were built in the Upper Derwent Valley. It can hold over 6,000 million gallons of water making it far larger than either the Howden or Derwent Dam, both of which can hold approximately 2,000 million gallons.

Two villages, Derwent and Ashopton, had to be sacrificed to make way for Ladybower Reservoir. The remains of some of the buildings of Derwent village can sometimes be seen at the northern end of the reservoir during drought conditions.

Ladybower Reservoir was officially opened by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on 25th September, 1945. At the opening ceremony a memorial tablet was unveiled which can still be seen today on the east overflow crest, or plughole as it is more commonly known.

The reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley are most famous for the fact that they were used by 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, to practice their raids prior to their mission to the Ruhr Dams in Germany. The Dams and Dambusters Museum in the west tower of Derwent Dam has incredible video footage and memorabilia of their mission, as well as great artefacts about the feat of engineering in constructing the reservoirs.

The west overflow featured in the latest 2015 Mission Impossible film, Rogue Nation, where Tom Cruise ‘jumps’ into the middle of the plughole. We did have the film crew here filming the plughole from above, but sadly no famous actors! We think this would have been a stunt too far, even for Tom Cruise!

Nearly a third of the land around the reservoirs is woodland, the vast majority of which is open to walkers. Above the woodland belt are the sheep pastures, many of which are owned by Severn Trent and leased to farmers. Higher still are the gritstone edges and the distinctive moorland of the High Peak, which reward visitors with stunning views and superb photographic opportunities.

Today the reservoirs attract many walkers and cyclists, as well as visitors who simply want to enjoy the stunning scenery in this wonderful area of the Peak District National Park. There are some splendid walks around Ladybower Reservoir and walkers of all abilities will be spoilt for choice!


The Local Area

Against a magnificent backdrop composed from some of the most stunning scenery in the Peak District National Park, the Upper Derwent reservoir area is considered by many to be the jewel in the Peak District’s crown.

Ladybower Apartments are located in the former pump house for Ladybower Reservoir. The building was restored in 2004 and sits in a truly unique position amidst wonderful walking country, woodlands and a profusion of wildlife.

Our award winning residential inn, The Yorkshire Bridge Inn, is just across the road; it offers a wide variety of high quality dining, as well as an ideal place in which to unwind and relax after a hard days sightseeing!

Ladybower Apartments and The Yorkshire Bridge Inn are situated north of the village of Bamford, just a short stroll from the Ladybower Reservoir, the largest of the three Derwent Valley Dams which are famed for the Dambuster training runs.

Dating back to at least the 1826, The Yorkshire Bridge Inn takes its’ name from an old packhorse bridge which was the last crossing point on the River Derwent before the Yorkshire border.

Whilst Bamford is officially categorised as being part of the Hope Valley, it is strictly the sole survivor of three original villages in the Upper Derwent Valley, the other two, Ashopton and Derwent, having been sacrificed to make way for the waters of the Ladybower Reservoir.


The Yorkshire Bridge Inn

The award winning Yorkshire Bridge Inn is a traditional Peak District inn, privately owned and managed by the Illingworth family since 1997.

Our glorious location, just a short stroll from the Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District National Park, is an ideal base from which to explore the exceptional beauty of the Peak District.

It is also a great place to enjoy a drink and have some very good food! The quality and integrity of our food is something special. We work with a great selection of local suppliers to offer locally sourced products which are cooked to order and we always seek out new produce. We have a wide menu, complimented by a selection of daily specials, and the emphasis is always on top quality and good value. We have built up a great reputation for our choice of beers, especially our local ales which include our very own Bombs Gone brew. We offer an imaginative well priced wine list from our local specialist wine merchant with something for everyone and a good selection by the glass.

We have 14 bedrooms offering comfortable accommodation, as well as a variety of bars and dining areas with a friendly atmosphere enjoyed by visitors and locals of all ages.

Our award winning success and desire to please our guests go hand in hand. Together with our friendly, loyal and helpful staff, we will endeavour to make your visit a great experience.


The Dambusters

It is hard to believe that this beautiful part of the Peak District was once associated with one of the most dangerous and daring attacks of the Second World War.

The reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley are most famous for the fact that they were used by 617 Squadron, ‘the Dambusters’, to practice their raids prior to their mission to the Ruhr Dams in Germany. Dr Barnes Wallis designed the ‘bouncing’ bombs, and the RAF practised their precise release at a height of 60ft and a speed of exactly 222mph.

The rigorous training runs resulted in many furious locals who presumed the crews were just joy-riding. The bombers rattled roof tiles off farmhouses and were blamed for the reduction in egg and milk production!

Only a ten minute drive from Ladybower Apartments, the Dams and Dambusters Museum is located in the west tower of Derwent Dam, just a short distance from Fairholmes Car Park and Visitor Centre. Visitors to the Dams and Dambusters Museum can see video footage and memorabilia of their mission, as well as marvel at the feat of engineering in the construction of the three Dams.

The museum boasts a wealth of information about the local area including the sacrificed villages of Ashopton and Derwent, the story of the village of Birchinlee which was known as ‘Tin Town’, and an amazing collection of local memorabilia and artefacts.

In addition, as the Dams and Dambusters Museum is in such a spectacular location it is a great starting point from which to discover the majestic Derwent and Howden Reservoirs, quiet forests and wild open moorland of the Upper Derwent Valley.

The museum is free entry, although there is a collection box in the museum and donations are greatly appreciated. It is run on a voluntary basis so the opening hours can change but it is usually open on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.


Well Dressings

Well Dressing is believed to have originated in pagan times. The church banned it as water worship but the tradition refused to die. In 1349 Tissington revived the art of Well Dressing and it now flourishes throughout the region.

The custom is almost exclusive to Derbyshire and is only found either in or very near to the county.

In its simplest form Well Dressing can be described as the art of decorating springs and wells with pictures made from local plant life such as petals, flowers, berries and leaves.

The process starts with a wooden board soaked in the local river for a few days. The board is then covered in soft, wet clay and the outline of the picture is applied to the clay. The outline is then filled in with either alder cones, known locally as ‘blacks’, berries or even small white haricot beans.

Next comes the painstaking work of filling in the picture using a whole variety of growing things including bark, mosses, lichens, petals and, in some cases, whole flower heads.

A Well Dressing takes many hours to complete, and villagers often work through the night to finish in the early hours of the first festival morning. Some wells are dressed in secret whilst many are now more open and visitors can watch how the picture develops.

The Wirksworth Heritage Centre hosts a permanent display detailing the history and practice of this ancient custom and visitors can see the various stages in the dressing of a well.

Dressings can take a team of people up to seven days to complete, but the picture only lasts about a week before the clay cracks and the flowers fade. Pictures are seen to their best advantage in the first few days after they have gone up and before the sun or wind has cracked the clay.

The well dressing season starts in May and runs through to late September each year. A Well Dressing leaflet is published each year, which includes details of all dates and venues as well as locations where visitors can see pictures being made.


Environmental Commitment

Having been awarded the prestigious national Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award many years ago we made the decision to have a more local focus and to support the aims of the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark. We are delighted to be holders of the Mark both at Ladybower Apartments and The Yorkshire Bridge Inn.

The Peak District Environmental Quality Mark is a certification mark. It can only be achieved by businesses that actively support good environmental practices in the Peak District National Park. When you buy a product or service that has been awarded the Mark you can be confident that your purchase directly supports the high quality management of the special environment of the Peak District National Park. We provide lots of information in each apartment so that you can see which businesses in the Park are active supporters and can offer you a true taste or experience of the region safe in the knowledge that they are committed to protecting it for generations to come.

To qualify for the Environmental Quality Mark businesses have to achieve high standards of care for the environment in all aspects of management including:

  • Conservation of the Peak District National Park
  • Use of locally grown and made products and services
  • Use of environmentally friendly products
  • Efficient use of energy and water
  • Minimisation of waste by reducing, reusing and recycling
  • Provision of environmental information to customers

Ladybower Apartments were proud winners of the prestigious Gold Award for Sustainable Tourism in the East Midlands Tourism Enjoy England Excellence Awards 2010. The Award was designed to reward tourism businesses that could illustrate their excellence and commitment to sustainable best practice. The Enjoy England Excellence Awards celebrate the very best of English tourism.


Cycle Hire

Derwent Cycle Hire is situated in the picturesque Upper Derwent Valley. It is easily accessible from Ladybower Apartments with parking available onsite.

You can cycle beside the historic Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs through beautiful woodland. There is a wide range of both easy going and challenging routes for cyclists.

The friendly and knowledgeable Cycle Hire staff are on hand to offer help and advice. They have a wide selection of cycles available including cycles for guests with impaired mobility.

An emergency cycle repair service is also offered.

Call them on 01433 651261.

Or you could have your bikes delivered direct to your door! Peak Cycle Tours offer this service to/from anywhere in the Peak District. They will deliver your bike to your start point and pick up from the same place or a different location if you require.

Bikes come fully serviced and in excellent condition and they continually update their fleet to ensure that their bikes are up to scratch.

They always have between 50 to 60 bikes in their fleet at any time, which enables them to cater for virtually all requirements.

Call them on 01457 851462 or 07961 052 590 to check availability.