Dovestone Reservoir Walk cover photo

Dovestone Reservoir Walk – An Easy Circular Walk

The Dovestone Reservoir Walk is one of the most accessible walking routes in the Peak District. In this guide, I share the details of this family-friendly circular walk around Dovestone Reservoir as well as all the essential info you’ll need before visiting.

I hadn’t heard much about Dovestone Reservoir before our recent visit, but it turned out to be one of the most picturesque locations in the Peak District. With its dramatic surrounding landscapes and epic hiking trails, it’s hard to believe it’s just 15 miles from the bustling city of Manchester.

There are many walking routes and trails in the Dovestone area. Some, like The Trinnacle trail, are challenging and appropriate for experienced hikers only. However, others, like this circular walk of Dovestone Reservoir, are pretty easy and accessible for all levels of capability.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this relatively easy Peak District walk. By the end of the article, you’ll be well prepared for your hike at Dovestone Reservoir. So let’s get to it. 

view of dovestone reservoir at sunset
We hope you enjoy this circular walk of Dovestone Reservoir!

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Dovestone Reservoir Walk at a Glance

Distance: 4.5KM

Ascent: 50 Metres

Time: 1-1.5 hrs

Difficulty: Easy

Dovestone Reservoir Walk FAQs

Before I share our experience tackling this beautiful walk around Dovestone Reservoir, let’s cover some key information to help you plan accordingly.

How to Get There

Dovestone Reservoir is located in Oldham, just 15 miles east of Manchester.

The easiest way to get there would be by car, but parking is limited, and spots fill up quickly during busier times.

There is a pay & display car park directly next to the reservoir. Click here for the Google Maps location. Or you can start the walk from Binn Green car park as we did.

Binn Green car park (click here for Google Map location) is free but requires an extra 20-30 minutes of walking. It also means walking down a steep set of stairs that might not be convenient for pushchairs, younger children, or those less able on their feet.

The alternative is to look at public transport since I did see a bus stop close to the reservoir—the 350 bus runs between Dovestone Reservoir and neighbouring areas.

beautiful view of dovestone reservoir
beautiful view of dovestone reservoir, peak district

Best Time to Visit

The Dovestone Reservoir walk is a relatively flat and accessible route, so it’s a favoured spot amongst families, dog walkers, runners, and cyclists. It’s unlikely you will be alone on the trail.

The reservoir can get uncomfortably busy during weekends and school holidays, especially on warmer days. There have even been reports of problems recently, with visitors parking irresponsibly, illicitly swimming, or having BBQs and campfires which are strictly prohibited.

If you’re visiting during busier times, I suggest arriving early in the morning. That way, you’ll avoid the bulk of the crowds and won’t have to fight for a parking spot.

woman walking on trinnacle trail with dovestone reservoir in the background

Dovestone Reservoir Walk Difficulty

Anybody of a reasonable fitness level should be fine on this walking trail. Not only is it paved and of even terrain, but there is also minimal incline.

All of these factors make the Dovestone Reservoir walk a favourite amongst families and walkers of all capabilities. You can easily push a pram or pushchair around, and it’s also suitable for cycling.

There are plenty of opportunities for those looking to up the intensity of their walk. The site includes two more reservoirs to walk around (Greenfield and Yeoman Hey) as well as adventurous trails that lead up into the hills.

couple standing on rocks at the trinnacle
Here's us on the iconic Trinnacle Rock Formations!

Dovestone Reservoir Circular Walk Map

Other Things Worth Knowing

Dogs: The Dovestone Reservoir Walk is dog-friendly.

Kids: Kids of all ages will love this walk too. The Dovestone Reservoir Walk is child-friendly.

Pushchair/Wheelchair Access: The Dovestone Reservoir walking route is paved and relatively flat, so it is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Facilities: No facilities are nearby besides public toilets and the occasional food/ice cream van. Please bring enough food and water for your walk, and take all your rubbish home.

Picnic Areas: Various picnic areas and benches are dotted around the reservoir.

Midges: Be aware of midges in the summer. Repellent is a must.

Swimming: Swimming or paddling in any reservoir is strictly prohibited. Many factors make doing so extremely dangerous.

Map: It’s always good to have a map handy should you get lost or lose the trail. We use All Trails for this purpose.

no swimming sign on dovestone reservoir walking trail

Hiking Essential Items

Check out our Hiking Must Haves Blog for a list of hiking essentials for each and every adventure. Alternatively, here are some essential items I recommend you have in preparation for your walk:


Here are some other essentials for your adventure:

Our Experience on the Dovestone Reservoir Walk

We never had any plans to visit this area of the Peak District. Only after coming across photos of The Trinnacle – one of the most epic viewpoints in the Peak District – did we add Dovestone Reservoir to our list of places to see.

It was the right decision. Despite being just 15 miles east of Manchester, bordering the National Park, it’s a jaw-dropping location. Surrounded by lush green hills and rocky crags, plus neighbouring two other reservoirs, the dramatic landscapes are a treat for nature lovers.

campervan parked in Binn Green car park
we parked in Binn Green car park

We parked our campervan in Binn Green car park. Despite signs by the entrance warning that this is a pay & display car park, there are no machines to pay. For now, at least, the fees are not enforced. We even slept here overnight and encountered no problems.

From the car park, we followed the signs pointing to the reservoir. The trail led us into a woodland area and down a steep set of steps. It eventually led us onto what looked like a road, although I never saw any vehicles on it during the few days there.

signpost for dovestone reservoir circular walk

You have a choice here. You can take a left and follow the road until you reach the reservoir or cross over into the woodland area, which is a bit more exciting and adventurous. It looked steep, but we took the second option and half-walked, half-skidded our way to the bottom.

Eventually, we found ourselves on the banks of the reservoir where you could decide to walk clockwise or anti-clockwise. It doesn’t matter which you choose, the views are just the same, but we decided to go right and walk the trail anti-clockwise.

view of dovestone reservoir from walking trail

It was early evening on a weekday, but the sun was shining, so there were quite a few other people around making the most of the weather. The Dovestone Reservoir Walk is one of the few family-friendly routes in the Peak District. It’s only natural that it’s popular.

As we continued, we looked around in awe at the spectacular views. From the steep-sided hills and gritstone ridges to mesmerising views across the water, everything about this location screams adventure. How can somewhere so beautiful be so close to a major city?

dovestone reservoir

Our route led us past the pay & display car park and along the eastern banks of the water. Despite encountering various trails and detours, signs for the Dovestone circular walk appear often. It would be difficult to get lost, put it that way.

Along the way, we noticed a woodland area that runs alongside the eastern banks of the reservoir. You can actually take a detour through here and rejoin the trail at the other side. However, this section is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.

view of dovestone reservoir through trees

At the far end of the woodland, where the trails meet again, there is a picnic area where you can stop for a break. With stunning views all around, we agreed it would make for quite the memorable lunch spot.

From that point, there’s a slight ascent up to the dam wall, which separates Dovestone Reservoir from Yeoman Reservoir. Expect some resistance on the legs, but nothing you can’t handle. When you cross over the dam wall, you are rewarded with epic views over the reservoir.

beautiful view on dovestone reservoir walk
beautiful view on dovestone reservoir walk

You are on the home stretch now. You can follow the same route you came following the cut through back through the woods. Or you can take the trail along the road, following signs for Binn Green car park. I hope you enjoyed your hike!

Enjoy this Circular Walk of Dovestone Reservoir

I hope you enjoy this Dovestone Reservoir Walk as much as we did. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us in the comments section below.

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

Planning a trip around the Peak District? Check out our England series for more travel tips and advice. 

Charlotte & Natalie
If you enjoyed our free guide, you could support us by buying us a coffee! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we share more travel advice and inspiration. Charlotte & Natalie x


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Charlotte & Natalie

Hi There!

We’re Charlotte & Natalie, a British lesbian couple with a passion for travel and adventure.
Here you will find everything from LGBTQ+ travel & lifestyle advice, to comprehensive guides and itineraries designed to make your travel planning easier.
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