Slippery Stones, Derwent Valley

Rory Calland
National Trust, Slippery Stones, Derwent Valley

As you follow the River Derwent northwards through the heart of the Peak District, its course stutters across three reservoirs. The Upper Derwent visitor centre is not a bad place to park up if you don’t mind a little trekking, here if you’re lucky you can see the young Derwent get into its stride flowing in a torrent over the vast Derwent Dam. Here, military buffs will be excited to know this is where Lancaster Bomber squadrons tried out their ‘bouncing bombs’ – see ‘The Dam Busters’ for more.

A sign at the dam quaintly deters visitors from bathing in the reservoir or indeed committing “any nuisance”. Five miles upstream as you follow the infant river back towards its source are the ‘Slippery Stones’ – where you can commit all the aquatic nuisances you want. As you tramp along the eastern path (which is closed at weekends) the eponymous stones will start to appear in the shallows, sometimes creating mini waterfalls. In time you’ll reach a modestly sized plunge pool that is nonetheless often 3-4 metres deep and good for a cannonball. No notices from the Derwent Water Board here.

Nestled in the crook of the vale, the setting couldn’t be much better. In summer the hills are often flush with purple heather and you’ll likely come across some Swaledale sheep grazing the lush vegetation. Last year a bearded vulture was even spotted in the area in a marvellous wildlife anomaly that sparked lots of interest – so pack some binoculars just in case.

You can park much closer to the pool along the road west of Howden Reservoir, from there it’s roughly only a mile walk. If you choose this option you may be more tempted to head off onto the peatland of Howden Moor and search for the river’s source.

Howden ReservoirHope ValleyS33 0BB View map
Visit Now

What's on near Slippery Stones, Derwent Valley

Where to go near Slippery Stones, Derwent Valley

Event venue
Cannon Hall Farm

Cannon Hall Farm opened to the public for the first time in 1989. Since that time we have added adventure playgrounds, gift shop, farm shop, two restaurants and an indoor playground.

Cannon Hall Museum Park & Gardens, Barnsley
Barnsley
Museum
Cannon Hall Museum Park & Gardens

Cannon Hall is a stunning Georgian country house museum with outstanding fine and decorative art collections, set in 70 acres of historic parkland and beautiful landscape gardens. It is the perfect day out for all the family.

Huddersfield
Restaurant
The Bionic Chef

Serving up some of the tastiest breakfasts and brunches in Huddersfield, The Bionic Chef promises mornings served with serious flavour.

Gallery
The Civic

The Civic is a multi­purpose theatre and art gallery based in Barnsley, which presents world-class accessible performances and exhibitions throughout the year.

Sheffield
Gallery
Cupola Contemporary Art

Displaying over 300 artists in a range of media, Sheffield’s Cupola Contemporary Art – established in 1991 – is a highly respected gallery for the sale and exhibition of fine art and craft.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Wakefield
Gallery
Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Set over 500 acres, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the best open-air gallery in the UK and an international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture.

Bar stock image
Sheffield
Bar or Pub
Two Sheds

Have a pint with your puppy this evening! Two Sheds is a dog friendly micro-pub in Sheffield serving craft beers and real ales.

Weston Park Museum, Sheffield
Sheffield
Museum
Weston Park Museum

Weston Park is an award-winning, family-friendly museum with a varied permanent collection and rotating programme of temporary exhibitions.

Culture Guides