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South Pennines Walk
Black Hill & Four Reservoirs

Nat Park - Peak District - Black Hill Dovestone

Region - South Pennines

County/Area - West Yorkshire

Author - Paul Webb

Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km    Ascent - 1190 feet / 361 metres

Time - 6 hours 10 minutes    Grade - moderate

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL1Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 110Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 110Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Black Hill & Four Reservoirs
Click image to see photo description.

This is a very nice Peak District walk on a fine day with good open views of the Yorkshire valleys and the open expanses of moorland. It's a good mixture of erosion-saving stone paving for quicker progress and getting covered in peat moss for the rest. On a low cloud day it's better described as crossing a bog in the fog - an experience in itself!

Park on the roadside on the A635 where it joins the Wessenden Head Road coming up from Meltham (Grid ref. SE076073). There's usually an excellent snack caravan here for a good start breakfast and a well earned tea and cakes at the end.

From the road, 50 yards SW of the junction take the signposted Pennine Way SSE on a stone flagged section which will take you all the way across Dean Clough and Black Dike and up the impressive Issue Clough to the peat bog which is Black Hill. At the OS trig. point on Black Hill (now well accessible because of the stone flagging) it may not be immediately obvious (especially in cloud) where the path starts for the next section, which is NW towards Dean Head Moss. You are safe to walk on a bearing from the trig. point keeping slightly to the right and you will find cairns and posts to assist. This is beautiful open moorland and is a lesser used path for those who prefer some solitude.

Crossing the A635 again at the car park (Grid ref. 051064) carry on NW across Featherbed Moss, White Moss and NNW to the southern point of Black Moss Reservoir. About one third of this section is stone flagged. The rest is in and out of peat bog with cairns and posts to assist route finding.

Here you join the Pennine Way again heading east past Swellands Reservoir on your left and down Blakely Clough. At Grouse Butts stay on the main path which contours southwest around delightful weirs and waterfalls and eventually down to cross the dam at Wessenden Reservoir.

Turn right once you are over the Dam and make sure you have saved some energy for a steady climb for the last one and a half miles up to Wessenden Head and the road back to your vehicle.

NOTE : I did a walk today which included part of the above route and found that the path from the foot of Blakely Clough around the weirs to the dam of Wessenden Res is currently closed because of subsidence.(OL1 Dark Peak map GR051085). The diversion is via the route now shown as the Pennine Way on the latest version of OL1. The details are: From the water tank at the foot of Blakely Clough (GR052088), bear left down the steep path to the bridge over Wessenden Brook. On the other side go up the path to join the Wessenden track at GR053090 and turn right to rejoin the original route at the Wessenden Reservoir dam adjacent to Wessenden Lodge." - Peter Schofield 9/11/2005

PS - Afterwards, if you have the time and energy, take the short permissive path from the Wessenden Head Road, for one mile north of the junction, up to West Nab for some splendid views.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2561 Digley & Ramsden Reservoirs from Wessenden Headmoderate9.5 miles
Walk 1583 Digley Reservoireasy/mod5.0 miles
Walk 2630 Upper Holme Valley & Ramsden Cloughmoderate9.0 miles
Walk 2719 Huddersfield's green fringeeasy/mod10.0 miles
Walk 1829 Holme & Marsden Clough from Ramsden Reservoir moderate9.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Pennine Way Map Booklet

Pennine Way Map BookletMap of the 270 miles (435km) Pennine Way National Trail, between Edale in the Peak District and Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps. This popular long-distance route typically takes three weeks to complete.
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The Pennine Way - the Path, the People, the Journey

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Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

South Pennines Walking

The South Pennines stretch from the northern boundary of the Peak District to the southern boundary of the Yorkshire Dales. Consisting of high rolling moorland, intersected by deep valleys, there is nowhere in this region that exceeds 2000 feet. The moors and valleys are where the old rivals, Lancashire and Yorkshire meet and where too the rival industries of cotton and wool. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

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