Alport Castles, Derwent Valley, Peak District, Derbyshire.
Distance: 8.5 miles / 13.5 kilometers
Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Map: OS Explorer OL1 - The Peak District, Dark Peak Area
An 8.5 mile circular walk from Fairholmes Visitors Centre to Alport Castles Tower, though not particularly challenging, a highly recommended walk with dramatic and picturesque views at any time of the year. The height gains on this very pleasant walk are gentle, and offer some of the most spectacular scenic views. The easy to follow pathway is well managed and stone laid with the exception of a few areas, so it is suitable to all weathers walking.
The tower is 'a magnificent geological feature' that takes centre stage against the walled buttress which is a result of a series of landslides over time, and a great place for a bite to eat. The scramble up the tower is great fun, a fairly easy climb to the top (summer grade 2), though could be awkward descending if the ground is wet.
The top of the tower offers some great views of the area. The return route follows the reservoir road of Howden and Upper Derwent Reservoirs, (made famous by the WWII Dam Busters as a training site), it passes a memorial to the Birchinlee Village. The village housed workers who built the Howden dam (1901-1012) and Derwent dam (1902-1916). In 1903 had a population of 901 complete with police station, post office, recreation hall and football team. The car park at the Fairholmes Visitors Centre is pay and display, though there is plenty of free parking in the lay-bys along the road just a short walk from the centre.