7 most picturesque Peak District lakes and reservoirs

Days out, Nature, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ed Roberts on 9th March 2021

The Peak District is renowned for its bold open spaces and challenging walking trails. It’s less known for its lakes and reservoirs; however, there are plenty all across the National Park for you to discover, whether you are looking for somewhere to enjoy some water sports, a bike ride, or a scenic walk. We have enjoyed collating a useful guide centring on the Peak District National Park’s seven most picturesque lakes and reservoirs for you. 

The Peak District’s lakes and reservoirs have many contrasts. Some, such as Carsington Water, are home to water parks with kit hire facilities, whilst others, like the mystical Mermaid’s Pool on Kinder Scout, have no facilities at all. The lakes and reservoirs of the Peak District all have one thing in common, however: their beauty; and when combined together for a holiday break, they provide a memorable and most picturesque canvas for your escape to the region. 

If you are planning a trip to the Peak District National Park, then why not consider staying at one of our self-catering holiday cottages? We have properties close to each of the bodies of water in our guide.

Peak District cottages


Derwent Reservoir

Derwent Reservoir 

If you are looking for an activity-packed day out at one of the prettiest and most popular lakes in Derbyshire, then seek out Derwent Reservoir. This is a well-known spot for trout fishing (you can buy one-day permits) where you can take beginner’s lessons with an instructor. There are also scenic walking trails and a play park for kids to enjoy during your day trip. Stop in at the café and visitor centre to find your bearings and to get an up-to-date overview of current events at the reservoir. 

Activities: Walking, cycling, fishing, watersports, Dark Sky-friendly site

Facilities: Café, visitor centre, WCs, 12-acre dog field, picnic area, parking

Stay nearby: Sams Stable | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs 


Ladybower Reservoir

Ladybower Reservoir 

Ladybower Reservoir is a beautiful body of water in the Upper Derwent Valley, offering a true escape to the Peak District National Park. It was built between 1935 and 1943 and was even opened by King George VI. Two villages, Derwent and Ashopton, were flooded to make way for the reservoir and whenever the waters recede you can make a rare sighting of the remains of some of the buildings. Cyclists and walkers adore the views, making Ladybower Reservoir a top pick.

Activities: Walking, cycling, viewpoint at Bamford Edge

Facilities: Parking, picnic area

Stay nearby: Bobbin Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests 


Carsington Water

Carsington Water 

Carsington Water is a mecca for fans of outdoor activities. It is home to a large sailing club where you can always see a flotilla of boats on the lake. There is also a water sports centre where those of you who are looking to enjoy some canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating can hire craft. There are many opportunities for long walks and bike rides at its edge too.

Activities: Walking, cycling, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, kayaking, fishing

Facilities: Hire shops, parking, WCs, café

Stay nearby: Judy Cottage | Sleeps: 5 guests + 2 dogs 


Fernilee and Errwood Reservoir

Fernilee and Errwood Reservoir

The neighbouring reservoirs of Fernilee and Errwood are located just west of Buxton in the Goyt Valley. Many visitors to the Peak District National Park seek Fernilee and Errwood out for long and peaceful country walks. Encircled in the main by forest and woodland, the scenery is eye-catching and lush. There is a 4-mile circular of Fernilee Reservoir, and you can even cross the dam to shorten the walk if you feel the need to. The western path follows the course of a disused railway line. Similarly, there is a very pleasant 5-mile trail around Errwood that is largely unsealed, where you will also encounter the ghostly ruins of Errwood Hall.

Activities: Walking

Facilities: Parking

Stay nearby: The Old Stable in the Peaks | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs


Linacre Reservoirs

Linacre Reservoirs

With a joint capacity of up to 240 million gallons of water, the three reservoirs at Linacre are a lovely addition to your Peak District holiday itinerary. There is a number of pleasant trails that weave in and around their edges, through the surrounding farm fields and bluebell woods. The waters are also ringed by conifer plantations, and beech, larch, alder and oak trees. It’s a tree enthusiast’s dream.

Activities: Walking, cycling, horse riding

Facilities: Parking

Stay nearby: Old Well Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs


Mermaid’s Pool

Mermaid’s Pool

Thought to have been a place of sacred importance to the Ancient Celts, Mermaid’s Pool, close to Kinder Scout (the highest point in the Peak District) and the southern end of the Pennine Way, is a stark and remote beauty spot. The occasional wild swimmer braves its icy waters, but many of its visitors are content to enjoy a walk to this fantastic body of water in the Peak District. The eponymous mermaid is said to be a water nymph who lives inside Kinder Scout; she once gave a swimmer the gift of immortality.

Activities: Walking, wild swimming

Facilities: None

Stay nearby: Alice Cottage | Sleeps: 6 guests + 2 dogs 


Map of lakes & reservoirs in the Peak District

Find each of these lakes and reservoirs with the help of our useful map.


Stay at a Peak District holiday cottage

Discover the beautiful Peak District National Park and visit some of the region’s best lakes and reservoirs. We have a large selection of self-catering holiday cottages for you to choose from, with properties large and small to meet all your requirements. View our range of Peak District cottages today.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.