· Walk all the way round this attractive wooded reservoir in the Goyt Valley ·
Fernilee Reservoir is the lower of the two reservoirs in the Goyt Valley (the upper being Errwood Reservoir), and supplies drinking water to Stockport and surrounding areas. The combination of water and woodland (particularly on the western shore) makes this a popular spot for a walk. Although this area can get very busy on a sunny bank holiday weekend, there's still enough space for everyone to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Goyt Valley. Come here in winter, or mid-week, and you'll have it more or less to yourself (local dog walkers excepted).
By bus: see below
By car: Start and finish at Bunsal Cob Car Park (arrowed on the following map). The following may help if you use a satnav:
Bus number 61 (Buxton - New Mills - Hayfield - Glossop) passes the end of Goyt's Lane on the A5004 Buxton to Whaley Bridge road. You will then need to walk approximately 2 kilometres down Goyt's Lane (a quiet country road), which includes a steep descent down Bunsal incline, to reach the start point. Remember that you'll need to reascend the incline to return to the bus. The map on the Wildmoorstone Valley walk page shows Goyt's Lane, and its junction with the A5004 bus route.
You can download timetables for Derbyshire public transport from www.derbysbus.info/times
This simplified map provides guidance for the route described. The numbers refer to the numbered steps in the walk description. This map is not suitable for detailed navigation, for which you should use a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.
The Ordnance Survey map covers a bigger area along with important information such as place names, official rights of way, and areas of Access Land.
For this walk, the ideal map is the Explorer Series Number OL24: The Peak District - White Peak Area (Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock & Dove Dale), which includes the whole area of the walk at 1:25 000 scale (4 centimetres to 1 kilometre).
Contour interval: 10 metres; index contours, 50 metres. North at top (approximate).
Map data © OpenStreetMap and available under the Open Database Licence. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright & database right 2015.
Continue along the track as it passes through wooded and more open sections -- there are several benches along this section of track. You'll likely see swathes of bluebells on the right-hand banks here (in May), and stands of pink Willowherb later in the summer. Eventually, about 1½ kilometres (1 mile) from the last gate, you'll reach a second gate across the track. Go through this, and continue towards the dam that you can now see close at hand ahead and to your left.
The road across the top of the dam is about 250 metres long. There are good views back along Fernilee Reservoir, and to the hills beyond as you get further across the dam. Also, don't forget to look through any gaps in the hedge to your right as you make your way along the dam -- there are great views from here down to the River Goyt in its wooded valley.
After about 200 metres, just before the road takes a sharp turn to the right and heads steeply uphill, you'll see a signpost on your left. This points to "Hoo Moor" (along the road) and to "Errwood" (into the woods on your left). Bear left off the road, into the woods on an earthy track, following the sign to "Errwood". Go through the gate (just a few metres from the road), and continue along the broad track through the woods.
After about ½ a kilometre (⅓ of a mile) from the road, you'll reach a signposted junction. The direction you've just come from is signed to "Fernilee". Turn left off the main track here (signed "Waterside Walk" and numbered "3"), joining a narrower path that immediately starts to descend towards the reservoir. Earth steps are built into the path where necessary.
Continue to follow the path, which eventually levels off and then reaches another path junction after about 300 metres. Ignore the side-track to the right here (signed to "Deep Clough") and continue across a short section of boardwalk and on along the main track (signed to "Errwood Hall" and numbered "3").
Continue along the broad path through woodland, passing some more open grassy areas to the left (with benches) that give good views out over the reservoir. After about 600 metres from the last path junction, you'll reach a second junction. Again, ignore the side-track to the right here (signed to "Fernilee via woodland walk") and continue along the main track beside the reservoir (signed to "Errwood" and numbered "3".