Ladybower Reservoir, England, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - England - East Midlands -

Also known as:  Ladybower Lake

The hunter waits patiently for the birds to emerge at Ladybower Reservoir. There is a rustle then the grouse break cover, their wings thrumming and beating their escape. Unable to get a shot but hardly disappointed, the hunter climbs from the tuff and stone blind and surveys the landscape around him. His blind high on the heather covered moors overlooks some of the most beautiful countryside in the United Kingdom. Patchwork fields dotted with small farms and ringed with stone walls cover gently rolling dales in a pattern dating back to medieval times. The sparkling reservoirs that fill the valleys, however, are more recent and only add to the beauty of the Peaks District. Ladybower Reservoir is the largest, and surrounded by the moors, dales, and quintessential English countryside, the view is well worth the hike with or without the grouse.

Ladybower Reservoir or Ladybower Lake as it is also known is one of three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley. Established in 1899, the Derwent Valley Water Board was charged with providing a safe and stable water supply for Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Sheffield. Construction on Howden and Derwent Dams began almost immediately creating two water storage reservoirs on the River Derwent. Ladybower Reservoir was added later with construction beginning in 1935 and finishing in 1943. The reservoir drowned both Ashopton Village and Derwent Village. Villagers were relocated to houses at Yorkshire Bridge. Miss A. Cotterill of Gwinnett House was the only resident that refused to move. She lived in her home until her death at 99 years old in 1990. By that time Ladybower Lake’s water was touching her front garden steps.

Gwinnett House is still visible as are the last remnants of Derwent Village. Visitors can see them from the walk that rings Ladybower Lake. The beautiful, ornate waterworks buildings below Ladybower Dam are also visible from the walk as are the two bellmouth overflows. Known locally as plugholes, the overflows are one of the reservoir’s more interesting features. About 80 feet in diameter the overflows act as giant drains letting excess water cascade into them as they narrow to 15 feet at their outlet at the base of the dam.

Construction on Ladybower Reservoir had been slowed but not stalled by World War II. The Upper Derwent Valley reservoirs played an important role in the war. The similarities of the Derwent and Howden Dams to the Mohne and Eder Dams in Germany made them the ideal training grounds for the 617 Squadron of the RAF also known as “the Dambusters.” The Dambusters flew runs over the dams so close to houses and farms they rattled shingles loose and inhibited milk and egg production. Today visitors can tour a memorial and museum in honor of the Dambusters and Operation “Chastise” at the Derwent Dam. By 1945 World War II was over and Ladybower Reservoir had filled completely. In celebration of both, King George II and Queen Elizabeth presided over the opening ceremony for Ladybower Reservoir on September 25, 1945.

Ladybower Lake is at the heart of the Peaks District National Park. Drawing more than two million visitors a year, it is one of the United Kingdom’s most popular national parks. The Peaks district can be divided into three regions, White Peak, Dark Peak, and South West Peak. The landscape ranges from gristone rock ledges that draw climbers from across the world to high moorland full of grouse, goshawk and mountain hare. Blanket bogs made up of sphagnum moss and heather covers the moors. There are woodland forests used for timber and wildlife, and farms scattered across the gently rolling hills. Footpaths and bicycle trails cross the park, and hikers of all skill levels will find paths through the beautiful English countryside. The Peaks District National Park is 555 square miles and covers parts of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire Counties.

Boats are allowed on parts of Ladybower Reservoir, and there are boat rentals available. Power boats, however, are restricted. The lake is a popular place to fly fish from the bank or by boat, and anglers will plenty of trout to challenge them. The trout season extends to the end of November with size restrictions and daily catch limits. Anglers can fish for pike through the end of February.

After a day spent on the water or tromping through the moors, there are several lakeside restaurants for dinner or a pint. There are lakeside and lake view vacation rentals, and various accommodations in Bamford Village, the only original village left in the Upper Derwent Valley. Sheffield, the United Kingdom’s fifth largest city, is just fifteen miles from Ladybower Reservoir with any amenities a visitor might need along with real estate for sale for those wishing to extend their stays.

At Ladybower Reservoir, visitors can step out of their doors and into the settings of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. Its storybook charm makes it the perfect Peaks District destination.

Things to do at Ladybower Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Ladybower Reservoir

  • Pike
  • Trout

Ladybower Reservoir Photo Gallery

Ladybower Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Severn Trent Water

Surface Area: 520 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Average Depth: 95 feet

Water Volume: 22,538 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1945

Drainage Area: 10 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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