Yorkshire Walk - High and Low Bradfield

PUBLISHED: 09:29 06 January 2011 | UPDATED: 19:11 17 February 2020

The idyllic cricket ground

The idyllic cricket ground

Sheffield must surely be one of the most rural industrial cities in the world, with the Peak District National Park on its doorstep and stretching its green fingers into the suburbs.

High Bradfield ChurchHigh Bradfield Church

This walk was published in January 2011, so the details of the route may no longer be accurate, we do advise these articles should only be used as a guideline for any potential route you take and you should double check an up to date map before you set off.


Sheffield must surely be one of the most rural industrial cities in the world, with the Peak District National Park on its doorstep and stretching its green fingers into the suburbs.

The twin villages of High and Low Bradfield, the starting point for this walk of lush valleys, lakes and high moors, stand only seven miles from the city centre yet exude an air of deep rural tranquillity with the imposing church overlooking picturesque cottages and the idyllically-sited cricket ground.

Low BradfieldLow Bradfield


From the Low Bradfield car park in Fair House Lane, behind the cricket ground, walk back down the lane to the neat stone bridge over the beck and continue along Mill Lee Road. Opposite the Plough Inn take an enclosed track on the right, pass a cottage, cross a stile and, ignoring the farm track which rises to another gate, remain on the level footpath above the wooded beck. At the lane turn left uphill and follow it for about three quarters of a mile.

When it reaches the massed conifers of Wragg House Plantation on the right look out for a signed footpath which drops down into the trees after a couple of hundred yards. Follow the path through the wood but where it bends left take an enclosed path downhill between ruined drystone walls to reach Dale Dike Reservoir. The peaceful setting of this placid sheet of water belies its grim role in Britain's worst man-made water disaster.

The reservoir was started in 1864 but before it could be finished the earth dam collapsed sending millions of gallons of water rushing down the valleys towards Sheffield. Almost 250 people were killed as houses and mills were swept away with massive damage along the Don and Loxley Valleys. The dam was rebuilt 11 years later but not filled until 1887. Today its capacity is still far below the original plan.

Below Dale Dike ReservoirBelow Dale Dike Reservoir

Turn right along the waterside and beyond the dam the path weaves through trees and down steps before crossing a footbridge and zigzagging up the opposite bank. Ignore another track coming in from the left but carry on the main track to emerge on Dale Road. Go right for about 100 yards to where a bridleway on the left climbs the valley side with views across the reservoir to the moors. When the bridleway emerges onto Mortimer Road turn right for a few yards and take the side road downhill on the right. After passing the former Wilkin Hill Outdoor Centre look out for a stile on the left. Cross this and follow the path through the trees. Where it joins another track bear left and continue descending to cross a high-arched stone bridge. Follow the track downstream until at a pair of stone gateposts and on the edge of a large patch of clear-felled woodland a narrow enclosed track, half hidden in the bracken climbs the hillside. The walk can be shortened at this point by continuing along the main track back to Low Bradfield but to do so misses the walk's finest section.

The steep climb rises to reach moorland and at the top of the path turn your back on the dam and instead follow the wall left along the escarpment with fine moorland views. The path ends at a kissing gate just below a moorland road. Cross this, climb a stile and head right across the pasture to a second stile at another road. Cross over again and take the enclosed track opposite and follow it, guided by painted yellow arrows, past a dilapidated farm. Carry on along the path, which runs through pastures above a line of hawthorn trees. At the end of the second field is an elaborate but rather superfluous stile by a wide gap in the wall. Do not take this but instead glance slightly left and uphill to find a ladderstile crossing the drystone wall.

Climb this and turn right along the path through the bracken. This is followed as it contours round the hillside through a succession of pastures with fine views over the valley to the distant moors. The path peters out at a gate where a yellow footpath arrow points downhill to a second gateway and a kissing gate leading into Rocher End Plantation and the steep descent to Agden Reservoir.

At the road turn left until a house with large iron gates is reached on the right. Take a very narrow snicket down the side of this. At the bottom of the steps cross the footbridge and turn downstream to reach the car park in a few minutes.

Fact file

Distance: 6 miles/ 9km

Time: Three-four hours

Terrain: Woodland, moors and field paths with several steep climbs and descents

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 1 Dark Peak

Refreshments: Pubs and cafés in High and Low Bradfield

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