For the purpose of this quick guide, I'm referring to the area from the packhorse bridge at Slippery Stones to the car park at Derwent Dam. The vistas are, if not man made heavily influenced by man.
If you park at the visitor centre then you have to pay! The two upper dams were finished in 1916, and the surrounding area planted with conifers. The area is best visited in winter and during the week, after mid morning the whole place is bustling with visitors pretty much any time of the year, consequently photo opportunities are restricted. At weekends, the access road is shut north of Derwent dam and you have to pay to park. During the week you can drive to the head of Howden dam and park at the side of the road. Be circumspect some of the un-metaled ground is very soft. Getting a tow out could take some time, there is no mobile signal in the valley. At weekends a bus service runs up the west side of the dams. You can walk round on the east side but be aware that you can't cross Howden dam, It's not like Ladybower with spill ways, the overflow runs over the dam wall! So you will have to walk back or all the way up to Slippery Stones.
History though recent is well provided for on the Internet, the links below will get you started.
Photographic opportunities abound, the little yellow dots will get you started. If you go in summer you could be in for a disappointment as water levels drop dramatically after a few days without rain. A calm day and early morning, is what you are after. The combination of mist, light and reflections make it a venue well worth visiting. Below are some of my efforts, click if you want to enlarge them.
SLIPPERY STONES (This bridge was removed from Derwent village when Ladybower dam was built)
DAWN HOWDEN RESEVOIR
THE LAST OF SUMMER
There is something for all nature photographers here, so wide angle, telephoto, and filters. A tripod for me. Basically as much as you have or can carry. There is as much or as little walking as you fancy. The east side skyline (Cold Side) and it can be, gives some grand views but is something of an expedition.
That's all Happy Snapping.
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