This is a lovely 2.5 mile walk around the three reservoirs at Redmires which are just over 5 miles to the north west of Sheffield city centre, close to the area known as Lodge Moor. It is a reasonably easy walk and, apart from one slight incline, fairly flat. The reservoirs are a great place to see wildfowl and interesting wildflowers. There is a link to a map for the walk at the bottom of this blog.
The route takes you all around the reservoirs and even though some of it is along the Redmires Road, this isn’t busy and offers a good view of the water which is particularly stunning on a sunny day. On colder days the reservoirs can get quite choppy as the area is high up and exposed.
We began the walk from Soughley Lane (point 6 on the map) which takes you alongside the lower reservoir before climbing through the adjacent pretty moorland. The path will lead you to a flagstoned area after which you will face a choice of two routes. Take the right hand one down to Redmires Road.
As you walk along the road, it is worth taking a very short detour along the signed footpath close to the bridge which the road passes over. This will give you an excellent view of a dramatic bellmouth spillway, a giant hole (rather like a plughole in a sink) designed to control the amount of water flowing into the reservoir.
A bit further along the road, propped up against a wall on the right near a wooden gate, you will see an old stone sign with fish carved into it dated 1828. This sign used to be over the door of the now demolished Grouse and Trout pub which was was, apparently, very popular with the navvies who built the reservoirs!
It is easy to miss where the route leaves the the road via a footpath through a stepped gap in a wall which takes you into pretty pine woodland. It comes immediately after you have passed the grassy embankment of the middle reservoir at the start of a wooded area. This footpath offers interesting views of the overflow channel from the reservoirs and will eventually lead you back to the start of your walk.
These reservoirs were built over a period of 18 years in the mid-nineteenth century to provide water for a rapidly increasing Sheffield population. It is hard for us to imagine how important these were to the people of Sheffield back then. The existing water supply was wholly inadequate. Even when the first Redmires reservoir was built in 1836, the goal of the project was only to provide 8 hours of water a day to the city’s residents!
There were some early problems with the water supplied by the reservoir due to its natural acidity which was the result of its being sourced from water which flowed over peaty moorland. The acidity caused some people’s lead piping to corrode resulting in the local press reporting a number of cases of lead poisoning.
In 1998, a walker spotted unusual markings in the grass on a hill above the upper reservoir. (See this article in The Star). It was later discovered that these were the remains of extensive trenches dug to train soldiers for trench warfare in World War One. Sadly it appears that two thirds of the soldiers who trained in these trenches were to go on to be killed in the Battle of the Somme. (See this interesting article.)
Apparently in severe drought or when the water has been drained, as happens if Yorkshire Water are doing work on the reservoirs, a stone signpost can be seen in the middle of the upper reservoir which says ‘six miles to Sheffield’. This dates back to when an old pack horse route ran through the area.
How to get there:
By car: To start the walk where we did (point 6 on the map), you can park on Soughley Lane (S10 4QX), or alternatively use the small car park off Lodge Moor Road (S10 4LU). The latter leads to the start of the walk along a pretty country lane which runs along the site of the old conduit that used to feed water from the reservoir into the city. Just cross over Soughley Lane at the end of the conduit route and turn left up the hill to the footpath sign. There is also a car park on Redmires Road (S10 4QZ) adjacent to the Upper Reservoir.
By bus: The number 51 bus goes from the city centre as far as The Sportsman Pub on Redmires Road. By crossing over the playing field behind the pub you can get onto the conduit footpath mentioned above, which leads to the lower reservoir.