This walk takes you past three reservoirs, taking in farmland, woodland and a disused railway line. It starts by following Underbank reservoir before a climb up to Midhope.
Excellent views across the valley are afforded before the route drops down to the River Porter and then up to Langsett.
We return to Underbank along the line of the railway that was originally built to supply materials during the construction of Langsett Reservoir between 1889 and 1905.
1. Walk up Smithy Moor Lane and then pass through the gate opposite Cross Lane, taking the path to the left of the reservoir spill-way.
2. Follow the path by the side of the reservoir, past Underbank Outdoor Activity Centre, all the way to the top end of the reservoir at Midhopestones. Just after passing Underbank Outdoor Centre, you will cross over a stream. There is a path into the woods on your left. About 50 m along this path is the remains of a WW2 anti-aircraft gun emplacement. This faces ENE and was situated in order in to protect Underbank Dam wall from enemy attack. The concrete base slab and various metal fixings can be clearly seen (grid reference: SK 245 991).
3. Pass through the gate onto Mortimer Road and turn left. Go up the hill and turn right at ‘Ye Olde Mustard Pot’ onto Chapel Lane, passing the old school which is on the opposite corner on your left. Follow the lane as it swings left.
At 3, instead of continuing up the hill, spend some time in and around St James’ Church, a Grade II listed building. Foundations were laid around 1360 by the Barnby family of Cawthorne. Thomas de Barnby, Vicar of Kirkheaton, became Lord of the Manor of Midhope in 1337 and was succeeded by his nephew Robert in 1354. The church was built as a Chapel of ease for the main church of Ecclesfield, St Marys’. The Barnbys’ used St James’ as their private chapel until 1622 when they were forced to sell the entire manor because of financial hardship brought on by fines levied after the English Reformation for hearing Mass and not attending the state church. It was owned by Puritans between 1622 and 1690 falling into disrepair The church was restored in 1705 by Godfrey Bosville.
4. When Chapel Lane swings right take the sunken path (Stony Croft Lane), on your left, up the hill, by the side of the farm.
5. Follow the path as it climbs the hill. The path occasionally turns and opens up at field boundaries. The path is marked with arrows and/or stiles/ gates.
6. At the top, the path goes through a large gate, with open moor ahead. Veer left and drop to the road 50m away. Turn right back onto Mortimer Road.
7. Follow the road for about 200m. Go through the large gate on your right, towards the woods. This is Yorkshire Water property. Take the path, turning right and then left as it runs parallel to a wall and descends.
8. After a level section the path turns right and goes up steeply between the trees. The top of this climb is the highest point of the walk (288 m). Turn left parallel to the wall and continue. The path drops with views of the valley to your right and Midhope reservoir visible, through the trees, to your left.
9. At the end of the woods, pass through the gate keeping the wall on your right.
10. Follow the path out onto open grassland. Continue across the field and down the hill to a stile over the wall onto Midhope Hall Lane. Turn left and proceed along the lane. The lane swings left then right, passing the reservoir dam and spillway to your left.
11. When the lane turns sharp left, take the farm track (Dark Lane) that goes straight on at the same level.
12. When the track opens out into a field, keep close to the stone wall on your left and continue in the same direction. Go through the narrow metal gate into the copse by the river.
13. At the bridge, on your right, do not cross the bridge, instead cross the stone stile and continue through the woods, with the river on your right. Climb up the path away from the river. The water treatment works are on your right. Continue straight across the farm track, following the path which is marked by fence posts.
14. Cross the stone stile. Turn right and go up the wide farm track. Pass between the old gate posts Go up the track, crossing another stone stile as you turn right onto Midhope Cliff Lane.
15. Turn right. Follow Midhope Cliff Lane over the reservoir dam wall and on to Langsett Village.
The ‘Waggon and Horses’ is on your left and ‘Bank View Café’ is across the road. Toilet facilities are in Langsett Barn, which is up the hill to your left Langsett Reservoir was constructed between 1889 and 1905, and is now managed by Yorkshire Water.
16. When you reach the main road, the A616, cross over. Continue into the café car park and take the path in the far corner through the kissing gate, right over the stile, then diagonally across the field, over the stile and turn right.
17. The path down through these fields is not immediately obvious, however as you progress down the hill you will find well-made metal stiles, one of which is no longer in a fence!
18. At the bottom of the final field cross the wooden stile and turn left over the bridge. This is the old railway track which was built to bring materials to the Langsett Reservoir construction site.
19. Keeping the A616 on your right, follow the track all the way back to Underbank.
20. The path eventually emerges at the entrance to the ex-wire works, now the home of Equi-Tek. Go out of the factory entrance and cross the main road. Turn left and take to old road down towards Stocksbridge.
21. Just after the metal gate, take the path on the right across Underbank Reservoir dam wall. Follow the path round and over the bridge and back up to the gate, and interpretation board, at the start of the walk.
This walk is described, in detail, on Stocksbridge Walkers are Welcome Stocksbridge - Walkers are welcome website.
Three reservoirs: Underbank/Midhope/Langsett
• Length - 8.0 miles, with a shorter variation of 7.0 miles
• Grade - Mostly well-defined paths. Some rough ground and stiles. Can be muddy in places.
• Start - Smithy Moor Lane / Unsliven Road, Stocksbridge S36 1FN
• Grid Reference - SK 253 990
• Maps – OL1 Dark Peak, OS Explorer 278
• Parking - on Smithy Moor Lane / Unsliven Road, Stocksbridge
• Public transport - 57 (from Sheffield) bus to Unsliven Road. South Pennine Community Transport route 257 (Holmfirth to Stocksbridge, Wednesdays only)
• Refreshments – Underbank Outdoor Activity Centre – Café
‘ Ye Olde Mustard Pot’ at Midhopestones, ‘Bank View Café’ and the ‘Waggon and Horses Inn’ at Langsett.
• Public Toilets – Langsett Barn car park
• Mobile Phone Coverage - mostly good. Intermittent signals can be received on higher ground