The Hiker’s Guide to Dovestone

hiker looking at dovestone from above
Dovestone is a beautiful place in the Peak District's Dark peak, nestled amongst the Saddleworth Hills. But there's far more for hikers here than reservoir walks. Here's a hiker's guide to Dovestone Reservoir and the surrounding hills.


I’m bound to be a little bit biased because it’s right on my doorsep, but Dovestone is one of the most beautiful spots in the North West of England and offers up a stunning array of walking and hiking options for all.There are simple pushchair friendly reservoir walks and even simple scrambles up a waterfall as part of the Trinnacle Trail. So whether you want a simple short walk with little legs or want to get into the hills, Dovestone’s got something for you.In the this hikers’ guide to Dovestone, we’re covering practical information, several hiking routes and sharing some of our favourite photos and videos of this beautiful spot.

Getting to Dovestone

The main car park postcode for Dovestone is OL3 7NE.Approximate drive times:
  • From Manchester City Centre – 40 minutes
  • From Huddersfield Town Centre – 30 minutes
  • From Oldham Town Centre – 20 minutes
You can reach it by train too, with hourly trains arriving at Greenfield Train Station from both Manchester and Leeds. You’ll then have to walk from Greenfield train station to Dovestone which will probably take around half an hour.Buses also stop in the area with the nearest stop at the outside the Clarence pub in Greenfield (around a 10 minute walk from Dovestone).

Parking at Dovestone

Ok, so let me level with you. If it’s a sunny weekend then the main car park at Dovestone (which is pay and display with both cash and card payment available) is going to be rammed by 10am. Parking wars is a common theme here on a busy day.Midweek, term time is absolutely fine.There’s a second car park, Binn Green, which is much smaller, further up the road.

Campsites and Other Accommodation Near Dovestone

Hiking and camping go hand in hand… of the 42% of Brits who camp at least once a year I often wonder how many are hikers!So if you’re visiting from further afield and want to camp nearby, some options:
  • Well-i-hole Farm campsite is around 5km away and that would be a lovely 5km walk. So you’re up for a long day out on foot, walking from there to Dovestone, a hike around Dovestone and back to the campsite (via a stop at the Clarence pub on your way back, maybe?) would be a fab day
  • Crossgate Farm campsite in Glossop is another beautiful option, close enough to drive to Dovestone for hiking and with plenty of wonderful hikes on its own doorstep
  • If you want something more luxurious than a tent, Dovestone holiday park within Dovestone itself has lodges and pods, some with hot tubs
I’ve never stayed at the holiday park but it looks absolutely stunning!

Walking and Hiking Routes at Dovestone

So, there are a whole host of walking and hiking routes here ranging from family friendly reservoir circulars with pushchair accessible pathways, to minor scrambles and hill hikes. You can pretty much choose what you fancy here.I’m sharing some here but my recommendation is to check out the maps for the area (or Alltrails or similar) and plot routes based on the type of hike you want if none of these routes tickle your fancy).Here’s a summary of the routes I’ve outlined with more details on each within this guide.
RouteLengthElevation Gain
Dovestone Reservoir Circular4.42kmLess than 100m
Dovestone and Yeoman Hey6.46km211m
Dovestone, Yeoman Hey and Greenfield Reservoir7.52km228m
Dovestone Reservoir to Chew Reservoir and Back6.73km278m
Birchen Clough and the Trinnacle7.88km312km
Alphin Pike, Indian’s Head and Chew Reservoir10.8km431m
The full circular19.6km575m

1. Circular Reservoir Route – Pushchair and Wheelchair Friendly

If you want a route you can get around with the whole family and you’re taking a pushchair or wheelchair, then the circular route of Dovestone Reservoir is the one.There is an accessible path around the biggest of the reservoirs in the area (Dovestone itself) and its a beautiful walk.Here’s the route on Alltrails.This is a walking route of 4.42 km with less than 100m of elevation throughout the whole walk (but this takes the form of small slopes as opposed to big hills). Take the elevation listed on AllTrails with a little pinch of salt as the map seems to think one of the paths (which is totally flat) is hilly. Elevation is around 60m max in reality I would estimate, possibly lower).So it’s relatively flat as far as this area goes. And accessible for pushchairs.Dovestone Reservoir Path-minThe paths around Dovestone Reservoir are much like this. So if it has been wet, you might want waterproof footwear for the puddles. But these are pram friendly walking paths and are well maintained.

2. Extended Reservoir Routes (Dovestone, Yeoman Hey and Greenfield Reservoirs)

I’ve included two routes here again both starting from the main Dovestone car park. The first takes in Dovestone Reservoir and then Yeoman Hey. The second adds in the third one – Greenfield Reservoir.These are still relatively flat. But once you get off the main path around Dovestone, you get into not-so-pushchair friendly territory. Along one side of Yeoman and Hey and Greenfield Reservoir is a path much like the one around Dovestone. But on the other side it’s a narrow, uneven and muddy path that you can’t take a wheelchair or pram on. So to complete a circular of any kind incorporating these additional reservoirs, leave the pram behind!
Here are the routes:The red route (which sits underneath the blue one where they’re following the same path) is the shorter Dovestone and Yeoman Hey route and is 6.46km with 211m of elevation gain. Adding in the beautiful Greenfield Reservoir adds just over another kilometre and brings the circular in at 7.52km with 228m of elevation gain.They both boast some beautiful views. The image above shows Yeoman Hey reservoir taken at the top of the slope just as you arrive at Greenfield Reservoir.

3. Dovestone Car Park to Chew Reservoir and Back

There’s a 4th reservoir in this area too. Chew Reservoir is 488m above sea level. When its construction was completed in 1912, that made it the highest reservoir in England – but subsequently this title was lost when Cow Green reservoirs construction was completed in 1971.Unlike the other routes I’ve previously shared, this one isn’t a circular. It’s an out and back from the Dovestone car park up to Chew Reservoir and back.Now technically you could get a pram up there. This is the path and it’s very road like the whole way up:Path to Chew Reservoir-minHowever, it’s steep at points. So you might prefer to just focus on getting yourself up there as opposed to a pram as well!Here’s the route:This is a steeper walk than the others. It’s 6.73km in total with 278m of elevation gain, but this feels considerably “hillier” I think than the others, probably because it’s constant elevation gain on the way up. A nice easy back though!

4. The Trinnacle Trail (Birchen Clough and the Trinnacle)

trinnacle landscape-min
The view from the Trinnacle really is special
I couldn’t possibly talk about hiking at Dovestone without including the Trinnacle Trail. This is my favourite local hiking route and one I’ve done countless times. You can find a detailed write up I already published on the Trinnacle Trail here.Some things to note:
  1. Birchen Clough is a minor scramble. It’s not complex and probably isn’t even graded. But it’s not a walking route, some scrambling will be required and you need to get across some narrow parts of path with height to the side of you at points
  2. There have been numerous incidents at Birchen Clough in recent years. Heed the Oldham Mountain Rescue warnings, check the weather before you leave and make sure you’ve got appropriate footwear
The short route from Dovestone car park is here.This route takes in Dovestone Reservoir, Yeoman Hey Reservoir, Greenfield Reservoir, Birchen Clough, the Trinnacle and then descends back to the dam between Dovestone and Yeoman Hey, where you can complete the circular back to the car park.You can do a slightly shorter version of this by starting at Binn Green Car park.For this version from the Dovestone car park, however, the route is 7.88km long with 312m of elevation gain.There’s a longer version of this listed as our last route in this list which takes in Birchen Clough, the Trinnacle and other features too.

5. Alphin Pike, Indian’s Head and Chew Reservoir

Indian’s Head is the name locally given to a section of rocks overlooking Dovestone Reservoir. Their actual name is Wimberry Rocks. But the resemblance to a native Indian’s head shape from various angles in the area means they’re more often referred to as such.The views from this particular spot are exceptional. And you can approach it a couple of different ways. One of my personal favourites is as part of a long circular (the next and final route on our list). But this is an excellent route  taking in part of that longer one too.This route is a 10.8km route with 431m of elevation gain. Here’s the route:

6. The Full Circular

My absolute favourite if I’ve got a few hours. This is a route that takes in ALL of what we’ve talked about here and then some!You’ll see:
  • Dovestone Reservoir
  • Yeoman Hey
  • Greenfield Reservoir
  • Birchen Clough
  • The Trinnacle
  • Dovestone edge (tops surrounding the reservoirs)
  • Chew Reservoir
  • Indian’s Head
  • Alphin Pike
This is 19.6km with 575m of elevation gain. Here’s the route:

Pick Your Own!

These are 6 of my favourite routes from quick walks with the kids to several hours of hiking. But of course, with well mapped footpaths on OS maps and systems like AllTrails, you can take your pick! Or just head off and explore.Happy hiking.


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