Thursday, 17 February 2011


It's going to be a simple, easy walk today. Time and transport issues mean we aren't able to stray into the Peaks so we've decided to take a turn around the Damflask Reservoir instead. As an added incentive we're stopping off at the pub in Bradfield.

The weather is particularly grim and murky. It isn't quite raining, but it's certainly under consideration.

Damflask is easily accessible on the W outskirts of Sheffield. It was completed in 1896 and covers the site of the village of Damflask which was washed away in the Sheffield Flood of 1864. Now it is home to sailing and rowing clubs, anglers and walkers.

We park on the road which runs across the dam wall and tog up against the biting cold. A short walk along the pavement takes us to the footpath which runs along the southern edge of the reservoir. It's easy walking, but a little muddy in places after the recent heavy rain.

On a few of the trees nearest to the road there are some bird feeders, and we watch a while as blue tits, great tits and nuthatches visit in a constant stream of airborne traffic.

There are a lot of people out this morning, despite the weather, but it's to be expected in such a popular, easily accessible location. Joggers (one with a pram), birdwatchers, couples, groups and dog walkers pass us in both directions.

We spot an interesting exotic-looking duck on the water and decide to capture a shot of it. Without success. As we close in on it the camera-shy fowl swims away thwarting our efforts. David Attenborough clearly need not worry about competition from us.

There are more people looming up behind us now so we decide to sit down on one of the conveniently placed benches and enjoy a drink from the secret flask until they pass. It warms us up wonderfully. Then we have a coffee too since we have time to spare. It's a pity there isn't much of a view though.

Suitably replenished we set off again, and soon find a couple of photographic Canada geese who are more than happy to pose for us. We continue walking and before we know it we've reached the end of the reservoir and Low Bradfield. It's only 11.15 am, far too early to go to the pub. After a brief debate we decide to walk back to the car along the opposite side of the reservoir then drive to the pub for a late lunch.

For a short distance we're on the road, but only one car passes us before we're on the path again. This must be the dog walking side as we see more of them here. The path is more undulating on this side too which must make it harder for joggers with prams. It's a pity visibility is still so poor as the views towards the Ughill Moors would have been worth seeing.

Then we spot the exotic duck again. It has paddled all the way to this side of the reservoir to avoid us, but PC whips out the camera before the startled duck can hide behind a shrub and manages to capture it and its white-feathered partner for posterity.

Next we're at the ranks of sailing boats, and the chance for another photo opportunity before we walk up to the road at Low Holdworth. We pause to admire the first house with a lovely stream channelled through its garden and snowdrops blooming on the grass verge.

It's only a short walk back to the car on a pavement muddy with decomposing leaves.

Then it's off to the pub for lunch, and it is only just past noon. We can't believe how quickly we've done the circuit of approx 3.5 miles. Our next walk will have to be a little more ambitious.