Waterfalls at Wessenden
Looking for Peak District waterfalls walks? This circular walk will take you from Wessenden Head down through the Wessenden Valley to the waterfalls at Wessenden. At just under 5 miles long, this walk doesn’t have any huge climbs and the reservoir views and stunning waterfalls make it all worthwhile!
If you want to head to some quieter parts of the Peak District, you can do a lot worse than visit Wessenden. The whole valley is stunning, and home to four reservoirs which lead down into Marsden, namely Wessenden Head, Wessenden, Blakeley and Butterley Reservoirs. Hidden in the valley are some stunning secret waterfalls. We live close by so these Peak District waterfalls near me are some we visit often. The land is owned and managed by the National Trust and the Pennine Way passes through the valley.
Parking for this Wessenden Head waterfall walk is in a lay-by on Wessenden Head Road near a disused quarry. You’ll see Wessenden Head Reservoir from the parking area. Cross the road and pass through the gate. You’ll see the Framing the Landscape picture frame with the words “many people look but only a few see” which makes for a lovely photograph with the reservoir in the background.
Head down the path towards the reservoir, and then pass by with the reservoir on your left. You’re following the route of the Pennine Way through the Wessenden Valley, which runs alongside Wessenden Brook.
You’ll soon come to Wessenden Reservoir. After you pass the reservoir, head down the hill past the deer farm and you’ll pass by Wessenden Head Waterfall. This is a stunning waterfall, made even better now they’ve cleared some of the trees away so you can see it clearly! There is a faint path down to the bottom of the waterfall but it’s steep and slippery, so take care if you go down. You’ll have to pass the stream as well, using stepping stones.
Head back up onto the path and follow it until you see a signpost point down the hill to the river at the bottom of the valley. The Pennine Way heads down the hill and is quite steep in places. When you’re in the bottom, cross the bridge and there’s another small waterfall just as you pass over the bridge.
Climb up the hill to the air shaft then follow the path to the left. This will take you back in the direction of the car park at Wessenden Head. The path is quite muddy in places but skirts round Black Moss and then to the weir and waterfall at the top of Wessenden reservoir. There are reservoir walls here, and to cross the weir you have to use stepping stones in the middle of the weir.
The path then continues back down to Wessenden Reservoir. Cross the embankment and turn right, back onto the Pennine Way. Retrace your route and you’ll be back at the car parking.
This waterfall walk in the Peak District is a great one to do if you want to avoid the crowds. I went on a Tuesday morning and only saw 2 dog walkers (it was a bit wet out but not too bad). I love finding secret places and hidden Peak District gems! I’ll definitely be coming back to visit these Wessenden waterfalls again – I can’t wait to photograph them in heather season. We walked on the other side of the valley last August and it was spectacular. Check out that Marsden to Wessenden Head circular walk.
Wessenden Waterfalls Walk Route Guide
Parking: Wessenden Head Road in a lay-by
Facilities: None on the route
Walk Time: 2-3 hours (I spent over an hour taking photos but used the wrong lens!)
Distance: just under 5 miles
Route Map: (click the image to download the gpx file for your device)