For anyone who is interested in seeing the remnants of Derwent village, hurry down to Ladybower Reservoir before the remains are once again submerged. Today we travelled to the reservoir ourselves to take a look at this rare phenomenon as the submerged village of Derwent re-emerged.
Construction on the Ladybower Reservoir began in 1935. The purpose of the reservoir was to supply an increasing demand for water to the inhabitants of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. The reservoir required expansion to meet this growing demand. Derwent Village was an ideal location for this project. It lay in a natural deep valley and benefited from high levels of rainfall. The village also lay close to the Howden and Derwent reservoirs. As plans began to convert this sleepy village into a reservoir, bodies were exhumed from the church grave yard and reburied.
Demolition of the village began in 1943 as villagers who had been relocated to neighbouring towns looked on as their community was destroyed. Work began to fill the damn from 1943 until 1945 and saw the once beautiful village of Derwent submerged. A neighbouring village, Ashopton fell to the same fate. Upon the completion of the project in September 1945, King George VI officially opened the reservoir.
To view some images of Derwent Village and details of an upcoming project, see this recent article in the Yorkshire Post.
The Re-emergence of Derwent Village – November 2018
Solitary walls and evidence of a place filled with human activity have emerged from the depths.
Stumps emerge from the mud, once forming part of the structures of Derwent village.
The re-emergence of Derwent village has attracted a lot of media attention. Subsequently tourism to the area has significantly increased. We visit the Ladybower reservoir periodically throughout the year. We have never seen it as busy as it has been since the re-appearance of Derwent village. If you do happen to visit the area, there is plenty to do and see beside the eerie ruins.
The Derwent reservoir was used by World War 2 pilots as they practised their famous ‘Dam Busters’ raid which took place in Germany in 1943. As a result, this site has huge national significance. Visitors flock to take in the atmosphere of this historical site.
The Fairhomes visitors’ centre is a popular spot with toilet facilities and beverages served to the thousands who flock here every year.
I would strongly advise that if you do visit the muddy slopes of the former Derwent village, you take extra care. A member of public has already been rescued from the deep slippery mud this month alone. The remains have suffered from vandalism on recent weeks. It is important to remember that these ruins are part of our heritage and must be respected.