Derwent Dam and the Dam Busters

Lord  Banks By Lord Banks, 12th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>England>Yorkshire

A guide to the beautiful Derwent dams in Derbyshire and the Dam busters

Derwent Dam and the Dam busters

The Derwent Dam and the Dam busters!

The Derwent Dam is situated in North East Derbyshire and the borders of Yorkshire. The Derwent dam is 10miles from the city of Sheffield (Where I live). The dam itself is situated in acres of fields and hills. It is one of my favourite places of beauty to visit in my area. Thousands of visitors come to walk and cycle in the beautiful scenery.

One of the reasons for Derwent dam’s popularity is its links with the world famous ‘Dam Buster’ air raids of WWII which were carried out by the Royal Air Force on 16th May 1943. The significance of the Dam Buster air raids was the practise for dropping the bouncing bomb was carried out on Derwent dam! The huge and imposing Derwent dam was built between 1902 and 1914 at one stage there were 1,000 workers constructing the dam! The dam is built in neo-Gothic style and is constructed with solid stone mined from quarries in Grindleford.

A tin hut town called ‘Birchinlee’ was built to house the workers. When the dam was completed the tin town was dismantled and some of the tin houses were saved and re-used. The dam supplies water for south Yorkshire and north Derbyshire. The dam holds back 9.64 million cubic metres of water! As with any dam construction there are casualties in Derwent dam’s case it was the village of Derwent itself that was sacrificed.

At particularly low water level the village will appear! I have been lucky enough to have visited the reservoir when it was at its lowest water level in years and the village can clearly be made out! You can see stone benches and water troughs, there are remains of the local church and foundations of several house can be seen its amazing to see the village grow out of the water!

Derwent dam was used by 617 Squadron to practise their famous ‘Dam Buster’ air raids, the Möhne Dam in the Ruhr valley in Germany was almost identical to Derwent dam. The bouncing bomb or as it should have been called ‘mine’ had to dropped from 60 feet altitude, and at night to evade as much anti-aircraft guns as possible. To fly so low and release the mine at exactly 220 feet from the dam was near on impossible!

The Möhne Dam and the Derwent dam had two towers at either end of the spans this in turn was used for a distance marker with the use of a special bomb sight. To commemorate the Derwent dam’s usefulness in the training of the crews from 617 squadron, the Avro Lancaster bomber which is part of the ’Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ over fly’s Derwent dam on special anniversaries. There is a press frenzy to capture pictures of the Lancaster as it flies very low over the towers of the dam.

In one of the towers on Derwent dam there is a small museum to commemorate the daring Dam Buster raid, the museum is well worth a visit and is open most Sundays. There is disabled parking directly outside the museum. I hope you enjoy the photographs and if you have a chance I highly recommend you visit Derwent dam.

Lord Banks


Barnes Wallace, Bouncing Bomb, Dam Busters, Derwent Dam, Yorkshire

Meet the author

author avatar Lord Banks
I am 46 years old. I was born in London and have lived in various counties around the UK. I presently live in Yorkshire. By trade I am a qualified Vehicle Engineer. I have been writing since my school days. I specialise in WWII aircraft. My blog pag...(more)

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13th Jul 2011 (#)

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
13th Jul 2011 (#)

I love it when people share pictures and information about tourist things that are in their area. Thanks for this visit to the Derwent Dam.

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