Near the West Yorkshire market town of Todmorden, a surprise lies on top of a hill. It’s a beach – in fact, the highest beach in Britain – and not something you’d generally expect to find in such a landlocked county.
The site is named Gaddings Dam, and it’s a beautiful spot that allows visitors to experience stunning hill views while spending some time on a sandy beach and having a little paddle or swim.
Although it’s fairly remote, it’s easy enough to find thanks to a landmark at the foot of the hill – a pub. The Shepherd’s Rest Inn is located directly opposite the small car park for Gaddings Dam. It’s very small; it only has room for about five cars, so during busy periods many visitors will park on the side of the road instead.
There’s no hint of the surprise to come at the bottom. To reach the top, simply walk through a gate and follow the well-trodden paths to begin the ascent. It is fairly strenuous in places, but the climb shouldn’t take too long.
It will eventually level out and it’s here you walk across the plain to a set of steps.
Once at the top, you’ll find the hill’s draw – the beach.
Gaddings Dam is actually a former reservoir, and that’s obvious when you see it in full. The main attraction, the sandy beach, is in one corner of the site and provides easy access to the water. It’s very popular with those who enjoy outdoor swimming (most users come equipped with a wetsuit) but it’s also a great spot for a little paddle.
Although it’s on top of a hill, the reservoir’s walls provide shelter from the wind making it a very pleasant place to spend a warm afternoon.
Gaddings Dam, off Lumbutts Road, Todmorden OL14 6JJ