Grid reference: SD 948 224 Coordinates: 53.697N 2.079W;
Gaddings Dam is right on top of the moors and is very exposed and usually windy. Even on a hot day in the valley you can find a cold wind up at the dam. Check the weather forecast and be prepared for the conditions. There is no road access to Gaddings Dam. It is reached by a hike up to the top of the moors from Walsden, Todmorden, or Lumbutts village.
Hiking boots are a good idea. The direct approach path from the Shepherd's is well worn and you'll appreciate the proper footwear, especially on the descent which has seen several accidents in recent years. There are two other routes to the dam from the Shepherd's Rest gate. One heads east below the quarries as far as Black Clough where it doubles back along the top of the quarries to reach Gaddings. The other heads west, circling around the hillside until it turns upwards to reach Gaddings via the Basin Stone. Both of these routes are longer (about 40 minutes) but easier and safer, especially on the descent.
There is no shade from the Sun at the dam so take your own or plenty of sun block. Don't bother to take a barbecue, it's not worth the trouble of lugging everything up the hill and it will be hard to cook in the wind.
Parking is limited on Lumbutts road. There's a small parking area by the gate opposite the Shepherd's Rest pub but that soon fills on a busy day.
Please don't park in the Shepherd's Rest car park. It causes great problems for the landlord and on a bad day the car park can be full while the pub is empty.
Some parking is available on Lumbutts Road, east of the pub. Obey the double yellow lines, these are intended to create essential passing places and when they are blocked, so is the road. When that happens, offending vehicles get ticketed or towed.
Definitely don't park on Lumbutts road west of the pub (the long straight between drystone walls). The road is too narrow and it will block access by buses and emergency vehicles.
On a fine weekend you'll find it impossible to park considerately on Lumbutts road and you'll just have to drop off your passengers and park elsewhere. It's about a 45 minute walk up from Todmorden or Walsden, a total of 220 metres ascent to Gaddings (this is how the locals have traditionally reached the dam).