As the temperatures rise the lure of the beach grows stronger – and there’s one within a 45-minute drive from Huddersfield.

And Gaddings Dam is no ordinary beach either; at 355 metres (about 1,000ft) above sea level it’s the highest ‘beach’ in the UK.

With a sandy beach and clean water that’s safe for swimming this hilltop spot makes an ideal alternative to the coast.

What is Gaddings Dam?

Two cocker spaniels, Dizzee and Rascal, explore Todmorden's beach
Two cocker spaniels, Dizzee and Rascal, explore Todmorden's beach

It’s a earth embankment dam that was built in 1833 to provide water for the former mills below.

The dam was due to be drained in 2001 due to its then poor condition.

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But a group of locals decided to save it and set up a company to restore and maintain it.

The beach is made of sand which comes from weathered gritstone which is blown into the north-east corner of the dam by the prevailing wind and waves.

Where is Gaddings Dam?

Gaddings Dam (aka Todmorden Beach)
Gaddings Dam (aka Todmorden Beach)

It’s also known as ‘Todmorden Beach’ which gives you a pretty big clue.

Gaddings Dam is above the bizarrely named villages of Lumbutts and Mankinholes, to the south of Todmorden.

It’s accessed off the A646 Halifax Road, at Todmorden.

Gaddings Dam (aka Todmorden Beach) location.
Gaddings Dam (aka Todmorden Beach) location.


Pack a pair of sturdy walking boots. It’s a trek up a steep hill from the road and the footpath can be muddy and slippery.

Bring waterproofs. Gaddings Dam is very exposed and it can be warm if there’s plenty of sunshine but the weather can turn very quickly. We strongly recommend packing waterproofs in case of sudden rain and winds.

Pack some suncream. There is no shade from the sun so remember to pack your suncream.


Dive in the water as there are rocks below.

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Bring a barbecue. You’ll have to lug it up a steep hill and then most likely it’ll get blown over and your sausages will be ruined.