THRUSCROSS Reservoir is probably my favourite of the Yorkshire Water reservoirs to go for a walk, and seeing as it was almost exactly 50 years ago when it was completed, I made a celebratory visit. When it opened, back in September, 1966, many weekend motorists went for a visit, so reported the Craven Herald at the time. Many Craven men had been employed in its construction, which must have taken several years to complete. It was the first to be built since 1929 for the City of Leeds, and was expected to yield three million gallons of water every day. But the interesting thing about the reservoir is the remains of the village of West End, which peak out from the water in different amounts, depending on the level of the water. Situated on an unclassified road off the A59 near Blubberhouses, it includes wonderful views, and all sorts of wildlife - but beware, there are some tricky scrambles, which might well put some people off.

Step by step

1. From the car park, head away from the reservoir back to the entrance of the car park and cross road into woodland. continue along path, as it winds its way through woods, with reservoir on your right. You will see some ruined buildings emerging out of the reservoir, which eventually narrows to Capelshaw Beck.

2. Continue along the path, as it crosses over the end of the beck to the right, with the road on your left. The path now continues along the opposite side of the reservoir, and passes through lovely pine woods. The path can get quite muddy and challenging in places, including a climb up to a footbridge and then sharply back down towards the feeder beck leading to River Washburn. There are markers on trees to make sure you don't lose your way.

3. Continue along the path, with the beck on your right, and cross over the footbridge. At the end of the footbridge, the path used to go right into the wood here, but on my last trip, it appeared to have been closed off - probably because of the tricky nature of the usually sodden route.

4 Continue along the path as it skirts around the edge of the wood (on your right) before climbing up, passing some interesting rocks, and then over a ladder stile, right over moorland. The path is well defined as it crosses over the moorland before dropping down back towards reservoir, over ladder stile, into a small copse and rejoining reservoir.

5 Stick to path as it continues now along edge of reservoir, crossing over dam and back to car park.


Location: Lower Washburn Valley, near Blubberhouses, off A59

Start/finish: Yorkshire Water car park, Thruscross (free)

Distance: Four miles

Difficulty level: Moderate - there are a few quite tricky scrambles, especially in wet weather

Terrain: Woodland, moorland, quiet roads

Refreshments: None on route - take a picnic, there are some wonderful spots

OS Map: Explorer 297