Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales.

Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

BETWEEN Haworth and Hebden Bridge lies a large area of moorland which makes for some excellent walking. The Pennine Way (and a number of other long distance routes pass through the rea making for quick access. There are three, possibly four reservoirs on the walk.

The main walk is only five miles and three reservoirs but it is best if you have the time to extend the walk to take in Widdop Reservoir. The shorter walks include the reservoirs of Walshaw Dean, built in the first months of 1900. The water was used for the growing mill town of Halifax and entailed the building of a new town, Dawson City (later to become Heptonstall) after a ‘gold’ city in the Klondyke Gold Rush. Both start at the Pack Horse Inn, 2 miles north west of Heptonstall.

Cross the road from the pub and head north east on a footpath (crossing one stile) that drops towards the reservoirs in the distance. After less than half a mile the path meets a tarmac road heading north (built for the water board, it is not a through road). Follow the road north for half a mile to the first dam (Walshaw Lower Reservoir). I prefer heading north on the east side of the reservoirs (which are in a string to the north) and follow the Pennine Way route on the east side. Therefore cross the dam and follow the grassy track near the water.

After half a mile the second dam is arrived at with good views across to the lodge opposite. Carry on as Middle Reservoir bends east and then north. Half way along and just after a gate the Pennine Way leaves the water and heads in to the moors to the right. It is one-and-a-half-mile miles to Top Withins from here on the Way. After another 200 metres the dam holding in the third reservoir is arrived at. It is possible to circle the Higher dam on a path but I prefer crossing the dam at this point and turning back south on a wide track. Follow this track past the Lodge and towards the lower dam. Carry on for a further 400 metres where the track divides, take the westerly track with woodland to your right. The track drops to the main road, turn left for the pub (half a mile away) or right to go for the extended walk.

Extended walk, round Widdop Reservoir. Follow the road above the reservoir (the lower path is very wet) to some parking at the westerly end and drop down to a bridge and a signpost indicating the Reservoir circular walk. Climb up the Burnley Way footpath south for just over half a mile to a meeting of paths. Turn left on to the Pennine Bidleway and follow it back to the dam and road at the east end of the reservoir. The views are superb. Turn right at the road and follow it back to the Packhorse Inn.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly five miles (Full walk nine miles)

Height to Climb: 160m (525 feet)

Start: SD 952317. Park in the car park at the Pack Horse Inn or roadside nearby.

Difficulty: Medium. It is the remoteness that makes this hard but the tracks are good. The climb on the longer walk is quite strenuous.

Refreshments: The Pack Horse Inn is a traditional pub with food but closed in winter on Monday and Tuesday.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 21) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear.