Fancy a walk with a difference? Make a beeline for Yorkshire’s reservoirs for a water-side ramble that shows God’s Own County at its best.
Yorkshire is full of wonderful walks and these ones will take you around the region’s many reservoirs. You’ll get the best of both worlds, with a mix of beautiful countryside and picture-perfect lakes. Take in the view, make your way around them or look for the wildlife that calls these reservoirs home on these 10 incredible walks.
Agden Reservoir Circular
You’ll find Agden Reservoir at the northernmost Yorkshire tip of the Peak District. This 4.8-mile route is an idyllic ramble that starts by passing through the quaint villages of Low and High Bradfield before you reach the stunning tree-lined water. It’s a view to behold, so stop to take it in before you make your way through Agden Wood and Dike. When you reach Rocher Edge, you’ll get another incredible vantage point from above the reservoir, and then you just have to make your way back to the start.
The Agden Reservoir Circular walk starts at Sands Lane, Low Bradfield, South Yorkshire, S6 6LA.
Eccup Reservoir Circular
Eccup is one of the most picturesque parts of Leeds and it’s home to one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire. You’ll start with a woodland wander through the Goodrick Plantation and Owlet Hall Farm. From here, you’ll step out of the trees and into the awe-inspiring view of the water, which is especially breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. Enjoy a walk around the edge of the reservoir before you finish the 5.2-mile trek on Alwoodley Lane. Keep an eye out for the red kites above you.
The Eccup Reservoir walk starts at Alwoodley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 7DJ.
The Osmotherley Moors Circular
This 5.3-mile trek across the Osmotherley Moors has a few steep, uneven sections, but it’s one of the best walks in Yorkshire with a reservoir to boot. You’ll go across the Hambleton Hills in the North York Moors on your way towards Arncliffe Wood where you can look over the Vale of Mowbray. Walk through the ancient forest to Beacon Hill and through Scarth Wood Moor until you reach the end at Cod Beck Reservoir, where the tree-lined lake opens up before you. Stop and take it all in before heading back to Osmotherley.
The Osmotherley Moors Circular walk starts at Ruebury Lane, Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, DL6 3AW.
Thruscross Reservoir Circular
There’s so much to see on the 4.5-mile Thruscross Reservoir Circular. You’ll start your adventures at The Stone House Inn, before you head past the Hanging Moor and the disused quarry on your way to the edge of the water. The views across the valley are impressive here, but so is the history. Look out for the remains of a flooded village, which was submerged underwater so the reservoir could be built – you may just see a couple of the buildings peeking out.
The Thruscross Reservoir Circular starts at The Stone House Inn, Thurcross, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 4AH.
Lindley Wood Reservoir
Lindley Wood Reservoir is a picturesque spot just a few miles north of Otley in the Washburn Valley. This serene 2-mile trek is perfect if you want a relaxing water-side stroll. You’ll start in Leathley and take a leisurely stroll along Greystone Beck. It won’t be long before the path opens up for the reservoir in front of you. This is the ideal place to stop and take it all in, especially if you’ve got a picnic. Keep an eye out for rare species of bird that populate the lake, before you carry on to Norwood Bottom or call it a day and head back to the start.
The Lindley Wood Reservoir walk starts at the River Washburn on Leathley Lane, Leathley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2LA.
Swinsty Reservoir Circular
This 3-mile walk circumnavigates the water and offers wonderful views across Swinsty Reservoir. You’ll head anti-clockwise around Swinsty starting at Fewston Church. The beginning offers incredible unrestricted views of the lake as you take on well-maintained paths, and if you fancy a rest, there are plenty of natural viewing spots along the way. As you carry on your way around, you can spot landmarks like Washburn Valley, Norwood Edge Plantation and Swinsty Hall. You also have the chance to stop at the top of Fewston Embankment, to gaze over the reservoir of the same name.
The Swinsty Reservoir walk starts at Swinsty & Fewston Reservoir Car Park, North Yorkshire, LS21 2NP.
The Reedbed Ramble
The Reedbed Ramble is one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire. It takes you past the lake at St Aiden’s Nature Reserve and on to Fleakingley Reservoir. The 3-mile family-friendly jaunt starts at Bowers Lake and leads around their two rare reedbeds – this is one of the few places in the UK where you can see not one, but two. Look out for the rare birds that fly overhead as you make your across Lemonroyd Lake, past Astley Lake and on to Fleakingley Reservoir where you can spot even more wildlife with incredible views before you go back to the start.
The Reedbed Ramble starts at the Visitor’s Centre at St Aidan’s Nature Reserve, Astley Lane, Great Preston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8AL.
Wessenden Valley Reservoir Walk
With four different lakes to take in, Wessenden Valley provides one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire. It starts in Marsden, on the very edge of the Peak District and takes you on a linear, 8-mile walk through the most Northern part of this beautiful national park. Expect stunning views that will stop you in your tracks as you walk to Butterley, before making your way along the single path that will take you to the Blakeley, Wessenden and Wessenden Head reservoirs one-by-one.
The Wessenden Valley Reservoir walk starts at Marsden Moor Estate Office, The Old Goods Yard, Station Road, Marsden, West Yorkshire, HD7 6DH.
Grimwith Reservoir and Stump Cross Caverns
This 8.3-mile eclectic jaunt across the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty brings together the beauty of both land and water on a little-known route. You start at Skyreholme Bank, and make your way across Simon’s Seat where the views across the valley are awe-inspiring. Follow Grimwith Fell towards the reservoir of the same name which is surrounded by easygoing tracks and picturesque moorland. From there, head up into the fields once again and across to Stump Cross Caverns and Craven Moor before winding your way back to the start.
The Grimwith Reservoir and Stump Cross Caverns walk starts at Skyreholme Bank, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1UD.
Riggs Moor Circular
This is one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire, but only if you’re experienced and ready for a tough old trek. It’s 14.4 miles long, so you’ve got a long road ahead of you before you ever reach the reservoirs. Start on Middlesmoor, then cross over from How Stean to Riggs Moor, before you make your way across the moorland to Great Whernside which looks beautiful covered in snow. From here, follow the source of the River Nidd to not one, but two beautiful reservoirs, the Angram and Scar House, before you take Moor Lane to the end.
The Riggs Moor Circular walk starts at Middlemoor, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 5ST.
How to enjoy the outdoors safely
The good news is, you can still enjoy the great outdoors during lockdown – you just need to take a few extra precautions.
- You can exercise or meet in public, outdoor spaces with people you live with, your support/childcare bubble or with one other person
- You should stay two metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times – where this is not possible, you should stay 1 metre apart and take extra precautions, like wearing a mask
- You shouldn't leave home if you or someone you live with has a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss of/change in your normal sense of smell or taste – please self-isolate.