The Best Reservoir Walks in Yorkshire

· Joseph Sheerin · Yorkshire

Make your next walk about Yorkshire’s beautiful reservoirs.

Scar House Reservoir

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 all kinds 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 to visit. Take in the views, make your way around the water and look out for the wildlife that calls these reservoirs home as you conquer each of these 10 incredible walks.

Agden Reservoir Circular

Agden, Dale Dike and Strines reservoirs, Bradfield, Yorkshire

Agden Reservoir sits at the northernmost Yorkshire tip of the Peak District National Park. It’s a beautiful spot that you can explore on an idyllic 4.8-mile ramble which starts by passing through the villages of Low and High Bradfield before you get to the tree-lined water. It’s well worth stopping and pausing as you admire the views, before you head towards and through Agden Wood and Dike. There’s an incredible vantage point from Rocher Edge, which sits above the reservoir, to enjoy before you head back to the start.

The walk starts at Sands Lane, Low Bradfield, South Yorkshire, S6 6LA. Check out the route.

Eccup Reservoir Circular

Eccup Reservoir

© Copyright Leeds-List 2023

Eccup Reservoir offers one of the best walks in Yorkshire for a few reasons. It’s wonderfully picturesque, it offers a rich blend of water and woodland, and it has paths that are easy enough for rambling novices to give it a try. You’ll start with a walk through the trees at Goodrick Plantation and Owlet Hall Farm. From here, the paths open up onto a breathtaking view of the water – particularly special when the sun’s out. Follow the lake around, looking out for red kites flying above you, before you end the 5.2-mile route on Alwoodley Lane.

The walk starts at Alwoodley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 7DJ. Check out the route.

The Osmotherley Moors Circular

Cod Beck Reservoir, Osmotherley

There’s a few steep, uneven sections on this 5.3-mile trek across the Osmotherley Moors, but it’s without a doubt one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire. It takes you across the Hambleton Hills in the North York Moors on your way to Arncliffe Wood, where you can appreciate the beauty of the Vale of Mowbray. Beacon Hill’s next up, after a walk through an ancient forest, and then it’s through Scarth Wood Moor to reach Cod Beck Reservoir, where the tree-lined lake opens up before you. Take it all in before returning to Osmotherley.

The walk starts at Ruebury Lane, Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, DL6 3AW. Check out the route.

Thruscross Reservoir Circular

Thruscross Reservoir, North Yorkshire

The Thruscross Reservoir Circular has plenty to see as you make your way along the 4.5-mile route. You can start your adventures at The Stone House Inn, before moving past Hanging Moor and an old, disused quarry on your way to the edge of the pretty lake. The views across the valley are something to behold, but so is the history. Look out for the remains of a flooded village – it was submerged underwater so that the reservoir could be built and there are times when you might be able to spot a few of the old buildings peeking out.

The walk starts at The Stone House Inn, Thurcross, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 4AH. Check out the route.

Lindley Wood Reservoir

Lindley Wood Reservoir

You’ll find one of the best walks in Yorkshire just a few miles north of Otley in the Washburn Valley. This gentle 2-mile water-side wander centres around Lindley Wood Reservoir. It kicks off in the quaint village of Leathley with a stroll along Greystone Beck. The path soon opens up for the reservoir, which makes for the ideal place to stop and enjoy the views, especially if you’ve come with a picnic. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare bird species that call it home before you carry on to Norwood Bottom, or you can call it a day and head back to the start.

The walk starts at the River Washburn on Leathley Lane, Leathley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2LA. Check out the route.

Swinsty Reservoir Circular

Swinsty Reservoir

A 3-mile circumnavigation jam-packed with wonderful views, make Swinsty Reservoir the destination for your next walk in Yorkshire. You’ll head anti-clockwise around the lake, with unrestricted views from the get-go. The paths are easy-going and well maintained, while you can take five in one of the many natural viewing spots. Spot landmarks like Washburn Valley, Norwood Edge Plantation and Swinsty Hall as you go, before stopping off at Fewston Embankment to gaze over the reservoir of the same name.

The walk starts at Swinsty & Fewston Reservoir Car Park, North Yorkshire, LS21 2NP. Check out the route.

The Reedbed Ramble

Bower Lake St Aidan's

Credit: David Botham

The Reedbed Ramble is one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire. It takes you past the lake at St Aidan’s Nature Reserve and on to Fleakingley Reservoir. This is a 3-mile, family-friendly jaunt with loads for the whole brood to enjoy. It kicks off around Bowers Lake and the duo of rare reedbeds nearby – this is one of the few places in the UK where you’ll find more than one in the same place. Rare birds will fly overhead as you cross Lemonroyd Lake, pass Astley Lake and reach the reservoir where even more wildlife can be spotted.

The walk starts at the Visitor’s Centre at St Aidan’s Nature Reserve, Astley Lane, Great Preston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8AL. Check out the route.

Wessenden Valley Reservoir Walk

Over Wessenden Reservoirs

With four different lakes to take in, Wessenden Valley provides one of the best reservoir walks in Yorkshire. It all kicks off 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 over to Butterley, before making your way along the single, easygoing path that will take you to the Blakeley, Wessenden and Wessenden Head reservoirs, one-by-one.

The walk starts at Marsden Moor Estate Office, The Old Goods Yard, Station Road, Marsden, West Yorkshire, HD7 6DH. Check out the route.

Grimwith Reservoir and Stump Cross Caverns

Grimwith Reservoir

This 8.3-mile jaunt across the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty brings together the wonders 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 walk starts at Skyreholme Bank, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1UD. Check out the route.

Riggs Moor Circular

Scar House Reservoir

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 even reach the reservoirs. Middlesmoor marks the start, then you cross over from How Stean to Riggs Moor, before making your way across moorland to Great Whernside. From here, follow the source of the River Nidd to not one, but two beautiful reservoirs, the Angram and Scar House, before you end at Moor Lane.

The walk starts at Middlemoor, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 5ST. Check out the route.

Cover image credit: Yorkshire Photo Walks licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.