Where is this walk?

Thruscross Reservoir

January 9, 2018

Starting at the dam the walk around Thruscross Reservoir initially follows the shoreline. After some remains from the dam creation the walk takes to the moors above the reservoir. It is a walk of peace and tranquility.

The Walk

There is something very satisfying about any walk that completes a circuit of any body of water. Thruscross Reservoir is the highest of the four reservoirs in the lovely Washburn Valley. Further down Fewston and Swinsty are less remote and the views from the surrounding areas not as good. The reservoir itself was completed relatively recently (1966) but did still require the flooding of a largely derelict village (West End). The remains of the flax industry, largely the mills, that West End was built upon can be seen along the north western shores.

One of the main benefits of the walk around Thruscross Reservoir is the variety. The walk starts on the shoreline through some attractive woodland. However this soon changes after crossing Capelshaw Beck. In particular there is some wild country at the northern end. The River Washburn climbs in to some wild moorland. Fortunately the walk crosses the river at a footbridge and for a mile continues over the lower heather clad moors to the east of the reservoir. Even so this section, fine in the warm summer sun, could be a bleak place in a winter storm! The views are excellent towards the end of the walk as the path drops down towards the dam wall.


I find this walk typifies the pleasures to be gained by heading in to the less visited areas of the Dales. I would never in the past of explored the area always heading for more exciting walks. Now I enjoy the discovery of new places and experiences.

Navigation Tips on Thruscross Reservoir

On the northern arm of the reservoir a new path follows (marked orange on the map, a permissive path) keeps inland. This deviates from the previous path by the wall.

  • Linda F says:

    Dec 2021: there are warning signs from Yorkshire Water not to enter the woods due to storm damage. We did the walk any way but in an anticlockwise direction – which we felt gave better views tbh!

  • Sophie says:

    Can I take my inflatable kayak here?

  • Claire Halpin says:

    I really enjoyed this walk – thank you – wish it had been longer!

    The only niggle for me was that the public footpath around Whitmoor Farm is not at all well sign-posted. Fortunately I had the OS map on my phone so was able to find the route.

    A couple of other people I met walked through the wood along the reservoir between waypoints 6 and 7 instead of taking the moorland path just outside the wood; they said it was muddy with a lot of scrambling over trees – I wonder if that is what your previous commenter did as I had no problems like this.

    The moorland section was beautiful, and I spotted a Dipper from the bridge over the Washburn

  • Deborah Sefton Reid says:

    Really quite a difficult walk on the moorland side – not for faint-hearted.

    Starts very pleasantly on Northern side – lovely in fact and easy enough for most walkers and children – but the return on the far side is gruelling, very muddy with fallen trees in the wood and hills to climb.

    You can leave the walk at the little bridge and return to car park on the road where some interesting birds might be seen – Snipe I think.

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