High Laithe and Grimwith Reservoir

Around Grimwith Reservoir

Walk Summary

A nice and easy walk around Grimwith Reservoir, a well hidden sheet of water high on the moors between Grassington and Pateley Bridge.

Distance: 4.2 miles
Total ascent: 500ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Car park, Grimwith Reservoir
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

Lisa and I had the day off work together and so we wanted to pick a walk that wasn’t too long so that we had plenty of time to get home before our daughter finished school. The circuit of Grimwith Reservoir is just over 4 miles so it was a good option and it had been a while since we’d last done it together.

The walk is one the easiest you can do in the Dales. At the same time one has to keep in mind that it is situated at just under 300m above sea level and is quite exposed to the elements. Fortunately, on this occasion there were nice sunny spells and the occasional low or threatening cloud that did appear passed us by.

"At the next corner of the reservoir we came to one of my favourite buildings in the Dales – Grimwith High Laithe. Grimwith High Laithe is an example of a thatched cruck barn. "

Starting from the car we decided to do the circuit clockwise so we walked back down the access road to gain the path crossing the dam. The grassy dam makes the reservoir quite well hidden, especially from the Pateley Bridge to Grassington road.

The waters of the reservoir can get quite choppy when the wind is up but on this occasion they were calm enough to reflect the blue sky above. After crossing the dam the permissive path swung north to join a public right of way. The path then gently dropped down to cross Blea Gill, one of the main feeders to the reservoir.

Upstream in Blea Gill there is marked on the map Blea Gill Force. It is a waterfall I’d love to visit but the gate leading upstream was very specific that it was private and no access. It seems odd when much of the area surrounding the reservoir is access land but this little wedge is not. I suspect it is because there is a pheasantry.

Shortly after crossing Blea Gill we then crossed over the much more open and wilder looking Gate Up Gill. The path then turned south and then east for a long stretch above the northern shore of the reservoir. At the end of this we passed the smaller reservoir on the north-east corner of the main reservoir which is fed by Grimwith Beck.

Heading south once again we passed at a distance the large and lonely Grimwith House which looked like it was having some major repairs. At the next corner of the reservoir we came to one of my favourite buildings in the Dales – Grimwith High Laithe. Grimwith High Laithe is an example of a thatched cruck barn. With its large A shaped roof it is supposed to be over 400 years old and is representative of a style that would have been common in medieval times.

Shortly after passing Grimwith High Laithe we kept to the permissive path as it gradually climbed up away from the reservoir shore and back to the car park. On the skyline to the north, above the reservoir, we could now see the gritstone formations of the Wig Stones – well worth a visit for the adventurous.

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