Swinsty Reservoir is one of a chain of four reservoirs in the Washburn valley that also includes Thruscross, Fewston and Lindley Wood reservoirs. Swinsty Reservoir is situated immediately below Fewston Reservoir to the south of the A59 at Blubberhouses.
All four reservoirs were built to supply water to Leeds. Construction on Swinsty Reservoir was begun by the Leeds Waterworks Company in 1871 and completed in 1878. Underneath the reservoir lie the remains of New Hall which, in the 17th century, was the home to Edward Fairfax who is best remembered for his English translation of ‘Jerusalem Delivered’ by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso.
Whilst both Fewston and Swinsty are popular with walkers, Swinsty Reservoir is the busiest thanks to two large car parks, one in Swinsty Moor Plantation and other by the east shore of the reservoir. The three mile circuit of the reservoir is especially busy on Boxing Day when it seems that everyone and their dog congregate to walk off their Christmas dinners.
From family outings as a child to taking my own wife and daughter there, Swinsty Reservoir has long been a favourite of mine. Only a ten minute drive away from where I live it is the perfect place to go for a bit of fresh air when more vigorous outings are not possible.