Thruscross Reservoir is the most northerly of the four reservoirs in the Wasburn valley and is famous as the reservoir that drowned the village of West End.
Whereas Washburn’s other three reservoirs were constructed in the late 1870’s, Thruscross Reservoir wasn’t built until 1966. West End was a small village that was abandoned to make way for the reservoir. Bodies from the churchyard were exhumed and reburied in a field alongside Greenhow Hill Road above the reservoir.
Remains of a flax mill can be seen alongside the north-west arm of the reservoir. In times of drought other remains of the village are revealed by low water levels. Another interesting sight when the water levels are low is the beach dotted with the remains of old blackened tree stumps.
Quieter than Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs further south, access to the reservoir is via a choice of minor roads. There is a sizeable car park on the south side of the reservoir which features a particularly fine view of the dam.
As the highest of Washburn’s reservoirs the countryside around Thruscross is also the most varied. In addition to some lovely woodland anyone walking around the reservoir will also encounter some fine moorland at the north end of the reservoir. It is also quite interesting to look out for remains of the old village, not just the buildings but also the roads that go straight down into the reservoir.
I have fond memories of going to Thruscross Reservoir for family picnics as a child. It was then that I was first told of West End, a village that had existed just a over a decade before I was born. The five mile walk around the reservoir has subsequently become a favourite of mine.