Thruscross Reservoir

Thruscross Reservoir

Walk Summary

A fine circular route around Thruscross Reservoir, the largest of Washburndale's reservoirs, with contrasting woodland and moorland scenery.

Distance: 5.0 miles
Total ascent: 930ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Car park, Thruscross Reservoir
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

My third walk after the first Coronavirus lockdown ended I once again stayed fairly local. The previous weekend I'd parked up on the road at Thruscross as Yorkshire Water had not yet reopened the car parks. This time the large rocks blocking the entrance to the car park had been removed and it was once again open.

As I always seem to do I did this walk clockwise so crossed the road and entered the woods. There were some bright patches to start off with but the skies quickly clouded over. It was also extremely windy - a factor in my decision to choose this relatively low level walk.

The woodland path stays fairly close to the reservoir shore on the outward route. As it was late May the woodland floor was decorated here and there with patches of bluebells. Whilst the Ordnance Survey map shows a red permissive path around much of the reservoir for some reason it does not show all of it. Upon reaching an enclosed lane at SE143580 the path actually continues along the north-western arm of the reservoir where it joins Capelshaw Beck.

This path passes the ruins of a flax mill, one of the only remains today of the village of West End which was abandoned to make way for the reservoir. Further on the path meets the road. Crossing over Capelshaw Beck a path doubles back on the other side of the reservoir arm. Again this path is not shown on the map. This continues as an enclosed lane for a while before re-entering the woods at around SE143581.

Initially the path remains clear but not long after passing the ruins of Holme Field Head (with trees growing out of it) the route becomes less easy to follow. There are a few waymarker signs attached to tree stumps but even these are not that easy to spot. Eventually the path made its way down to the River Washburn at the northern end of the reservoir. This led to a footbridge to cross the river just outside the tree line.

The next stage of the walk is quite a contrast from what has gone before. A short climb up to some gritstone outcrops leads on to the moorland of Far Comb Hill and Near Comb Hill. The views opened up as well including, to the north, Little Pock Stones and Great Pock Stones. It was too windy to stop and admire the views much so I continued south-east along the path. Not long after it swings round to the south the path dropped down at the edge of the wood to once again return to the reservoir.

The rest of the route was a pleasant walk along this more open section of the reservoir shore. As I approached the reservoir dam I got lucky with some sunnier, if fleeting, breaks in the cloud. After a couple of months of not being able to get out into the hills this would not really have been my choice for a walk. However, given the weather conditions it was still nice to get out and a walk around Thruscross Reservoir is always an enjoyable one.

2 thoughts on “Thruscross Reservoir

  1. I would love to walk around Thruscross but I expect there will not be many reading this who can say that over 60 years ago, before it was flooded they had a marriage proposal by the tiny Washburn in the deserted village of West End. Since we were married for 58 years the magic worked. We lived near there but moved over 40 years ago and now on my own I have so many wonderful memories.

  2. I’m not sure if this is the reservoir but when I was young we were on the Yorkshire Dales visiting family and I was told all the area we were walking on would be turned into a reservoir. I was heartbroken by this news. I loved to walk here among the sheep and being careful not to step in their droppings. Was this the last reservoir to be built in the Dales? If so this must have been the area. What I didn’t like was staying at our relative’s vacation house with no running water or electricity. I think this was probably lived in before the family moved to housing in nearby towns. I also remember my father fishing in the river nearby. It’s such a distant memory so my recollections are foggy.

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