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The picnic area at Grimwith reservoir
The picnic area at Grimwith reservoir

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Route No. 232 - Wednesday 31 October 2007
Circuit of Grimwith Reservoir - 7km
Pateley Bridge
Nidderdale . . .

Map: OS Explorer 298 Nidderdale
Route Map on 'Landranger' base map from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


Track down to the edge of Grimwith reservoir
Track down to the edge of the reservoir

It was a bright blustery day with black shower clouds dashing across the sky.

Today my neighbour, Jim, and I drove to the car park and picnic area at Grimwith reservoir, map ref. SE064640.

Thatched stone building that seems to house some kind of machinery
Thatched stone building that seems to house some kind of machinery

Looking across Grimwith reservoir from the picnic area
Looking across the reservoir from the picnic area

Fern growing in the shelter of a drainage channel
Fern growing in the shelter of a drainage channel

I had one with apple sauce on top which mingled with the hot pork and crispy pastry into an absolutely delicious experience!

On the way here we could not pass through Pateley Bridge without stopping for a couple of those amazing pork pies from the butchers shop on the main street just above the car park.

Ruin by the reservoir at map ref. SE059649
Ruin by the reservoir at map ref. SE059649

Ruin by the reservoir at map ref. SE059649
Ruin by the reservoir at map ref. SE059649
(No! - the building, not Jim, he's a lot fitter than me)

Here we turned left off the public footpath to walk along the Water Company permissive path.

From the picnic area we simply followed the public footpath anticlockwise around the reservoir to map ref. SE050647.

Heading for the northern tip of Grimwith reservoir
Heading for the northern tip of the reservoir

Grimwith Reservoir in a sombre mood under one of the dark shower clouds
Grimwith Reservoir in a sombre mood under one of the dark shower clouds

One of many partridges that scurried away in front of us
One of many partridges that scurried away in front of us

The whole route was about 7km and took us over two and a half hours to walk at my very steady pace.

This led us down to the dam and across the top of the earth embankment of the dam, back to the picnic area and car park.

Bridge over Gate Up Gill
Bridge over Gate Up Gill

Looking up to the rocky hill top at Tag Bale
Looking up to the rocky hill top at Tag Bale
Looking up to Grime Lodge Crags
Looking up to Grime Lodge Crags
Looking along Blea Beck into Grimwith reservoir
Looking along Blea Beck into the reservoir

Looking to the northern tip of the reservoir
Looking to the northern tip of the reservoir

Old farm buildings at the start of the permissive path to the dam
Old farm buildings at the start of the permissive path to the dam

Looking east across the reservoir
Looking east across the reservoir

Looking along the dam to the draw-off tower in the distance
Looking along the dam to the draw-off tower in the distance

Grimwith Reservoir
Grimwith Reservoir

Walking along the crest of the earth dam of Grimwith reservoir
Walking along the crest of the earth dam of Grimwith reservoir

The draw-off tower and overflow at Grimwith reservoir
The draw-off tower and overflow at Grimwith reservoir

Background Notes:
This walk is a 7km, almost 5 mile, circuit of Grimwith reservoir. The reservoir is between Pateley Bridge and Grassington so you need to be sure the roads are clear of snow and ice to get to the start of the walk at the Yorkshire water car park above the reservoir. There are picnic tables here and good toilet facilities, but no drinking water! The reservoir water is untreated straight off the moors and it's piped away to treatment works near Bradford. The reservoir is the largest one in Yorkshire with a surface area of one and a half square kilometers and a capacity of over 22 million cubic metres. The walk follows the track from the car park around the reservoir. It starts off quite high above the water and then the walk leaves the track and drops down a path to follow the water's edge to the eastern corner of the reservoir. Here there is an attractive thatched barn. It's original location is now flooded and the barn was removed and rebuilt here to provide a housing for some water works machinery. Quite an imaginative use for it. We continue along the path around the reservoir and looking west there is the club house and boat yard of the Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club on the reservoir shore below the car park. As we continue there are several footbridges over the streams that feed the reservoir which sits in a bowl surrounded by rolling moorland. Quite stark austere scenery but also impressive and atmospheric. As the walk continues around the northern side of the reservoir keep a look out for the wild fowl and waders some of which live here, others over-winter and other small birds such as whinchat and sedge warbler are summer visitors. You should see greylag and canada geese, and ducks including widgeon and teal. At the western end of the reservoir there are two valleys with streams that feed the reservoir. The path climbs up a short distance away from the reservoir and crosses over a stream called Blea Gill below the rocky edge of Grime Lodge Crags. Now our route follows a track down the western side of the reservoir past a restored farmstead to reach the western end of the reservoir dam. The original reservoir was built in the mid 1800's by Bradford Corporation. In 1970 the local authority got approval to reconstruct the reservoir with a much bigger dam to hold about seven times the volume of water that the original dam retained. The work was completed in 1983 by Yorkshire Water. Some water is released from the reservoir all the time to maintain the flow in the River Dibb downstream and as it leaves the reservoir this water is used to drive a small turbine to generate electricity. The path takes us across the crest of the dam and it's here that you realise what a huge structure the dam is with it's earth embankment stretching away below into the valley of the River Dibb which flows down towards Dibbles Bridge on its way to join the River Wharfe just a few kilometers away between Appletreewick and Burnsall. At the eastern end of the dam we pass an odd looking structure projecting out of the water. This is a circular wier that is the reservoir spillway limiting the level the reservoir can rise up to. The tower in the middle of this enormous "plug hole" is the 'draw-off' tower where valves can be opened to take water out of the reservoir to go for treatment before being put into supply. At the end of the dam we climb up the access road back to the car park and the end of the walk for this week.

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