Fewston Reservoir

Fewston Reservoir


A reservoir north of Leeds that’s home to an array of wildlife and people who enjoy a walk, run, cycle or even a bit of fishing.

Fewston Reservoir

Fewston Reservoir is owned by Yorkshire Water – after all it does have 3.5 million cubic metres of the stuff! Yet, its not strictly limited to supplying the county with H20; it’s also a haven for wildlife, walkers, runners, cyclists and anglers. The reservoir overflows into the nearby Swinsty Reservoir.

Location Details

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Things to Note

Fewston Reservoir has the following on-site or nearby:

  • Accessible Toilets
  • Dog Waste Bins
  • Nearby Food & Drink
  • On-site Toilets
  • Rubbish Bins


The reservoir is geographically located in the Washburn valley, just north of Otley and west of Harrogate. And it’s a fair trek of 18-miles north of Leeds.

Things to Do

Reservoir Walk

Encircling the beautiful reservoir is a flat route of around 4 miles. Additionally the views of the reservoir and the immediate countryside are virtually unobstructed. And the grandiose views are split between the water or the valley. You can visit the Yorkshire Water website for the Fewston Walk route.

How long is the walk around Fewston Reservoir?

It will take approximately 1 and a half hours to walk around Fewston Reservoir. This time will depend on your fitness and if the sun is beaming!

Reservoir Run

If you are looking for somewhere to run, the Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Loop is a 11.4 kilometres in distance. It takes in a lake and will give your legs a really good workout. Here’s the Swinsty & Fewston reservoir loop in full.


The good people over at Yorkshire Water have created a purpose built bike trail that takes in parts of Fewston Reservoir. There are 5.6 miles of network of trails around the Swinsty reservoir. Starting from the car park in Swinsty Moor Plantation, it crossed through the Beecroft Plantation, and up to Timble woods. Check out the Fewston route in all its glory over at hedgehog cycling.

Picnic Area

Pack a hamper and enjoy a sunny day glancing out at the spectacular views across the reservoir. A perfect break or ending to a walk-run-cycle around the water.

Horse riding

According to local riders horses can also make use of their own permitted tracks in the surrounding woodlands.


The reservoir is open to fishing every day of the year. With a limitation that when the resident brown trout are spawning and running up the Washburn River, fishing is only permitted on weekends. We recommend you cast out in spring or autumn if you want to fish regularly – weather permitting of course!


Fewston Reservoir has a multitude of coniferous plantations onsite; woodlands; and open water of course. This wet and damp environment is an ideal one for fungi and grassland species. And with such a mixed habitat you’ll be in with a chance to get close to a variety of birds, including: long billed dowitcher, hoopoe, and the sabine’s gull.

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Fewston Reservoir was built in 1879. However work began back  on the reservoir back in 1874, and it took 4-5 years for the Leeds Waterworks Company to complete it.

At the start of the work both the Fewston Mill and West House Mill was demolished. The stone from the demolition was creatively (and sustainably!) used towards building a stone wall around the reservoir. As it followed the construction of its close neighbour – Swinsty Reservoir – most of the machinery that finished the construction came from next door.

Interestingly, Fewston Reservoir was built one year after Swinsty Reservoir and holds 40 millions litres of water less than Swinsty. Fewston Reservoir holds a total of 350 million litres of water, whereas Swinsty Reservoir holds 390 million litres of water.


To the south of Fewston Reservoir is Swinsty Moor car park is the closest public toilet – and it’s disability accessible –  when out and about on your journeys around the reservoir.

Dog walking is warmly welcomed at the reservoir with bins provided on the route around the reservoir.

Food and Drink

The Sun Inn was a 19th century Coaching Inn in the tranquil Washburn Valley, next to Fewston Reservoir. It’s a super friendly family pub that loves pets too. Park up with ease in the large car park and dive into the beer garden for a bev and some classic British pub grub.


Park for free at Fewston Reservoir car park.

  • Fewston Reservoir car park is located to the north of the reservoir, postcode: LS21 2NY. (Google Map Direction)


There are accessible toilets at Swinsty Moor car park with accessible parking there and at Fewston Reservoir car park.

The route around the reservoir is consistently wide and well surfaced, with the odd moderate incline thrown in. Note that there are no gates, stiles or steps around the reservoir.

How to Get To Fewston Reservoir

Google Map Directions

Travel by car from Leeds City Centre, north on King Lane, turning into the B6161 at Poole in Wharfedale. Follow this road all the way to Fewston Reservoir. The journey should take you roughly 50-minutes.

Unfortunately there is no public transport available to this reservoir.

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