Swinsty Reservoir

Swinsty Reservoir

Swinsty Reservoir offers lots of outdoor adventures by water, through woodland and over fields.

Swinsty Reservoir

Swinsty Reservoir is the extension of its bigger brother Fewston Reservoir – the latter actually feeds water to the former. Swinsty is 160 acres in size and holds 866 gallons of H2o. There’s adventures on the trail, through woodland and by the water just ready and waiting for you!

Location Details

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Things to Note

Swinsty Reservoir has the following on-site or nearby:

  • Accessible Toilets
  • Disabled Parking
  • Nearby Food & Drink
  • Parking
  • Pushchair Access
  • Wheelchair Access


Swinsty Reservoir is 160 acres in size and holds 866 gallons of H2o. The reservoir is located in the Washburn valley on the southern side of the Nidderdale Area of outstanding natural beauty. And is less than 10 miles north of Otley and west of Harrogate.

Things to Do

There’s plenty of choice for those seeking recreation in the great outdoors at Swinsty Reservoir…


There’s two main walking routes that will appeal to both the beginner or more advanced walker. Both are well signposted too.

The Swinsty Walk is your beginner route around the reservoir. This 3-miler gives you amazing views across the water and out across the surrounding landscape. Take a break at one of the rest points along the way and appreciate what’s around you. We reckon this walk will take more than 1-hour at a leisurely pace.

The Swinsty Beaver Dyke Walk is your advanced route around the reservoir. This 4-miler covers water, field and woodland. A top stop along the way is the vantage point over neighbouring John O’Gaunt and Beaver Dyke reservoirs. Please be mindful that part of this route can be boggy after periods of heavy rainfall.

Dog Walking

Swinsty Reservoir is a firm favourite for lots of dog owners. It’s really dog friendly and there’s plenty of waste bins on route. Off the beaten track the woodland and fields offer your pooch a place to run free off the leash.


At Swinsty Reservoir the walking routes pair as great walk-run routes or a flat out run. Choose from a gentle 3-miler or a difficult 4.5-miler listed above in the walking section.

Mountain Biking

Swinsty plantation is the starting point for this exciting 1.2k mountain bike trail. This trail actually cost Yorkshire Water £20,000 to build. Once you’ve left the first plantation you’ll pass through another one at Beecroft. Before heading up to Timble Woods. Check out the Swinsty bike trail over at hedgehog cycling.

Swinsty Hall

Swinsty Hall was built in the 15th century. Legend has it that a man named Robinson built this beautiful hall from the spoils of Londoners that fell to the plague of 1603. Robinson would raid the homes of the plague victims to steal their most valuable items. This bounty paid for the Swinsty estate, and built the grandiose hall.

Swinsty Hall now stands of one of the only Grade I-listed properties in Yorkshire still in private ownership – currently the keys are with the England football manager Gareth Southgate. The hall boasts  six plush bedrooms, a wine cellar, and a cinema. And comes with its own woodland copse and views of Swinsty reservoir.


Around Swinsty reservoir is patches of dense coniferous woodland that contains an array of sprawling plant-life. Get ready to spot a varied specifies of plant including mint, sneezewort, blue marigold, red shank, knotgrass, and skullcap.


If you cast your eye out over the water there’s a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of the thriving bird community. See if you can catch a glimpse of Canadian geese, mallards, coots and greylag geese, swans and cormorants. Away from the water, particularly as spring approaches, the woodland becomes alive with the song of finches and warblers.

Horse Riding

Swinsty Reservoir connects you to a series of bridleways for the horse rider. And off-piste any horse rider can enjoy the freedom of riding their own tracks within the adjoining woodlands.


Following the waterside paths of the reservoir you’ll come to several shingles with their own beaches. These little spots give you a chance to get up close to the ducks. Or to dip your toes in the water for a quick soak. As inviting as it is no swimming is allowed in Swinsty Reservoir!


Swinsty Reservoir offers a stunning setting for a bit of fresh water fishing on the spin or using the fly. The reservoir has 153 acres of surface area to cast the line. You can expect to catch rainbow trout or brown trout up to a sizeable 14lb. To tempt you a little bit more some 6,500 brown trout have been recently added to the reservoir. Yorkshire Water manage the Swinsty Reservoir fishery. Here is their opening times, prices and rules.

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It’s Grim up North Running have a series of running challenges at their annual Swinsty event. Take your pick and choose either marathon, half marathon or the six hour challenge of running as many laps as possible. Over one, two, three or four days you have the choice to test your running endurance. Book your spot at the Fewston & Swinsty event over at the Grim up North Running website.

Social History

The Washburn Valley Centre is an extension of Fewston Church; it was built to bring locals and visitors closer to the social history of the area. The centre host a series of exhibitions and events every month. Check out the event calendar over at the Washburn Valley Centre website.


Swinsty Reservoir is the little brother of Fewston Reservoir with the latter feeding the former via a shallow spillway. The culvert that allows this waterway to feed Swinsty is watched over by the carved head of Achelous. This is the Greek god associated with rivers who keeps watch of Swinsty Reservoir.

New Hall

Submerged beneath the 866 gallons of water is the remains of New Hall. Originally a home of poet Edward Fairfax. Edward twice brought women from Timble village under accusation of witchcraft of possessing his two daughters. They were tried in York for this.

The construction of the reservoir began by 1871. Undertaken by a large workforce meant a temporary community of huts were built during the building phase. Local villages like Timble, and its pub in particular, were inundated with workmen to the delight and dismay of the locals.


Swinsty Reservoir provide waste and rubbish bins on all of the walking routes. And there’s plenty of seating to take a break and enjoy your surroundings.

Food and Drink

Washburn Heritage Centre tea room can be found just north of Swinsty car park. This pleasant tea room is open on weekends during the spring and summer months. They have a wide range of homemade cakes and light meals – including sandwiches and salads – on offer for all. As well as vegetarian options.

Take a short journey west of Swinsty Reservoir to the village of Timble and pop in to a luxurious pub called The Timble Inn. These guys do  breakfast, brunch, lunch or a la carte dinner, all with a vegan menu option. You should get excited because the head chef Jamie Cann has created a 2 AA Rosette menu of elegance.


At Swinsty Reservoir there are plenty of places to enjoy a picnic. You can sit beside the water; take a break below in the shade of a tree; or park up on one of the picnic benches. Ow, and keep an eye out for the ice cream truck!


Park for free on-site at Swinsty Reservoir, postcode: HG3 1SU (Google Map Directions). If the car park is full please avoid parking on the verges as this restricts access for emergency vehicles.


Swinsty Reservoir is wheelchair and pram accessible. It contains well signposted pathways that consist of both loose gravel and tarmac surfaces.

How to Get To Swinsty Reservoir

Google Map Directions

There is no public transport available to get you to Swinsty Reservoir.


The only form of travel is a 20-mile journey by car from Leeds city centre to the car park (HG3 1SU). Head north on Otley Road – right on the A658 – left on the B6161 and give yourself up to an hour to complete the journey.

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