The Grimiwth Reservoir, located in the Yorkshire Dales, is owned by Yorkshire Water, which I didn’t realise until I got there. Having recently walked three others of their reservoirs, I became curious to see what the walk around the Grimwith Reservoir was like in comparison.
It’s very very different. It is also hands down my favourite. Unlike the other reservoirs, you don’t walk under any woodland around Grimwith. It’s all open, surround by rolling moorland. I also felt a sort of eery but etherial quality to parts of it.
I have since walked around the Scar House Reservoir, and it’s tied favourite with Grimwith. They are fairly similar, surrounded by the moors and with moody vibes. You can read about that one here. Since then I tried out the Wessended Reservoir, which is down in the Peak District. That is now my official favourite. You can read about Wessenden here.
When walking around the Grimwith Reservoir, you will pass by a few forgotten huts and buildings, with little signs telling you about their history.
What I’m going to do in this guide, is give you a bit of an overview of the walk around the Grimwith Reservoir, with logistics and map. Then I will describe the route, showing you what you will see with lots of photos. At the end, I will share the links to the other reservoirs, if you want to take a look
How long is the walk around Grimwith Reservoir?
The walk around the Grimiwith Reservoir is just under 4.5 miles long. It’s an easy route, and takes about 1h20 min to complete the full circular. The majority is on a well surfaced path, with a few sections that are slightly more rugged.
Early on in the walk, the path was a little waterlogged in places, and there were a few puddles here and there, although, I had heard on the news on the way over, that we have just had the wettest March on record.
Is Grimwith reservoir dog friendly?
Yes, the Grimwith Reservoir is a dog friendly place to walk. Everyone walking around it, except me, had a dog. They are allowed off lead for the majority of it, with only a couple of small sections that they need to be back on lead (I will show you where, when I describe the walk below). Although, no one actually did that. Dogs must also be kept to the main path. They are not allowed on the surrounding moorland due to ground nesting birds.
There are no stiles, and I didn’t see any livestock.
Parking to walk around Grimwith Reservoir
There is one car park, called New rd parking. At the time of writing, it is free. However, I know that Yorkshire Water have been planning to start charging for their car parks. I must get to all the others before that happens.
Once you enter the reservoir grounds, it’s a bit of a drive along the road until you reach it. It felt a little like I was driving to a private, hidden secret.
I have read that there are good toilets there, but I didn’t see any, so I’m highly confused. There is also a height barrier.
- Start/Finish: New rd parking
- Where is it: The Grimwith Reservoir is located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, between Grassington and Pateley Bridge. Post code: BD23 5ED.
- Distance: 4.3 miles
- Time: 1h 20min
- Terrain: Well maintained path, dirt trail, grass.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Amenities: I didn’t see any. But apparently there are toilets.
- Time of year: I walked it in early spring
Map for the walk around Grimwith Reservoir
You can find my more detailed route map for the Grimwith Reservoir walk on AllTrails
A guide to walking around the Grimwith Reservoir
I decided to walk around the Grimwith Reservoir anticlockwise, for no reason other than the path that way leads straight from the car park. You can’t miss it.
The first thing I noticed when I got there, was the wooden picnic benches nestled within the trees, and all the sail boats in the water.
Up the road path, and through the gate, you will get a better view down to the reservoir.
Then at the junction, take the left to walk down to it. You will get a view to the farm building on the other side of the reservoir from here (more on that in a minute).
I also really needed a cheeky wee. Looking down to the reservoir, I realised that it was all open. No where to hide. I’m really curious to know if there actually is a toilet at the car park now.
Walk to the huts
A short way along, you will also get a view to some thatched roofed huts on the corner with a backdrop of some small gentle undulating hills.
This one is called High Laithe. My bad, it’s actually a barn. The thatched roof is made of heather, and it is thought that this one is about 400 years old.
Fun Fact: Laithe is the viking word for barn.
Just past the barn is Grimwith House, which is an abandoned farmhouse. The last family to live here, moved out in the 1970’s when the reservoir was expanded. This area is now an important nature area, with thousands of birds feeding and breeding here. The main ones are Greylag Goose and Wigeons.
I definitely noticed more birds around this area.
Part way along the other side of the reservoir, you will reach the building ruins. This one was part of a hamlet called Gate Up, which is now under the water. It is thought that it dates back to the 17th Century.
I still needed a wee at this point (a poo as well, but that’s another issue). There were a lot of dogs about, and I was a little jealous when I saw them cocking their legs. Why can’t I be a dog?
The dog on lead section
Someway past the ruins, you will reach the dog on lead section. It’s quite obvious with a wooden fence and big sign. I particularly liked this little section. The way the path cuts across the side of the hill, with a view to a woodland cluster ahead.
It’s not too long before you are out of of it though, so your dog can roam off lead again.
Walk around the corner of the Grimwith Reservoir
The path will take you around and over a little bridge, with a lovely view of the stream flowing down into the reservoir.
I had fully expected to be walking through the woodland next, That would be my wee opportunity, but the path actually takes you around it. I can’t complain too much though, as it was all very pretty.
Once on the other side of the woods, hidden from the reservoir, I had a good view in both directions. I had the all clear, so did my wee. It felt great.
Next on the agenda was the poo. I planned to hold this one in. I have never done a poo on a hike (not that I haven’t needed to). Today was not the day to break that.
Walk back down to the reservoir
The path takes you uphill a little, then at the junction, turn left, to walk back down to the reservoir and past another hut (or should I say barn). This is the other dog on lead section.
The grassy bit
Through the next gate (where dogs can roam free again), you will be walking on a large area of grass. Surprisingly, this bit wasn’t that wet or muddy. After the big puddles from earlier, and knowing that we have just had the wettest month, I would have expected more.
Slightly further along, there is a steep bank. It looked like a good place for snow sledding. Or just log rolling down. The views are pretty cool too.
At the end of the grass section, you will reach the road. Take a left, up a small hill, and you will be back at the car park.
When I got back, I saw a dog doing a poo. Now he’s just showing off.
More local reservoir walks
Over in Nidderdale (just next door), you could try out the Thruscross Reservoir. On that one you have a bit of reservoir path walking, and a bit of moorland walking. If you read that guide, you will see that I didn’t actually enjoy it. But that was more to do with the weather. If I remove the weather aspect, it’s good.
Two popular ones are Fewston and Swinsty. These are next to each other, so you can do them both for a big walk, or just pick your favourite. Also located in Nidderdale.
Pin it for later: Grimwith Reservoir walking guide
You can find out more about the reservoirs of the Yorkshire Water website.