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Grimwith Reservoir Walk: The Complete Guide

Grimwith Reservoir Walk: The Complete Guide

The Grimwith Reservoir Walk is easily one of the best reservoir walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the spectacular circular walk around Grimwith Reservoir.

About Grimwith Reservoir

Grimwith Reservoir is one of the prettiest and most scenic reservoirs in the northwest of England. It was initially built between 1856 and 1864 by Bradford Corporation Waterworks. Then, during the 1960s, the corporation expanded upon the first reservoir, making it the largest body of inland water in Yorkshire.

These days, it’s owned and maintained by Yorkshire Water. In fact, it’s the largest reservoir operated by Yorkshire Water, which supplies water to various areas in Yorkshire.

Grimwith Reservoir is also home to the Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club (AKA Grimwith Sailing Club). Other than sailing, the reservoir is the location for a stellar walk. Indeed, I’m talking about the Grimwith Reservoir Walk! This guide will dive into all of the nitty-gritty details about the lovely walk.

First, let’s look at the exact location of Grimwith Reservoir.

Read our guides about Trollers Gill, Yorke’s Folly and Brimham Rocks

An aerial shot of Grimwith Reservoir
An aerial shot of the reservoir

Where Is Grimwith Reservoir?

Grimwith Reservoir is located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire. The reservoir is located just north of Appletreewick and sits roughly between Grassington and Pateley Bridge. Please click on the image below to access an interactive map on Google Maps.

Grimwith Reservoir Walk Overview

  • Type: Circular Walk
  • Distance: 7km (4.3miles)
  • Time: 2–3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 50m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead/Parking: Yorkshire Water Car Park
  • Grimwith Reservoir postcode (car park): BD23 5ED
  • Map: Wikiloc

Grimwith Reservoir Walk Map

Here’s a map of the Grimwith Reservoir Walk. To be honest, trail navigation for this walk is very straightforward and self-explanatory. You’ll simply walk around the reservoir! So, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to rely too heavily upon a map. But just in case, you’ll find a link to a GPS-guided map above.

A map of the Grimwith Reservoir Walk

Grimwith Reservoir Walk: Trail Description

In the trail description below, we’ll talk about the highlights of the Grimwith Reservoir Walk.

An aerial shot of the Grimwith Reservoir Walk trail

Walking Around Grimwith Reservoir

Starting at the Yorkshire Water Car Park, you’ll follow a road down to the southern edge of Grimwith Reservoir. You’ll then commence the walk in a clockwise direction. Truth be told, you can walk in either direction. But, for whatever reason, most people walk around Grimwith Reservoir in a clockwise direction.

After passing the Valve Tower, you’ll follow along a flat expanse of grass. With Hartlington Pasture to your left, you’ll soon turn a corner heading along the western border of the reservoir. Soon, you’ll cross a bridge passing Blea Gill. You’ll then pass over another bridge, which takes you over Gate Up Gill. Both of these gills flow into the reservoir at the northwest end near Bracken Haw. Certainly, from the northwest side of Grimwith Reservoir, you’ll enjoy lovely views of the reservoir. Additionally, the surrounding natural terrain is superb.

The path then continues around the northern edge of the reservoir, where you’ll pass a series of ruins and houses. First, you’ll pass the remains of a farmhouse, which are essentially ruins from an old hamlet called Gate Up. You’ll then pass the ruins of Grimwith House. Bear in mind, it isn’t possible to explore the ruins. You’ll also pass a well-preserved and impressive thatched-roofed barn called High Laithe. Along the way, you’ll find useful information boards, which provide more information about the sites you’ll pass.

Finally, you’ll pass some traditional cottages (Snave Barn and Skyfell), which are possible to book if you’re looking for accommodation situated on the shores of the reservoir.

Finally, you’ll pass many sailboats as you near a return to the car park to complete the Grimwith Reservoir Walk.

Grimwith Reservoir

Things You Need to Know About the Grimwith Reservoir Walk

Now you know all about the Grimwith Reservoir Walk, let’s look at all of the practical information for visiting. Let’s start with how to get there in the first place.

Dan looks at Grimwith Reservoir during a walk around it

How to Get to Grimwith Reservoir

The easiest and quickest way to get to Grimwith Reservoir is to drive there yourself. We’ll look at more details about the Grimwith Reservoir Car Park below. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car.

FYI – it doesn’t look like it’s possible to get to Grimwith Reservoir using public transport.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Grimwith Reservoir Car Park

As mentioned, you can park at the Yorkshire Water Car Park for free. You’ll find a large car park with plenty of space. Even when it’s busy on the weekends, there is usually enough space to park.

Grimwith Reservoir Walk Amenities and Facilities

Other than the large car park, the reservoir also has a toilet block, which is well maintained. Otherwise, you won’t find much in the way of shops. So, make sure to pack your own food and drinks.


Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the Grimwith Reservoir Walk.

An aerial shot of forest, river stream and nature reserve

Is Grimwith Reservoir Always Open?

Yes, the reservoir is always open.

Are There Grimwith Reservoir Car Park Charges?

No, the Yorkshire Water Car Park is totally free of charge.

How Long Does the Grimwith Reservoir Walk Take?

The walk takes most people around 2–3 hours.

Can You Cycle Around Grimwith Reservoir?

As far as we’re aware, cycling isn’t banned at the reservoir. Personally, we didn’t see anyone cycling around the reservoir. Certainly, the path around the reservoir is more appropriate for walking.

Can You Swim in Grimwith Reservoir?

No, similar to the rules at many reservoirs across the UK, swimming isn’t allowed at this reservoir. This is for safety and environmental reasons.

Is Grimwith Reservoir Fishing Allowed?

To our knowledge, fishing isn’t allowed at this reservoir. Fortunately, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has plenty of reservoirs where fishing is allowed. These include Fewston Reservoir, Swinsty Reservoir, Thruscross Reservoir and Embsay Reservoir. For a full list of reservoirs where fishing is allowed in the Yorkshire Dales, click here.

Is Grimwith Reservoir Dog-Friendly?

Yes, you can bring your pooch along for this reservoir walk. But, it’s advised to keep doggo on a lead to help protect the natural space around the reservoir.

What Is the Size of Grimwith Reservoir?

The surface area of the reservoir is around 1.5 square kilometres, whilst the maximum depth is around 15 metres. Amazingly, the reservoir holds approx. 21,771,225,010 litres of water!

Nearby Walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

If you want to do other awesome nearby walks, then you’ll have to see more of the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales National Park. Below, we’ve listed some of the other best places to visit and walks to do nearby in the Dales.

Dan crouches at the opening of a cave
Trollers Gill

What to Wear and Take

These are our hiking gear essentials for the Grimwith Reservoir.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Other Yorkshire Dales Guides

Hardraw Force

For more information about the best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales, click the button below. Otherwise, to help you get started, read our 42 Best Yorkshire Dales Walks or 48 Best Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls guides.

Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales

Bonus Tips

  • Accommodation: as mentioned, there are Grimwith Reservoir cottages which are possible to stay at. If you want to book either of these gorgeous cottages (Snave Barn and Skyfell), click on the link to find out more information.
  • Other reservoirs in the Yorkshire Dales are worth exploring: we’ve heard Gouthwaite Reservoir and Scar House Reservoir are two other reservoirs worth seeing. Otherwise, Eccup Reservoir and Scammonden Reservoir, although not located in the Yorkshire Dales, are located in Yorkshire, and are also picturesque.
  • This walk is somewhat accessible: this walk is deemed as accessible for people using wheelchairs and motor scooters. That’s because of the decent condition of the flat path that circles the reservoir. But, there are some steep sections and uneven parts of the track. This has been reported as difficult to use by some people who are mobility impaired.

Please leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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