logo Walking Britain
Home About Holidays FAQ Email MENU ☰

Thruscross Reservoir & Kex Gill Moor from Blubberhouses

Nidderdale AONB Walk

Region - Nidderdale AONB

County/Area - North Yorkshire - Nidderdale AONB

Author - Allan Friswell

Length - 8.5 miles / 13.8 km    Ascent - 1050 feet / 318 metres

Time - 5 hours 20 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 297Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 297Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 104Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 104Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Thruscross Reservoir & Kex Gill Moor
Click image to visit gallery of 5 images.

A very varied walk, including wooded paths alongside the reservoir, deciduous and conifer woodland and open moorland. The route starts from the village of Blubberhouses on the A59 Skipton to Harrogate road. Parking is available at the western end of Fewston Reservoir (grid ref. SE168553)

Leave the car park and walk slightly uphill (east) towards Harrogate for about 200 yards to the Pateley Bridge junction. Cross and walk up that road turning left down the lane to Skaife Hall Farm. Go through the farmyard, cross the stile by the gate and follow the wooded and most agreeable track to eventually enter a pine wood. Soon a water channel becomes visible and you should follow the higher path alongside this, with the Washburn, a weir and an old mill dam below to your left as you walk.

After 200 yards turn left over a bridge crossing the Washburn. Turn right, and just follow your nose via grid ref. SE156569 (where you turn right) and then steeply uphill to the top of Thruscross dam. Thruscross is the uppermost of four reservoirs situated in the beautiful Washburn Valley. Located in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this reservoir is surrounded by woodland offering views down the valley. The name Thruscross derives from the name of the Norse God Thor. The Cross part of the name may have been added after the Viking settlers converted to Christianity. Before the reservoir was completed in 1966, almost all of the village of West End had to be demolished before being flooded. Much nostalgic interest was created during the dry summers of 1989 and 1990 when the water levels fell so far that the foundations of the village re-appeared. The Washburn Valley and Nidderdale were important for textile manufacturing, from Norman times until the 1850's. The availability of raw materials and reliable supplies of soft water caused the industry to grow in importance. The woodland here is managed to benefit recreation and the habitat of the many varied species that reside here.

At the dam follow the footpath along the reservoir bank for about a mile to its conclusion at a tarmacked lane where you turn left. Take the second footpath on the right marked "Nidderdale" (grid ref. SE144577), making for the gateway in the top right hand corner of the field. Then go to the gate with the yellow waymark signs on at grid ref. SE143573. I found it illegally padlocked, so had to climb it. Make for the end of the decrepit wall ahead, then turn left making for the barn to keep it on your right. Go through the gate (grid ref. SE143569), and turn right. The very obvious track brings you to Spittle Ings House, but you should take the vague fork left parallel to a drainage ditch about 75 yards before arriving at the farm - this will lead you to a step stile in the wall. Cross this and the next couple of gates and continue along the track uphill.

At grid ref. SE127561 there is a gate where the path peters out, and you just keep ahead through a gate, eventually reaching the stile (grid ref. SE125560). Cross the stile. Turn sharp left and follow the wall downhill through reed beds, then turn sharp right at the wall's corner and follow the somewhat vague path ahead and slightly uphill. After about 50 yards (grid ref. SE125559), the path turns sharply left uphill and once at the crest of Kex Hill Moor it descends in an equally vague fashion, in the direction of the distant farm building. As you reach the field's wall the path becomes clearer, and you pass through the gate, noticing the gatepost marked "To Skipton" with an arrow. Walk for about 100 yards, turn left through the gateway, and descend to the barn at the bottom of the incline. Go through a gate and turn left, then at the next gate turn left, keep parallel with the right hand wall and go through the nearer of two adjacent gates. Keep the wall, then the wire fencing on your left till you reach the farm, where you pass, via two gates, in front of the farmhouse and then drop down to the A59.

Turn left and follow the verge for 100 yards, turning off via a gate leading to a minor road. Simply follow your nose from now on, via a green lane, and then merging with a more important road (Kex Gill Road at grid ref. SE134554) from the right, passing the buildings of Blubberhouses Quarry. You should be able to see some of the 23 "Golf Balls" (each containing a satellite dish) of the Menwith Hill Early Warning Station ahead, (the largest electronic monitoring station in the world) as well as Fewston Reservoir to the right. Where the road goes sharply left (grid ref. SE143556), continue ahead along a most pleasant green bridleway till you reach Hall Lane, where you turn right, downhill, passing Blubberhouses Hall, till you reach the A59 and the car park.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1572 Swinsty Reservoireasy3.0 miles
Walk 1574 Thruscross Reservoireasy4.5 miles
Walk 3507 Dacre Banks Circulareasy/mod6.5 miles
Walk 1001 Barden Bridge & the Strideasy4.0 miles
Walk 1249 Simon's Seatmoderate10.0 miles
Walk 2319 Ilkley to Bingleyeasy/mod7.0 miles
Walk 3114 Haystacks, Twelve Apostles & Idol Stone of Ilkley Mooreasy/mod4.5 miles
Walk 1078 Hampsthwaite & Ripley Parkeasy7.5 miles
Walk 2574 Valley of Desolation & Barden Fellmoderate11.0 miles
Walk 1905 Beamsley Beacon and Bolton Abbeymoderate10.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Trail and Fell Running in the Yorkshire Dales

Trail and Fell Running in the Yorkshire DalesGuidebook to 40 of the best trail and fell runs in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Ranging from 5 to 24 miles, the graded runs start from bases such as Ribblehead, Dent, Sedbergh, Malham and Grassington and take in the region's diverse delights, from castles and waterfalls to iconic mountains such as Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen Y Ghent.
More information

Messaging & Social Media

Message Walking Britain and follow the latest news.

Facebook  Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.