Shaping the Valley
The Landscape of the Washburn Valley
The three lower reservoirs in the valley were constructed by the City of Leeds in the 19th century in response to the demand for water from its rapidly expanding population and industry, the most northerly, Thruscross, came later and was completed in 1966. They are now operated by Yorkshire Water.
Swinsty Reservoir is the lowest supply reservoir, Lindley Wood to the south being a compensation reservoir to manage the flow of the Washburn as it flows towards the River Wharfe.
In earlier years public access to the reservoirs was severely restricted but nowadays there are ample opportunities for recreation and homesteads that had been abandoned have been reinstated.
The coniferous plantations that fringe the reservoirs have been criticised for their limited wildlife but themany deer tracks in the woods indicate that all is not lost.
The overall views of the reservoirs are easy to appreciate but there are sutle aspects too, one of these being the accumulation of silt at the heads of the reservoirs, in effect, a new and developing wetland environement.
Old Mill Race to Trout Hatchery - Lindley
A part of the supply system for the abandoned Lindley Mill has been restored to provide the water for a trout hatchery - a modern enterprise benefiting from the skills and investment of past entrepreneurs and craftsmen.
See also http://britishtrout.co.uk/trout/farming-trout/