Reservoirs in Nidderdale AONB

Water, water everywhere - 11,000 million gallons of water in fact. That’s the amount of water the 11 reservoirs in Nidderdale AONB have the ability to store - enough reservoir capacity to fill 17,000 olympic swimming pools!

Why were they needed? In the late 18th century Bradford was thriving as a result of the industrial revolution and people flocked to the city. For expansion to continue, a plentiful supply of water to feed the growing number of people and mills was needed. Building 17,000 swimming pools wouldn’t have been too practical – some new reservoirs were needed.

Why in Nidderdale? With its steep sided valleys, underlying geology and high level of rainfall (err yes, it does rain quite a bit) the three main valleys of Nidderdale AONB – Washburn, Nidd and Colsterdale presented the perfect conditions for reservoir construction.


The 11 reservoirs in the AONB are Angram, Scar House, Gouthwaite, Leighton, Roundhill, Thruscross, Fewston, Swinsty, Lindley Wood, March Ghyll and Lumley Moor. Seven of these are water supply and provide water to Leeds, Bradford and Ripon, and four are compensation reservoirs for the rivers. They all provide important habitats for wildlife and are popular places for walking, cycling, bird watching and fishing.