Looking across Widdop Reservoir

One feature of the South Pennines is the numerous small reservoirs that dot the landscape, providing drinking water to nearby towns and cities.

The Gorple and Walshaw Dean Reservoirs occur in groups while others are on their own. Widdop Reservoir is one of the Gorple group and is not far from where the Pennine Way passes near the Packhorse Inn. The dam for Gorple Lower Reservoir can be seen from the Packhorse.
Water based activities are available on some of the reservoirs such as sailing and fishing but mostly they are used for water supply and need to be kept undisturbed as much as possible.

Widdop Reservoir

Reservoir Facts

The Upper and Lower Gorple Reservoirs were both completed in 1934 and both have similar surface area although Upper Gorple reservoir has the greater capacity at 381,000,000 gallons while Lower Gorple has 227,000,000 gallons. Widdop Reservoir was built in 1878 and has almost the combined surface area of the other two and a capacity of 633,000,000 gallons. The Walshaw Dean Reservoirs were buit by Enoch Tempest who was responsible for the construction of several local reservoirs in the first years of the 20th Century. The Pennine Way follows the shores of the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs.
Serving the construction of the reservoirs was the Hardcastle Crags Railway, pictures of which can be seen in the Packhorse Inn.

Please note that these reservoirs are your drinking water. Please obey water board bylaws. Swimming is not allowed and can be dangerous, even on a hot summers day the water can be cold.


Tranquil late summer evening, Widdop Reservoir