This is a simple and easy route which follows reservoir-side paths and tracks. The way is over relatively flat ground with a single largish climb halfway through to offer walkers an excellent view of Lunedale.
Circular | 10.4km (6.46 miles) | Difficulty: Easy
|Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.|
Along the way there are several options for taking alternative paths which can allow walkers to extend or shorten the route. The route is best followed in the summer when its dry as some sections can become incredibly boggy in the wet.
1: The route starts at the Grassholme Reservoir visitor centre. There’s plenty of parking here though it does become quite busy later in the day. Walkers could follow the route in either direction as there isn’t much difference in the climbs and descents. The route is written assuming the route is followed in a clockwise direction. The first section of the route follows the track along Southern side of the reservoir.
2: Eventually the track reaches a quiet road. The route follows the road downhill and crosses Grassholme Bridge. (An alternative route here is to go left at the road then follow the track at the footpath signpost which leads directly to point 4.) From here walkers may be able to see the old bridge beneath the reservoir if the water level is low. The route then follows the road uphill till it reaches a footpath signpost on the left.
3: The route now crosses over two electric fences using some slightly dodgy stiles. Its possible that bulls may be kept in this field so walkers are advised to be careful. The route then heads over a third stile then crosses the field to a forth one. In the next field the track is difficult to follow. Walkers are advised to head West straight towards the dam outlet channel. The track then follows along the side of the channel downhill back to the reservoir. The track now follows along the reservoir edge to the bridge. The route now crosses the bridge and heads uphill to the road.
4: The route then heads Westward along the road. Walkers should ignore the signposted path to the left and head through a gate. The track does turn left eventually through a field and the dam can be reached by following it. However, the field it cuts through contains bulls and can be avoided by heading straight ahead instead. Walkers should aim for the South end of the dam.
5: Here the route follows the track across the Selset Reservoir dam then uphill. The climb here is relatively steep compared to the rest of the route but at the top offers a fantastic view of the valley.
6: The route now follows the road to the right back downhill. (An alternative here is for walkers to follow the road along the top Eastward till they reach where the Pennine Way crosses it. Walkers can then follow the Pennine Way to the right downhill through the fields towards point 7.) There is a short section of backtracking here as the route follows the road all the way back down to Grassholme Bridge.
7: Walkers should turn left at the car park before the bridge and follow the track here which follows along the North side of the reservoir.
8: Eventually the route reaches the dam on Grassholme Reservoir which it crosses back to the start. At the end walkers can go to the shop at the visitor centre for refreshments.
The track isn’t well maintained in some places which can make following it tricky. However, these sections of the route are few and far between. When encountered the tactic of heading in the general direction of where the path should lead will work out. There is parking at the visitor centre at point 1 in addition to a car park at point 7 by Grassholme Bridge and on the North end of the dam on Selset Reservoir. All these parking places are free and are managed by Northumbria Water.