North from Lofthouse on the Nidderdale Way to Bracken Ridge, then west to Turnacar before dropping down and crossing the valley floor via Low Woodale. Further west to Scar House Reservoir and north across the reservoir dam. East, initially on the Nidderdale Way, rising up on to the moorland after crossing the ford at Woo Gill. Further east towards Masham Moor by way of Dale Edge, then south across Lofthouse Moor to join the minor road at High Scar, returning to the village by way of Trapping Hill. An 11-mile walk in Nidderdale.

Recommended Ordnance Survey Map

The best map to use on this walk is the Ordnance Survey map of Nidderdale, reference OS Explorer 298, scale 1:25,000. It clearly displays footpaths, rights of way, open access land and vegetation on the ground, making it ideal for walking, running and hiking. The map can be purchased from Amazon in either a standard, paper version or a weatherproof, laminated version, as shown below.

Heading north on the Nidderdale Way (Thrope Lane) towards Thrope Farm.

The River Nidd between Thrope Farm and Limley Farm.

The Nidderdale Way by the side of the River Nidd just south of Limley Farm.

Time for a break at Thwaite House.

Beautiful scenery just north of Thwaite House.

The view west through the Nidderdale valley from Bracken Ridge on the Nidderdale Way. The Scar House Reservoir dam is just visible in the distance.

Looking directly west from Summerstone Lodge towards the Scar House Reservoir dam, with the snow-capped Little Whernside in the background.

The River Nidd at Low Woodale.

Scar House Reservoir

Scar House Reservoir is one of a trio of reservoirs in Upper Nidderdale, accompanied by Angram Reservoir and Gouthwaite Reservoir. These reservoirs collectively attract approximately 150,000 visitors annually. Angram and Scar House Reservoirs were constructed to supply water to the Bradford area of West Yorkshire, transferring water to Chellow Heights via the Nidd Aqueduct, utilising gravity and eliminating the need for pumping.

Spanning across 70 hectares (170 acres), Scar House Reservoir boasts a maximum depth of 36.3 metres (119 feet) and a water volume of 10 million cubic metres. The dam, completed in 1936, contains over one million tonnes of masonry, rising 55 metres (180 feet) above the river and extending almost 600 metres (2000 feet) in length. The dam’s height measures 71 metres (233 feet), and the reservoir is primarily fed by Angram Reservoir, which in turn receives water predominantly from the flanks of Great Whernside.

Scar House Reservoir marked the last reservoir to be constructed in the Nidd Valley. Construction commenced in 1921 and took fifteen years to complete under the guidance of Lewis Mitchell, Bradford’s city engineer at the time. The dam’s stones were sourced from a quarry on Carle Fell to the north and north-west of the dam. To facilitate the transportation of stones from the quarry to the dam site, an inclined railway was constructed.

During the 1920s, over 1250 villagers called Scar House home as they lived and worked on the Nidderdale dam project. Evidence of this village remains visible today, with concrete bases located to the left of the reservoir approach road and an original building situated just below the car park, now repurposed by a local farm. Upon completion of the reservoir, the old village hall was relocated to Darley, where it continues to serve as a village hall.

The Nidd Valley Light Railway was instrumental in the completion of Scar House and Angram Reservoirs. Constructed to support the reservoir projects, the railway operated between 1907 and 1937. In 1932, the former church building at Scar House was moved to St Martin’s Church in Heaton, Bradford.

In addition to its historical significance, Scar House Reservoir and its surroundings offer visitors an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature. The landscape, with its undulating terrain and the reservoir’s shimmering water, provides a serene and tranquil environment for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Scar House on the northern side of the reservoir dam.

Shooting house above Thrope Edge on Lofthouse Moor.

War memorial in Lofthouse village centre. This memorial commemorates the residents of Lofthouse who were killed or missing in the Great War (World War I).