I visited the Yorkshire reservoir with a hidden village underneath it

I thoroughly enjoyed the views from the reservoir
-Credit: (Image: Yorkshire Live)

Built in 1956, Baitings Reservoir is a large water supply reservoir operated by Yorkshire Water, it lies in the valley of the River Ryburn and is one of two reservoirs built to supply Wakefield.

The reservoir takes the name of the hamlet that was flooded under the new dam. The hamlet of Baitings was on an old road linking Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The dam took eight years to complete at a cost of £1.4 million, and is located at 840 feet (256 m) above sea level. The reservoir is surrounded by woodland, it's popular with walkers and at various points offers impressive views of the neighbouring moors.

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Sometimes during spells of prolonged dry weather when the water levels drop the old bridge covered by the reservoir can be seen - offering a glimpse at the past.

I have seen the reservoir from the motorway when driving past and I'd heard the rumours of the hidden village underneath - but I'd never actually been.

The modern bridge over Baitings Reservoir
The modern bridge over Baitings Reservoir -Credit:Geograph.org.uk/Peter McDermott

So I decided to make the most of the nice weather and head over for a walk to see what I could find. The reservoir is close to Ripponden in the West Yorkshire Pennines.

Just off the A58 heading to Rochdale, you’ll find the free car park in line with the wall of the dam, which is where I parked, on a nice day like today there is a often an ice cream parked up for a pre or post walk treat!

There are two walks you can take from here - I opted for the shorter walk which is roughly around 1.4 miles. Baiting short walk runs through the stunning woodland surrounding Baitings Reservoir.

The current low water level at Baitings Reservoir in Yorkshire. See SWNS story SWLEreservoir. A scorching summer and a lack of rain fall has revealed an ancient bridge at a reservoir after water levels dropped during the heatwave. One solitary figure was pictured walking across the old Road Bridge at Baitings Reservoir, near Ripponden, West Yorks. As blowtorch Britain baked in record temperatures, a rare danger-to-life warning was put in place for parts of northern England. Some beauty spots across the north even dried up so severely that mudbeds were exposed and left deep cracks appearing in a desert-like landscape.
Baitings Reservoir in summer 2022 -Credit:SWNS

The walk offers excellent views of the surrounding moors and down the valley towards Ryburn Reservoir, it felt really peaceful and whilst close in proximity to the motorway it almost feels a million miles away from anywhere. The walk took me around an hour or so, it's a flat and a fairly easy walk that can be enjoyed by anyone.

There is a longer walk too - if you have more time - the Baitings long walk runs through the woodland surrounding Baitings Reservoir and the fields at Ripponden, also offering panoramic views of the surrounding moors and down the valley towards Ryburn Reservoir. The longer walk can be completed in around 1.5 hours.

The reservoir was full today so the ancient bridge wasn't visible but I certainly enjoyed my walk in the Yorkshire sunshine pondering about the life that possibly once was below the depths of the reservoir.

I thoroughly enjoyed the views from the reservoir
I thoroughly enjoyed the views from the reservoir -Credit:Yorkshire Live