Thruscross Reservoir: History of Yorkshire settlement with a sunken village as Yorkshire Water issues warning to visitors

During bouts of dry weather conditions during the summer months, a sunken village in Thruscross Reservoir is visible to the public - we have looked into the history of Thruscross as Yorkshire Water issues a warning to visitors.

Thruscross is the highest reservoir in the quaint Washburn Valley, with widespread views of the valley and surrounding moorland.

The reservoir lies north of Otley and west of Harrogate, near the hamlet of Thruscross and currently Yorkshire Water is carrying out essential work.

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A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: “To keep everyone safe while we work, we’ve had to close footpaths over the road from the carpark.

Thruscross Reservoir. (Pic credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)Thruscross Reservoir. (Pic credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)
Thruscross Reservoir. (Pic credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

“The carpark is still open and you’re still welcome to visit, but please follow all signage and keep away from closed paths. We’ll finish the work and reopen the paths as soon as we can.”

Yorkshire Water issued a warning to visitors not to swim in the reservoir as it is very dangerous and reservoirs have a lot of dangers hidden under the surface.

History of Thruscross Reservoir with a sunken village

The reservoir was granted via a water order in 1960 and construction was completed six years later.

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The reservoir took the longest time to be built compared to the other three reservoirs which date back to the 19th century.

The small village of West End had to be flooded during the construction; it was mostly derelict due to the decline of the flax industry.

Near to the reservoir is another hamlet that retains the name of West End. The remains of a flax mill can be seen at the edge of the reservoir, and more of the village has been unveiled during times of drought, including the summers of 1989 and 1990.

Trees were cleared, sacred items from the church were removed and exhuming bodies from the graveyard as part of the work done to build the reservoir.

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According to Yorkshire Water, studies by archaeologists have confirmed that bodies buried can be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

It is the property of Yorkshire Water, a water supply and treatment utility company that manages it to benefit walkers, anglers and wildlife.

Leeds crime writer Peter Robinson, who lives in Canada, wrote a book called In a Dry Season set in a fictional village of Hobb’s End, flooded by the creation of Thornfield Reservoir, is exposed during a drought and leads to the discovery of a body. The story is based on West End and the reservoir.

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