Scar House Reservoir
I'm not particularly fond of reservoirs: I know they're essential but I don't like the idea of huge man-made structures being plonked into the countryside, sometimes even flooding small communities.
Scar House Reservoir near Middlesmoor is very beautiful though, set in stunning Upper Nidderdale within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, close to Pateley Bridge. The walk around the reservoirs is just 4 miles and offers a chance to spot curlews, lapwing, and ring ouzel and to marvel at the feat of engineering that built the reservoir that supplies water to Bradford.
You'll also be able to spot two lost villages. The first is Lodge on the north side of the reservoir, the atmospheric remains of a 13th century settlement, with views toward Angram Reservoir. Closer to the car park are the foundations of what was once a bustling little temporary town, housing around 1000 people in the 1920s. This was the community that built the reservoir.
Unlike some other temporary communities, such as the one that built Ribblehead Viaduct, the one at Scar House Reservoir seems to have been very law-abiding and happy.
There were strict rules for behaviour but in turn residents were treated well, with some facilities that were not yet available to residents in nearby Pateley Bridge, such as inside toilets, and baths with hot running water.
Around 50 houses and bungalows and several hostels housed the huge workforce and their families. In their leisure time, they could use the shops, large concert and cinema that were built on site. Once the reservoir building was complete in the 1930s, each part of the temporary settlement was auctioned off and dismantled.
The reservoir is a lovely serene place to visit in Summer, changing completely in Winter when it becomes incredibly windswept, seemingly always cold. It's well-worth visiting on a stormy day, to walk over the bridge and look down at the water rushing down the stepped hill onwards to Bradford. It's an awe-inspiring sight, especially when the reservoir is really full and the wind whips the water in every direction.
Building Scar House Reservoir took 15 years to complete. It was hard and dangerous work with over 1 million tonnes of masonry to transport and build and one man was killed during the construction. The reservoir now provides 21 million gallons of water each day.