Westworth Reservoir

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Westworth Reservoir was built by the Guisborough Water Company around 1871, it has in recent years been abandoned.

Westworth Reservoir Westworth Reservoir   

I don’t know the exact date of closure and remodelling, but a 2002 report talks about the cross-section of the dam being left.

Westworth Reservoir Westworth Reservoir Westworth Reservoir

The overflow tower is the most striking reminder, along with a stone spillway which is gradually becoming overgrown.

Westworth Reservoir Westworth Reservoir

A small building and plinth remain for an “interpretation panel” that clearly never materialised.

Plan of Spa Wood workings under the reservoir (triggered by discussion in the comments)




29 thoughts on “Westworth Reservoir

  1. It was built by the Guisborough Water Company and operated by them until they were taken over by the Cleveland and Tees Valley Water Board. (later taken over in turn by NW) I don’t know when it was closed, but I guess that the C&TV Lockwood Beck source superseded it. The Guisborough Water Company supplied water to the town and was a good little earner for the Gisborough estates and the Chaloner family as the reservoir was on their land and they could levy a catchment charge on what one should feel ought to be free. The Water Company records still exist and are with the NYCC records and archives (although they really belong here !)

  2. Im remember swiming in this place in the late 70s early 80s. Although there was still a substantial amount of water in the reservoir back then (it was possible to swim to the overflow tower and dive in) the place was disused and seemed to have been for a long time. I did read somewhere that it was taken out of use becouse of potential subsidence from Spawood mine.
    I could never find the exit tunnel from the overflow tower or would this have gone into the pipes.

  3. Im sure it says in one of mr Chapmans books that this may not be the case. Its in an interview with an old miner

  4. Indeed it does, Simon will tell me off for not reading his book properly.

    It says the place came in and the mine was flooded, the reservoir had cracks and there was a water scare in Guisborough in 1929.

  5. What it doesn’t say however, is if this was smae time that the resorvoir was closed as a water supply. As I stated in an earlier comment 30 years ago the place seemed abandoned although the water level was quite high it was nowhere near the top of the dam. So maybe the cracks were in the top section of the dam but I would have thought so kind of care and maintainance were still taking place to make sure the dam did’nt give way.
    Would be interesting to know what promted them do drain the place completely, more movement from the mine perhaps? It also makes you wonder if mining took place under other structures that were officialy ‘worked around’ such as lockwood beck?

  6. I have lots of memories of walking here as a child through the 80’s and 90’s and when i last visited (towards the end of the 90’s) the tower was still at full height (complete with deadly rusty ladder), the dam was still complete and there was still a reasonable amount of water in the lake.
    When i visited last summer (2011) the middle of the dam had been chopped out (preventing the reservoir from ever being filled again), the tower reduced by about half and capped with concrete and the lake was now nothing more than a stinking, stagnant pond full of beer cans, a dead sheep and god knows what else… Not sure why ‘they’ felt the need to do all this but to me it’s a massive shame…

  7. You all talk about westworth in the 80s & 90s well myself & a lot of others of my age can go back to the 40s &50s when the resovoire was full to the top of the overflow that was under the bridge It also had a pipe line which can still be seen going all the way to a pump house near charltons so if it was due to overmining I dont think so The man who used to look after it was a mr Mcewan from Margrove park & his three legged sheep dog If you require any further information from

  8. Interestingly the reservoir has miraculously reappeared on the most recent edition of the Ordnance Survey Explorer 26 map!

  9. Yes it has reappeared on OS maps and yes I remember this site too and when last up there in 2004 it was so different from the time we could swim in it having come up from Laurence Jackson in the summers in the early eighties. Fond memories

  10. We walked up today following the latest ordnance survey map expecting to see a reservoir and got a real shock when we walked over the brow..! I wonder if they just spead out the backfill and stone walling into the existing hole once the water had been pumped out…. Some steps have been built out of some of the stone reclaimed from the dam. It was great wondering what the res’ looked like when it was full to brimming especially when as you say, the overflow was twice the height that it is now. Lovely to find out some of its history. Thank you

  11. Just had a walk up to the old resy,we all used to go swimming and camping up there in the school holidays back in the eighties,it saddens me to see it the way it is,it was a big part of so many good memories

  12. It saddens me to see how they have drained it and hacked it to bits,it played a big part in mine and my mates life’s back in the 80s when we used to go swimming and camping up there in the school summer hols,such good times, looks like health and safety playing a big part in dismantling a big part of our history,looks a bloody mess now!!!!

  13. Has any one got any pictures of it – my only picture is in my mind – I have been looking for this place again – last seen in the early 1960’s when it was pretty full and magical. I just thought at the time it was just a lake.

  14. I remember going to it on an end of year walk to Commondale with ljs, probably 1981
    I think it was john tomlinson and dicky fairbanks who took us
    It was at least half full and a few of the lads went swimming
    I remember mark mitchell swimming out to the tower

  15. …but the area is distinctly…odd…haunted I would say; I remember in 1985 going up there with 2 friends & immediately thought this is not a place to linger…others have said similar things..I am looking to photograph the remains of I believe westworth farm soon…

  16. I would love to see the reservoir reinstated for wildlife. I know…whose going to pay for it is the problem. Also be very essential to put out moors and woodland fires, to safe guard Guisborough town and surrounding areas.

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