River Washburn

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River Washburn
Washburn-lindley.png
The River Washburn approaching Lindley Wood Reservoir
Origin Washburn Head
54°3′46″N 1°50′50″W / 54.06278°N 1.84722°W / 54.06278; -1.84722 (Source of River Washburn)
Mouth River Wharfe near Pool
53°54′39″N 1°39′8″W / 53.91083°N 1.65222°W / 53.91083; -1.65222 (Mouth of River Washburn)
Basin countries England
Length 26 km
16 miles
Source elevation 391 m
1,283 ft
Mouth elevation 49 m
161 ft
Basin area 87.3 km²
54.2 sq miles[1]

The River Washburn is a river in Yorkshire, England. It originates high in the Yorkshire Dales and ends where it meets the River Wharfe. It lies within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[2]

Course[edit]

The river's source is at Washburn Head, just south of Stump Cross Caverns and from there flows southwards via Thruscross Reservoir, Blubberhouses, Fewston Reservoir, Swinsty Reservoir and Lindley Wood Reservoir before joining the River Wharfe just north-west of Pool-in-Wharfedale.

Reservoirs[edit]

The Washburn has been dammed to a series of four reservoirs, all built to supply water to the city of Leeds. The lower three (Lindley Wood, Swinsty and Fewston) were built at the end of the 19th century, while the fourth, Thruscross, was delayed until the 1960s.[3] Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs have a surface area of around 1.6 km² and a combined length of 4.1 km and Thackray Beck and Spinksburn Beck are major tributaries flowing into these reservoirs.[4] Capelshaw Beck is the main tributary flowing into Thruscross reservoir.[2]

Geology[edit]

Where the valley has not been flooded to make reservoirs, the sides are 'V' shaped. The valley floor consists of solid Millstone Grit overlain with till drift. The drainage can be described as slowly permeable and seasonally waterlogged. The bedrock is covered with fine loam over clay soils and some peat soils at higher elevations on the fringe of the moorland.[2][4][5]

Geography[edit]

The river valley has grassland that is intensively managed for livestock. There are also a range of field sizes, bounded by stonewalls often reinforced with post and wire fencing plus some post and rail fencing. There are very large forestry conifer plantations around the reservoirs as well as at Beecroft Moor Plantation with conifer shelterbelts at Carlhow Ridge Plantation. Deciduous tree clumps can be found around settlements. Ancient Semi-Natural woodland can still be seen at Blubberhouses, Folly Hall Wood, Hanging Wood and Ellers Wood. There is evidence of past quarrying of local stone for buildings and walls. The river valley is crossed by the Harrogate Dales Way Link.[2][4]

Further reading[edit]

The Washburn valley with Swinsty Reservoir in the foreground and Fewston Reservoir beyond
  • The Washburn by Tom Bradley (published 1895, reprinted 1988)
  • Washburn Valley Yesterday Vol II by David Alred. ISBN 1-85825-160-5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Washburn Statistics". National River Flow Archives. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Upper Washburn Valley". Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Bowtell, Harold D (1991). Lesser Railways of the Yorkshire Dales and the Dam Builders in the Age of Steam. Plateway Press. ISBN 1-871980-09-7. 
  4. ^ a b c "Middle Washburn Valley". Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Y.G.S.Extract". Retrieved 1 May 2011. 

Coordinates: 53°54′N 1°39′W / 53.900°N 1.650°W / 53.900; -1.650