Scammonden Reservoir, Huddersfield Review For Families

As a family that enjoys spending quality time outdoors, we are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting places to explore. Recently, we had the pleasure of visiting Scammonden Water in Huddersfield and we couldn’t wait to share our experience with other families like ours. 

Scammonden Water offers a peaceful and picturesque setting, perfect for a family day out surrounded by nature. From walking trails to stunning views, there’s something for everyone here.

Where is Scammonden Water located?

Scammonden Water is conveniently located west of Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire. It can be easily reached via the A640, close to Junction 23 of the M62. The accessibility of the location made it a convenient option for our family outing. We simply took a short drive from our home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and arrived at Scammonden Water in no time.

History of Scammonden Water

Before we dive into our personal experience, let’s take a quick look at the history of Scammonden Water. This reservoir was constructed as part of the M62 motorway project, between Junctions 22 and 23. The construction was carried out by Sir Alfred McAlpine and Son, and the reservoir holds 7.7 million cubic metres of water. The dam itself is a unique structure and a major engineering achievement. It was completed in 1971 and officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II. Knowing the history behind this impressive structure made our visit even more intriguing!

What is there to do for families?

Scammonden Water offers a variety of activities for families to enjoy. From walking trails to cycling routes, there is something for everyone. During our visit, we spent time exploring the walking trails and enjoying the breathtaking views of the reservoir. 

Here are a few highlights from our experience:

Walking Trails and Scenic Views

The walking route around Scammonden Water spans approximately 4 miles and offers a pleasant and scenic stroll for families. The paths are well-maintained, making it suitable for both young and old. We found the terrain to be relatively easy to navigate, although some sections can be slightly steep. It took us about an hour and a half, but you can take your time and enjoy the scenery at your own pace.

The trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, providing a great opportunity for a scenic and leisurely walk. We particularly enjoyed the diverse landscape and the contrasting views of the reservoir on one side and the passing traffic of the M62 on the other.

For families with little ones, there is also an option to take a diversion to nearby Deanhead Reservoir, adding a bit of excitement to the adventure.

Picnic Spot at Chapel of St. Bartholomew’s

One of our favourite parts of the trip was finding the perfect picnic spot overlooking the reservoir. We walked up to the Chapel of St. Bartholomew’s and enjoyed our lunch while admiring the calmness of the water and the distant yachts. It was a serene moment that allowed us to escape from the worries of the world and simply enjoy being together as a family.

Visit the Sailing Club and Scout Sailing Center

Scammonden Water is home to its own Sailing Club, SWSC, and the Huddersfield Scout Sailing, which is a Royal Yachting Association Training Centre. These facilities offer opportunities for dinghy cruising, racing, and sailing lessons. It’s always exciting to see the boats and activity on the water, especially for our little ones, who were fascinated by the sailboats.

Admire the Ornamental Statues and Oak Trees

Throughout the walk, we came across interesting ornamental statues, including the “tree planter,” a man with a shovel. These statues added a touch of whimsy to the scenery and made the walk more engaging for the children. We also learned that volunteers had planted over 80,000 oak trees around the reservoir, which not only enhanced the beauty of the area but also provided additional benefits for wildlife and the environment.

Cycling at Scammonden Water

As a family of cyclists, we were thrilled to discover that Scammonden Water is also cyclist-friendly. The paths are suitable for both leisurely bike rides and more adventurous cycling experiences. 

Although we didn’t bring our bikes on this occasion having assessed the cycle routes it’s something we plan to do on another visit. We will of course produce a cyclng-specific review for this. The cycling routes offer a unique perspective of the reservoir and the surrounding countryside. It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors as a family.

Wildlife and Nature

Throughout our walk, we had the opportunity to appreciate the diverse wildlife and vegetation that Scammonden Water has to offer. The conservation efforts in planting oak trees have significantly increased the biodiversity and brought more appeal to the area. It’s always a joy to see children excited about nature, and our little explorers, Matilda and Barney, loved spotting different birds and animals along the way.

Facilities at the reservoir

During our visit, we found the park to be well-maintained and equipped with the necessary facilities for a day out with the family. Some of the facilities available at Scammonden Water include:

Nearby Cafes and Ice Cream Vans

We were pleased to find amenities such as a cafe trailer and an ice cream van in the vicinity. The Dixon’s ice cream trailer and cafe trailer offer a delicious treat after a walk around the reservoir. These offerings provided a welcome refreshment during our visit. However, it’s important to note that there are no toilet facilities available, so planning ahead is essential.

Car Parking

There are three car parks available around the reservoir. It’s important to note that the Wood Edge car park has a height barrier and is locked at 6.00 pm. The other two car parks, New Lane and Sledge Gate have limited parking spaces that can fill up quickly, so it’s advisable to arrive early.


There are benches strategically placed along the trail, offering opportunities to rest, take in the views, and enjoy a snack.

Areas For Improvement

Although our experience at Scammonden Water was largely positive, there were a few areas where improvements could be made.

Lack of Signage

We noticed that there is a lack of signage in certain areas of the trail, which can make navigation slightly challenging. It would be helpful to have clearer signage to ensure visitors can easily follow the paths.

Availability of Toilets

The availability of toilets within the vicinity would be a welcome addition for visitors, especially those with young children.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely! We had a great time at Scammonden Water. Matilda and Barney enjoyed the reservoir. There’s plenty to do for families, and it’s a nice couple of hours of entertainment and outdoor fun. The walking trails are beautiful, the picnic spot is serene, and the sailing club adds an extra touch of excitement. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an active day out, Scammonden Water is worth a visit. Just ensure you come prepared with snacks and drinks for your adventure, as there are no on-site facilities for refreshments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a café?

Currently, there is no cafe at Scammonden Water. However, there are alternatives nearby, such as a Dixon’s ice cream trailer and a cafe trailer, where you can grab a snack or refreshments. We found these options convenient for a quick treat during our visit.

What is your favourite part?

It is hard to pick just one favourite part, as the entire experience at Scammonden Water is delightful. The tranquillity of the reservoir and the stunning views of the surrounding hills are truly captivating. We particularly enjoyed the section of the trail that leads to the Chapel of St. Bartholomew, where we enjoyed a scenic picnic overlooking the water.

Is it suitable for Dog walkers?

Dogs are welcome at Scammonden Water, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Please be mindful of other visitors and dispose of dog waste responsibly.

Can we bring our own bikes?

Yes, you can bring your bikes to Scammonden Water. There is a designated cycle path that runs alongside the reservoir, providing a safe and enjoyable route for cyclists of all abilities.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there are three car parks around Scammonden Water:

  1. Wood Edge car park on Low Platt Lane
  2. New Lane car park
  3. Sledge Gate car park

Please note that the car parks can get crowded, especially during peak season. It’s advisable to arrive early to secure a parking spot.

Is there any entrance fee for visiting the park?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Scammonden Water. The reservoir. is open to the public free of charge.

Pros & Cons


  • Great walking routes
  • Nice cycle paths
  • Enjoyable sailing club


  • No toilets
  • No play park

Park enjoyment rating

Photo by Ashley Groom on Unsplash

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Ryan

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