Walk 129: Pitsford Reservoir Circular Walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 6.7 miles (10.82km)

Time to walk: As long as you like. When I did this walk in October 2020, I was stopping & taking photos so it took me just over 2.5 hours

Difficulty: All hard surface & fairly flat, so good for all weathers

Parking: You can start this walk in a couple of places. Either the cafe at Brixworth Country Park or, as I did, at the car park on the causeway on the Brixworth to Holcot Road

Public toilets: The cafe

Map of the route:

I’ve walked around Pitsford Reservoir so many times, so why haven’t I included one of Northamptonshire’s most favourite walks on my website? 

To be honest – it’s so straightforward & lovely…I forgot! So it’s time to put that right…

Pitsford Reservoir is a 413 hectare reservoir & biological Site of Special Scientific Interest east of Brixworth. It’s owned by Anglian Water which manages it as a water park for walking, cycling, fishing, sailing & birdwatching. An area of 181 hectares north of the causeway, which divides the reservoir, is the Pitsford Water Nature Reserve, & is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire

The reservoir was built in 1956 to supply Northampton, which lies about 6 miles to the south. Holcot bridge was drowned when it filled & was replaced by a causeway a quarter mile further south. The water is the 34th largest in England & Wales, with a surface area of 2.85 square miles

The water is run as a trout fishery by Anglian Water, on a season ticket & day ticket basis, with boat hire available. Predator fishing is available in the winter months, mainly for pike. Trout are stocked at around 2lb in weight. The Pitsford brown trout record was set in October 2017 by season ticket holder Bob Collins with a fish of 15lb 8oz

As you’ll see from the pictures it was a wonderful October day so…

Let’s Walk!

1. Many people start this walk at the cafe at Brixworth Country Park, however I decided to begin from the ‘Causeway’ car park on the Holcot Road…

There’s a map, but to be honest the path just follows the reservoir boundary &, although it does leave the water’s edge at times, it’s extremely hard to get lost. A word of warning before you begin though…this is also a cycle track & many move quickly & don’t have bells!

2. This is the anti-clockwise route so leave the car park, passing through the barrier & follow the path…

3. Pitsford Water has a “Dogs must be kept on leads at all times” policy. With the presence of the cyclists you can understand this, but I saw two cases of where this wasn’t being followed, causing the cyclists to swerve

The other thing to be careful of is “back-casting” by anglers on the banks…

4. This is a beautiful place & the authorities have done a great job of positioning numerous benches to allow you time to stop & just admire the views…

5. As you can see from the picture below, this is far from a straight line route as the path cuts in & out of the contours…

Looking across to the left you now get your first view of the large dam which you’ll shortly be crossing

6. Each part of Pitsford has a name & it’s good to see plenty of signposts telling you when they’re coming up…

So next up’s one of my favourite parts of the reservoir, beautiful Brixworth Bay. Some of us will get there quicker than others – he was on his third lap at pace!

7. In my case though it’s more a case of stopping to admire nature’s autumn harvest…

Pitsford also has a huge variety of birds & I’d already seen cormorants & many kinds of duck. Just here were a couple of grebes diving around…

8. Before arriving at Brixworth Bay the path enters a small wood…

…where the autumn colours were starting to show their brilliance

9. Walk round the small bay, which is fed by Pitsford Creek. There’s normally swans congregating in this area & today was no exception…

Continue back into the wood again where there was more of nature’s harvest, being feasted upon by a colourful fly!

10. Keep going, watching out for those cyclists…

…& also those back-casters!

11. Around this bend you get your first view of the other major activity on the reservoir…Northampton Sailing Club

Here’s your next signpost…

12. The next sign is well worth taking notice of as I met a cyclist full on…

The path narrows now as it passes between the hedge & the sailing club fence

13. If you fancy a cuppa then the Brixworth Country Park cafe & car park is up the path to the right

14. Continue to the end of the narrow path past the boats…

…through the barrier & turn left towards the dam. I loved the sign, but wondered what ‘Pick Your Own Trout’ would be like…

15. Pass the entrance to the Sailing Club…

…& start the journey across the impressive dam

16. If you like watching the fishermen the dam is usually quite a busy area…

Most of the above were trout fishing, but there were also some interesting “pedalo – type” pike fishermen too

17. At the end of the dam’s the pumping station & the path turns sharp left & continues to follow the water’s edge once more…

18. The path continues until it reaches a small road acting as another dam. Turn left & walk between the reservoir & another small lake. The small lake normally has a lot of wildfowl on it, but today is was full of green algae

Just past the rather nice house, turn left at the sign post…we’re now heading towards ‘The Pines’ & ‘The Gravels’

19. So first up is the charming ‘Pines’…

Watch out for lots of wildlife along here

20. Continue down the hill alongside ‘The Pines’…

Leave the wood & rejoin the waterside once more

21. The path bends in & out of the curves of the reservoir passing ‘The Gravels’. In the distance across the water you can see the old farmhouse…

Our next stop will be ‘Stone Barn Bay’

22. Who wouldn’t want to live in the house that looks down the reservoir…

The path now reaches the eastern side & continues past the house & ‘Stone Bay Barn’

23. It leaves the water’s edge once more & has more of a country park feel about it…

24. Walk up the incline & exit the park onto the path besides the Holcot Road once more. Be careful as it’s busy…

Stay on the path & walk across the causeway…

Look out for the large tube about halfway across. Do you know what it’s used for? Well…when the reservoir is regularly restocked with trout, this is where the tanks are offloaded from the lorry. The trout are fed down the tube into the water – it’s quite a sight!

So here we are back at the car park. It’s a simple, easy to follow, walk that’s great in all seasons

It’s close to home & it’s now on the website!

Go Walk!