Wessenden Valley

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Blakeley and Butterley Reservoirs

The Wessenden Valley is a moorland valley in the West Riding of Yorkshire, amongst the Pennines immediately south of Marsden.

The name 'Wessenden' derives from Old English and means the 'valley with rock suitable for whetstones'.[1] The valley was formed by retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age and continues to be cut by the Wessenden Brook, a tributary of the River Colne.

The valley is in the Marsden Moor Estate and occupied by four reservoirs, namely Wessenden Head, Wessenden, Blakeley and Butterley,[2] the largest.

The Pennine Way long-distance footpath follows the valley.

The upper part of the valley near Wessenden Head is managed by the National Trust as part of the 5,000-acre Marsden Moor Estate.[3]



  1. Smith, A H (1961). The place-names of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Part 2, Osgoldcross and Agbrigg wapentakes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 277. OCLC 181782059. 
  2. "Save Butterley Spillway". http://spillway.co.uk/history-of-butterley-spillway/. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  3. "Marsden Moor Overview". National Trust. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/marsden-moor-estate#Overview. Retrieved 21 December 2016.