Our Visitor Sites

Thornton Reservoir

Peaceful and picturesque, Thornton offers a network of trails and footpaths around the reservoir and neighbouring woodland areas


There are lots of activities you can take part in at Thornton, including cycling and walking. You can download a map of the routes and trails around the site to help plan your visit.






A little bit about Thornton...

                                    Thornton derives its name from an old reference to the vegetation that grew wild around the village, hence the “Town of Thorns” or Thornton.
The reservoir site is now a refuge for a diversity of wildlife, including mammals, birds, butterflies and dragonflies.In 2005, Thornton Reservoir was designated as a
Local Wildlife Site due to its importance for wildlife. It is now a peaceful and picturesquelocation that offers a wide network of trails and footpaths around the reservoir
and through the woodland areas. There are also links withlonger trails including the Leicestershire Round, the National Forest Company’s Coal Tips to Country Parks
Walk and various other public footpaths.


Why was Thornton reservoir created here?

Thornton Reservoir is situated on the fringe of Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire.  As in many other cities, Leicester relied on wells and
springs for drinking water until the 19th century. Then, in 1847, an Actof Parliament allowed a private company to be formed to supply the
city. By 1854, it had already built Thornton Reservoir, together with a treatment plant and distribution mains.

How long did it take to build the dam?

The reservoir was created in 1854 and it took around seven years of planning and building works to build this resource. The dam is
constructed of an earth fill embankment construction with a puddle clay core. The Dam at its maximum height is about 12 metres with a length of
500 metres. A road runs along the entire crest of the dam. 

How big is the reservoir?

Thornton Reservoir has a total capacity of 1,320,000 m3.
When full, the reservoir is 10 metres deep (33ft) and covers an area of 76 acres (30.7 hectares). Its original depth was 10.67 metres (35ft)
– the equivalent of two double decker buses.