Pitsford Reservoir (Pitsford Water Park)
A location Ewelina and I like to visit with Archie our Border Collie is Pitsford Reservoir, also sometimes referred to as Pitsford Water Park. It’s situated a short distance to the north of Northampton and is well signposted as you get near. The entrance I normally use is actually known as Brixworth Country Park where Pitsford Cycles and The Willow Tree restaurant are located. The best Pitsford Water postcode to use if you want to use your sat nav would be NN6 9DG.
Pitsford Reservoir – What I like
As a dog owner there are a number of things to like about Pitsford Water Park. There is ample parking, toilets and a well stocked restaurant though these potential benefits can also be regarded as weaknesses as I will discuss later. The area has a lovely rural feel about it with extensive views which include the large reservoir itself. You can exercise your dog for as long as you want here.
The first time we visited the area one Sunday we walked most of the day which included villages like Old where we stopped at The White Horse pub for a drink and bite to eat. Indeed the Pitsford Reservoir walk distance alone is some 7 miles in length. It should be said that this path around the reservoir is a hard surface so is suitable for people with disabilities. It also means that it’s suitable year round and by sticking to the path your dog won’t get muddy.
Pitsford Reservoir – What I don’t like
Unfortunately things are rarely perfect and that’s certainly the case here. My first gripe is the cost of the parking. The minimum is £3.00 which is for 12 hours. Whilst it might be possible to spend 12 hours at Pitsford Water Park I’d be willing to bet that most people spend far less. As such why not have parking rates for just one hour? Don’t think you will give your ticket to someone else to use once you leave either as the ticket machine is one that asks you to input your car registration when buying the ticket. It’s also coins only so you won’t be able to use your debit card. Thankfully the cycle hire shop seems willing to give you change if all you have is notes.
Another possible downside from a dog owner’s point of view is that some areas are marked as ‘dogs on leads’. This does not seem to be strictly observed however and I’m not sure if anyone would enforce it, especially if your dog is well behaved and has decent recall. The main pathway around the reservoir is popular with cyclists, mainly at weekends. Our own dog responds well when bikes pass him but cyclists rarely seem to acknowledge when you get off the path to let them pass. This seems mainly to apply to MAMIL’s (middle aged men in lycra) who can often be very militant in their hatred of everyone (car owners, pedestrians and dog owners included).
My next negative does not always apply. On my most recent visit there seemed to be swarms of flying bugs that would follow you and hover close to your head. It’s the first time I’ve experienced it but having said that all previous visits were during autumn and winter. Maybe more regular visitors could comment below as to whether this is normal. It can certainly impact on your enjoyment of a walk though. I did not see that many dog waste bins at Pitsford Water Park but that alone would not cause me to give a negative review.
The final thing I did not like about Pitsford Reservoir relates to The Willow Tree Restaurant which I’ve previously mentioned as a positive! Now their menu and opening hours are more extensive than most places where I have walked dogs. The problem is that the restaurant is expensive and service poor by which I really mean slow. Staff will sometimes chat to themselves and ignore customers in the queue. Things don’t improve once you’ve placed an order though as there are long delays and things don’t always arrive together. I thought maybe I was just unlucky in the service I received but looking at reviews on Google it seems a common complaint. It’s a shame as otherwise I would see the restaurant as a big positive to those wanting somewhere to walk their dog.
Should you be thinking about visiting Pitsford Water Park you might find the map below from Anglian Water useful.