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For much of the year, the River Washburn is a boulder-strewn ditch on which canoeing is not possible. However on 30 days in the year, Yorkshire Water releases water from Thruscross Reservoir, creating England's premier year-round, dam release facility - with 2.4km (1.5 miles) of grade 2-3, fast flowing water.

Expand Overview, Events & Pre-Registration

Overview, Events & Pre-Registration

Working in partnership with Yorkshire Water, British Canoeing leases the river and owns an area at its southern most end, commonly known as ‘The Woodyard’. Here there are basic facilities and parking. The Washburn site is volunteer managed by a subcommittee of the Yorkshire Regional Development Team. Throughout the year, the committee runs events and competitions for recreational, slalom and playboating.

2017 Washburn events

Dates of upcoming releases can be found on the Yorkshire region pages.

Alternatively, you can request the calendar by emailing [email protected].

For the latest updates you can call the Washburn Information Line on 0845 833 8654.

Online Pre-Registration

It is vitally important that users of the Washburn pre-register to give organisers an indication on expected turn out. Not only does this aid planning, but it is it helps towards fulfilling our obligation to manage the releases by Yorkshire Water in a responsible way. 

It's really easy to pre-register, just click here and fill out the short google form. 

Clubs attending are also asked where possible to pre-register for this event giving club name and estimated numbers of paddlers. 

Join the text information service

Subscribe to the text information service by emailing [email protected]


Everyone attending Washburn Cruises is required to be covered by 3rd Party Liability Insurance c/o British Canoeing. This can be achieved any of three ways:

  • As Individual Members of British Canoeing / Canoe Wales / the Scottish Canoe Association or the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland;
  • As Members of a British Canoeing Affiliated Club which is formally attending the event;
  • Through payment of a £5.00 Surcharge

Unless otherwise advised, the charges are then £10 (adults) / £6 (under 18s).

Expand Usage


Throughout the year, volunteer groups co-ordinate varied boating days. Most releases are first and foremost for recreational playboating but the site also offers three slalom sites catering for differing standards of competition (including Premier and Division 1/2 slaloms) and can host Wild Water Racing races (Sprint and Classic, up to National Championship standard).

Expand Location


All the details on release days, events, costs and parking can be found on the Regional Team’s website.

For the exact location on Google Maps, please click here.


The River Washburn is located near Blubberhouses in Yorkshire, between Fewston and Thuscross Reservoir. 

Access to the main (top) car park is from the A59, along Hall Lane/West End Lane. The entrance is approximately 1mile along this lane, on the right hand side. Enter through double gates (Signposted ‘Yorkshire Water, Thuscross Car Park). Please drive carefully down this lane as it is used by walkers)

Parking, toilets and event control are all available from the top car park on event days. (note there is no mobile reception at the top car park) 

Access to the British Canoeing owned Woodyard site is from the A59, approximately 150m up Hardsty Hill on the left (through Wooden Gates).

Parking and toilets are available at the Woodyard on event days.

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