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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.

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.

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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.

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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).

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Dates of upcoming releases can be found in the downloads section on this page. 

Alternatively, you can request the calendar by emailing

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

Although we expect all events to take place, there is always the possibility of cancellation (too little or too much water) beyond our control. Confirmation will be obtained at least 14 days before discipline events, 10 days before weekend cruises and 7 days before weekday events. Use the Washburn Information Line above to check if in doubt.


Yorkshire Water are keen that we start collecting user data. Clubs attending are asked where possible to pre-register for this event giving club name and estimated numbers of paddlers. Please do this by emailing:

Join the text information service

Subscribe to the text information service by emailing


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).

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