Yorkshire Water very kindly sent us a brilliant picnic rucksack, so we decided to head up to Tophill Low, near Watton in East Yorkshire to have a spot of afternoon tea on a fine September afternoon.
Tophill Low is owned and managed by Yorkshire Water and is a great place to go for a walk in the fresh air, do some bird-spotting, and of course, have a picnic.
Here’s our suggestion of six things to do at Tophill Low.
- Bird spotting. Tophill Low has two reservoirs and some open marshes and ponds with lots of hides from where you can spot a huge selection of birds, including egrets, sandpipers, and even (if you’re lucky) a kingfisher. We didn’t really know what we were looking for but the girls enjoyed going in the hides and using the ‘monocelers’ to see what they could see. I apologise now to all those bird spotters who were there that afternoon who thought they were getting a quiet few hours to themselves.
2) Go for a walk – Tophill Low is great for walking and actually not all that hazardous. Reservoir D is a BIG reservoir and is quite a long way around for little legs. Reservoir O is smaller – I would say it’s about 2k all the way around. It’s mostly path but there is some ground which could get pretty boggy in wet weather. The main reservoirs are walled off so little people won’t fall in unless they try, but you can see the water clearly from the hides provided. There is an access road going through the site and a car park to navigate though so take care.
3) Have a picnic! Tophill Low has a couple of picnic tables near the car park and toilets. Anywhere else you can just pull up a patch of grass or the odd bench. There’s a good chance you can find yourself a quiet spot and drink your fizzy pop and eat your cakes in peace.
Unless you’re there when we’re about. You have been warned.
4) Go on a scavenger hunt. Sticks, different-coloured leaves, funny-shaped pebbles – they have it all at Tophill Low. Bring your collecting bag and get treasure hunting!
5) Learn about water. Tophill Low is a fab place to have a discussion about how water finds its way to our homes. Tophill Low is a working pumping station and there are lots of features about that can create some good conversations, like these measuring holes.
6) Go foraging. Tophill Low have lots of trees and shrubs, amongst them are some bramble hedges and horse chestnut trees, so lots of blackberries and conkers to be had come the Autumn. We didn’t get quite enough blackberries to make a whole crumble yet, but give it a week or two and there will be lots I bet.
Visit time – 1 to 3 hours.
Tophill Low is located a few miles off the A164 between Beverley and Driffield in East Yorkshire. It’s quite a way down the road but keep following the signs and you’ll get there.
There is an entrance charge. You pay (in cash) for a ticket from the self-service machine. You may be asked to produce your ticket while on site. Under 5s are free. Current prices are £3.30 per adult, and £1.50 for children aged 5-16, and for concessions (pensioners, registered disabled).
Dogs are not allowed.
Tophill Low was good for us because it was very quiet – I think due to it being paid entrance, and because of its fairly remote location, and there were no dogs. Sorry, dog people, but they do scare my children and boisterous dogs do often make our days out stressful.
Tophill Low is highly recommended for bird watching and for a nice, peaceful walk in the fresh air.
Also see our review of Brayton Barff near Selby in North Yorkshire
Disclosure – Yorkshire Water sent us the picnic pack and some vouchers so we could have our picnic.