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Sailing and Windsurfing on Grimwith Reservoir Copyright Paul Harris


The Yorkshire Dales National Park provides a wonderful backdrop for watersports and there are opportunities to canoe and sail in the area.


The upland rivers of the Dales respond quickly to rainfall and there are many challenging white water opportunities and spectacular waterfalls after heavy rain.  While there is no recognised right of access to a number of these sites, informal agreements are in place on some, and others have a history of tolerated use.

Further information on access to rivers can be found through the River Information Service provided by the British Canoeing.

If you would like to take up canoeing the best way is to join a local club and again details are available through British Canoeing.

Sailing and windsurfing

The post-glacial lake of Semer Water, and reservoirs at Embsay and Grimwith offer opportunities for sailing. Located high in the magnificent scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Grimwith Reservoir is the largest inland sailing venue in Yorkshire.  We believe it’s the best place to enjoy sailing or windsurfing in the area, and some say the North. For more information visit the Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club website.

The smaller reservoir above Embsay is the home of Craven Sailing Club.

The post-glacial lake of Semer Water high above Bainbridge in Wensleydale is also available for watersports. Canoeing, sailing and windsurfing all take place here.

Stop the spread

Invasive Non-native Species and diseases threaten the special qualities and wildlife of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and can impede access to and enjoyment of our wild places, including rivers and standing waters. Some INNS species such as Giant hogweed even pose a direct threat to your safety.  These species can easily be spread between rivers via tiny fragments, seeds, spores or infected water in or on boats and equipment. Please help to stop the spread of these species to and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park by making sure all equipment and boats are clean before you come, and using the Check Clean Dry protocol when moving between rivers. Find out more here.

Further information and guidance: