The journey so far, and next steps


There was an idea to repurpose the former water treatment works on Thornton Moor into a destination for outdoor swimming, sauna, learning and overnight accommodation.

A group of expansive thinkers developed the idea, and Yorkshire Swim Works became a project with substantial potential. Engagement with the Local Authorities, sector specialists, relevant professionals and stakeholders began.


Bradford Council loved the idea, and awarded a £4,500 grant to undertake light-touch early site feasibility, to explore the opportunity and to launch the project to the general public on 17 May 2022.

The project captured the imagination of the regional community, investors, grant funders and the press. Over 2000 people showed their support for the project, sharing their views in a user survey, joining the journey on social media, and offering their professional support.


Yorkshire Swim Works became a Community Interest Company, and created a funding strategy to purchase the site, engaging with potential grant funders and investors.

£65k (plus private backing) was raised in a monumental emergency community effort in just 10 days to bid at auction for the site. Sadly the site was purchased by a higher bidder. All donations were returned. 

Community support was galvanised and a decision was made to find an alternative site.

2024 Jan – May

A £10,000 Local Access Grant was awarded to fund the search & early feasibility for an alternative site, light-touch community & stakeholder engagement, and the development of a flexible business model.

Around a dozen sites were identified, but ruled out because of various constraints. 

Kettlewell Reservoir site was suggested by a member of the local community and project supporter. It answered nearly everything on the brief for the new site.

The early months of 2024 were dedicated to initial site feasibility and stakeholder engagement, as well as early negotiations with the landowner Bradford Council to secure a long-term lease for the site.

2024 May – December

Following the announcement of the new Kettlewell Reservoir site on 17 May 2024, Yorkshire Swim Works will dedicate the summer months to gather public opinion and community support.

We will also negotiate and secure the lease on the land to enable grant funding applications, and the attraction of social investment and private investment. 

We will secure funds to enable us to appoint the relevant consultants and specialists so that we can apply for Planning Permission.

The Planning Application will be supported with critical assessments about community interest, access & travel, ecology and biodiversity, heritage impact and greenbelt impact. 


We anticipate having funds in place to undertake full scheme development, working with relevant consultants & contractors to attain planning permission prior to the commencement of works. 

Funding will be a blend of private investment for the eco-lodge business and shared facilities, plus grant money and social investment to build the outdoor pool and shared facilities.

Subject to all funds being in place, we anticipate works commencing late 2025.

Next steps – to be informed by the community

If you have an interest in the direction of this project, we would welcome your opinion at this very early stage, and encourage you to complete this survey which should take around 5 minutes to complete.