Thornton Reservoir was originally built in 1854 and had its own treatment works to the south of the current dam. It has a surface area of 75 acres.
The reservoir is now owned and managed by Severn Trent and the water is treated a few miles away at Cropston reservoir where it flows via the Rothley Brook. The reservoir is fed by two small streams which enter from the north via two weirs.
The reservoir was taken out of use in 1982 but was opened to the public in 1997, thanks to support from the National Forest Company, the Rural Development Council, the Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council and European funding.
There is a hard surface path around the perimeter of the reservoir of approximately 2.5 miles. Ideal for walkers, cyclists, dog walkers and ornithologists; the path is part of the National Cycle Network and the National Forest Way walk. Suitable for disabled access. There is a free car park at the reservoir.
Facilities at the reservoir include a trout fishery on the west bank where small boats are available for hire, a small visitor centre, in the shape of an upturned boat, a small cafe, bait shop and toilets. There is also a sculpture trail and a woodland walk.
Paths have been created through the woodland for walkers and cyclists, with an extension to the surfaced track around the reservoir enabling less able visitors to access the wood. The sculpture trail was designed and created by groups of disabled people working with professional artist Martin Herron and reflects the bird life seen on the reservoir.