The data-based mechanistic (DBM) modelling methodology is applied to the study of reservoir sedimentation. A lumped-parameter, discrete-time model has been developed which directly relates rainfall to suspended sediment load (SSL) at the reservoir outflow from the two years of measured data at Wyresdale Park Reservoir (Lancashire, UK). This nonlinear DBM model comprises two components: a rainfall to SSL model and a second model, relating the SSL at the reservoir inflow to the SSL at the reservoir spillway. Using a daily measured rainfall series as the input, this model is used to reconstruct daily deposition rates between 1911 and 1996. This synthetic sediment accretion sequence is compared with the variations in sand content within sediment cores collected from the reservoir floor. These profiles show good general agreement, reflecting the importance of low reoccurrence, high magnitude events. This preliminary study highlights the potential of this DBM approach, which could be readily applied to other sites.