Distance: 4 miles / 6.6km
Suggested walking time: 1hr 30mins
Start / finish: Fewston Reservoir parking layby on A59
OS Map: 1:25,000 sheet 297 Harrogate
Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs as there are steps in places. Bicycles are not allowed. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
This easy walk takes you around the perimeter of the Fewston Reservoir. It can be extended to 8 miles by including the Swinsty Reservoir to it’s south – but it was a pretty miserable day when I walked it so I decided to just complete the one!
Park in the parking area just off the A59 to the north of the reservoir. The brown road sign that you need to look out for actually points to Swinsty reservoir, but if you turn sharply over your left shoulder if you’re coming from the Harrogate direction, rather than turning down the road itself you’ll find the free car park. There are a number of information boards detailing the wildlife that may be worth looking out for.
Take the steps up and out of the car park, turning right onto the path along the road. Cross over the water and then take the path sloping down to the right. Now you’re on your main route.
As you follow the well defined path look out for the finger posts with the red route arrows. This is the route you are following around the reservoir.
In autumn keep an eye out for blackberries – you might want to take a tub just in case as there were quite a few when I was there, and the few I snacked on were very tasty. There were also squirrels playing in the trees in this area.
Shortly after the first finger post you’ll get your first proper views of the reservoir through the trees. I completed this walk in the autumn of 2018 and the effects of the dry summer on the water levels were clear to see.
The path continues through the woods and after some time it winds its way left and away from the waters edge.
As the path winds back again you’ll notice a building over the wall on your right. Here, keep an eye out for the signs and a gap in the wall on the right. Turn right here and head down the steps to the road.
Here you can cross the road and continue to follow the path south and around the Swinsty reservoir, adding approximately 4 further miles to your walk. However we’re not going that way today, so instead turn right when you get to the road and follow the pavement as it crosses the Fewston embankment. Looking over the wall you’ll see the expanse of the reservoir, and possibly a number of fishermen.
As you reach the end of the embankment the red route points uphill alongside the road. You can go this way and turn right where indicated, but I turn right to follow the edge of the water – the two paths meet up again shortly.
Carry on following the path through the trees and enjoying the views of the reservoir on your right. You’ll cross a bridge over a stream. A short time after this you will get your final view of the reservoir over your right shoulder. Then the spire of St Andrews church will come into view. From here you’re only a short walk from the car park.