.............. ....... Washburn

Washburn Valley To Contents

A local version of the Lake District only 3 miles from Otley using well marked Water Authority paths and some lesser used paths on the surrounding moorland. This area should really be in the Yorkshire Dales National Park!

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  • Swinsty Reservoir


  • Walk 1  Dob Park to Timble - 7.5 miles
  • Walk 2 Timble and Lippersley Pike -11.5 miles
  • Walk 3 Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs (A family walk) - 5 miles
  • Walk 4 Blubberhouses to Thruscross Reservoir- 8 Miles (4 mile family alternative)
  • Walk 5 Swinsty -Beaver Dyke - Little Almscliffe Circular -10 miles
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Map reading is essential for these walks. The  relevant map is OS Explorer 27 Lower Wharfedale

Travel : The DalesBus 75 service runs from Harrogate to Skipton on Saturdays only giving access to the reservoir paths at Blubberhouses carpark. The Eastern Dalesman bus service 820 operates on Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays from Leeds and Otley via the Washburn Valley passing the Sun Inn at Norwood. See www.dalesbus.org for further details. Unfortunately the daily X59 which once ran from Harrogate to Skipton was a victim of the cutbacks.

Facilities: The Washburn Heritage centre next to Fewston Church is accessed by a path from the reservoir and serves light refreshments on Sundays and some other days throughout the summer. The Hopper Lane Hotel is situated 1/4 mile from Blubberhouses carpark on the A59 and the Sun Inn at Norwood is approximately 1/2 mile from Fewston and Stack Point carpark.

Walk 1 -Dob Park to Timble - 7.5 miles -Start at Dob Park (off the Otley -Blubberhouses Road) -walk down road for 200m and turn left into driveway. After 100m cross stile in wall (which takes path around farm house) and rejoin main track immediately beyond farm. Green road becomes open field. Cross field and two stiles. Descend to farm and ascend hill on other side of stream. Pass through farm (between farm and barn) and more stiles. 

Upon reaching Washburn Farm path goes into farmyard (very muddy)emerging at main entrance gate. Immediately do U turn and enter adjacent farm gate, turn left crossing stream and follow track between farm house and outbuildings. Path descends hill and through gap in stone wall. Proceed with wall on right corner of field. Cross stile and descend to footbridge. On far side climb hill eventually meeting closed track to Timble.

From Timble village retrace steps  but keep to left hand track (there are a choice of three) crossing fields and through wood to rear of Swinsty Hall. Follow reservoir track, cross dam and immediately turn right to follow Washburn for approx. 2 miles (either side) until Dob Park Bridge (Pack Horse) reached. Turn right and follow part metalled roadway to top of hill 3/4 mile and start point   Back to contents

Walk 2 - Timble- Lippersley Pike- West End - Washburn Valley- 11.5m - A varied walk for when the routes to the Dales are normally crowded! Some map reading and navigation essential! Start on farm track to Old Sourby farm near Timble. (From Otley turn left  opposite signpost for Timble and Timble Inn- about 400m along the farm track there is a parking area on left).

Proceed along track passing through forest gate. (An alternative forks left at this point) The track eventually emerges at the forest edge. Bear left slightly alongside a wall and then cross stile onto the moor. Proceed along well defined path to Lippersley Pike. From hill top turn slightly left and descend downhill through boggy area , uphill slightly until stile reached. (Note old milepost Ilkley 3miles Ripon 12miles)

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  • Old mile post on Lippersley Pike

Cross stile and continue with wall on right slightly uphill for 3/4 mile until junction in walls reached and panorama opens up on other side of hill.  (NB good views of Beamsley Beacon and up Wharfe Valley) Bear right and immediately pass through gate in wall to follow track down hill. There are two tracks at this point one a footpath (the official right of way) and the other a  landrover track. The latter gives a quicker descent to the main Skipton Harrogate Road.

At main road bear left for short while and then right on to former main road. After 50m look for metal gate before road bridge over stream recently signposted. Pass through gate and keep slightly up-hill to stile in corner (200m)(Do not follow stream at this point). Cross stile and proceed with wall to left. Path eventuallycrosses stream and emerges at disused farm building. Pass to the right of the farm through two metal gates and proceed up long narrow field with stream on left. (There is probably an error on the footpath shown on the map at this point) At top of field bear right and then pass  through gap in broken down wall. Turn immediately right and proceed with  fence/wall on right hand side.

After 150m gate reached with waymarker on. Pass through gate into large field. The map shows the path going diagonally across field but is is hard going. I strongly suggest keeping to left hand side of field  for 300m until depression reached and then turn right across field into small valley and with boggy area on left. At wall turn left to cross boggy area and up to corner of field where there is a stile. Cross stile and proceeed across field towards fence and through gate. Follow edge of field and then track for 1/4 mile until farmhouse reached. Continue on track through two fields until minor road reached.

Turn right down minor road. after 300m turn left at sign post. Cross several fields with broken down walls. After section track with wall on right look for obvious stile. Cross field diagonally and at the other side the path becomes an enclosed track down to dwelling. Pass through gate and stile and then enclosed path down to minor road. Cross minor road (look for Water Authority footpath sign) and descend steeply down hill, cross track, stile and footbridge over  River Washburn. After footbridge turn right and follow riverside path through woods to Blubberhouses.

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  • River Washburn - in Spring Bluebells are everywhere

Cross main road, through car-park and look for Footpath to Timble sign. Cross through several fields and stiles (about 11) (use map to negotiate) until ruined building and footbridge reached after 3/4 mile. (NB there is an easier way- follow water authority path around reservoir until inlet reached- there is a gate - cross two fields to reach footbridge - much easier!)

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  • Fewston Reservoir

Cross stream and through woods emerging at 'cross roads' in clearing. Carry straight on (path may not be very distinct to start with) through more woodland until minor road reached. Cross road and through gate marked footpath to Timble. Cross field and look for stile opposite. Cross stile and continue with wall on right through two fields and finally some trees emerging at Timble.

The opening times at the Timble Inn seem to be somewhat variable these days. the pub is worth a visit. Something of a backwater and an impressive example of 1950's  Formica and linoleum decor- nothing much changes!

Turn right and follow road  for 1/2 mile back to Timble cross roads and car.

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Walk 3- Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs - 5 miles- A family walk using water authority paths - nearly all on the level!  Park at Stack Point car park (turn off near Norwood on Otley-Patley road) From car park turn right along Swinsty Reservoir. Path emerges at Fewston Dam. Turn right along road for 50m and up steps turning immediately left at top. Follow path alongside reservoir to main A59 at Blubberhouses. Cross River Washburn at road bridge and continue along opposite bank.

Note : an interesting variation here is to turn right at footbridge  and follow stream (about half way along Fewston Reservoir) up through woods to meet Timble path (refer to map) Continue up to Timble Inn and return to Swinsty Reservoir using path across fields emerging near Swinsty Hall. This will add approx. 1.5 miles

If keeping to main path merely continue along Fewston Reservoir side, up through woods to cross road and join track. Continue around  Swinsty Reservoir  across dam and return to Stack Point Back to contents

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  • Fewston Reservoir / Rose Bay Willowherb near Fewston Reservoir


Walk 4 - Blubberhouses to Thruscross Reservoir 8 miles- Start at Blubberhouses carpark at side of A59 main road - Cross road and follow footpath through woods alongside Washburn to Thruscross Dam (2 miles). Climb up path to left hand side of dam through carpark. Follow water authority path (to left hand side of wood). This passes former West End village and some of the mill buildings are still visible. In drought conditions the foundations of the church are visible.

Thruscross Dam 2 Jan 00.jpg (28835 bytes)

  • Thruscross Dam / The surfaced path / Ruined house above reservoir

The path eventually emerges at road. Turn sharp back along water edge (the water authority should have fully developed this path by now) and through wooded area until end of reservoir reached and bridge. Climb up hill to rocks. Bear right, Well signposted path takes a straight line across moor eventually taking a sharp right down to waters edge. At former sailing club (now derelict) bear left up track to meet road. Follow raod to dam. Cross dam and turn left to rejoin path back to Blubberhouses alongside Washburn.

Note a useful family alternative would be to start at the Thruscross carpark near dam - this would be approx 4 miles long


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Walk 5  Swinsty -Beaver Dyke - Little Almscliffe Circular -10 miles  - Start at Stack Point Car Park on Swinsty Reservoir. Cross embankment and turn left. After 150m the path veers right and then left to emerge at the main road near the Sun Inn. Cross road to pick up path on other side (near pub) -path passes barns an drops down to low lying fields crossing several stiles. Pass below Bank End Farm. Path then follows left had side of small valley (Bank Slack) and two wooded sections before emerging at Beaver Dyke Reservoirs. Follow well defined path through trees on left bank until reaching Liberty Farm.

Turn Right along minor road. This soon becomes private water authority road passing Scargill reservoir and continuing up to minor road near Little Almscliffe. Turn right along minor road. 100m after bend in road turn left to footpath (Little Almscliffe). Follow path from rocks through woodland to reach Hunter's Stone. At wall turn left and then right across small field. At other side of field turn left towards Prospect House Farm but before farm turn right across two fields to reach minor road. Turn left along lane for 50m and then right dropping down past Wood top Farm.

Cross several fields to reach Lindley Wood Reservoir. Turn right along wooded path to reach main road. Turn left to cross road bridge and then right. Follow well defined riverside path via Dob park Bridge to Swinsty Reservoir Dam and then onto Stack Point car park

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Important note:- Whilst the author has taken every care in assembling the information on this site, no responsibility can be accepted for any error or omission herein. If in any doubt walkers should consult the relevant OS map.


http://www.yorkshirewater.co.uk An excellent site with recreation section covering the water authority sites in Nidderdale and the Washburn

www.dalesbus.org public transport

This page was last updated on 03-Jan-2015

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©John Carey 2009