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37) Fairburn Ings, RSPB, Newton Lane, Castleford, Wf10 2BH
Distance: Route 1
My route is approx 5.5 miles, however this can easily be extended by another couple of miles - staying in the Fairburn Ings locality. You can also add the river side ( distant ) and do more along the top path from the Coal Pits section - tho I have not tested this section yet.
Distance: Route 2
Sets of from the carpark and visitor centre - but goes further and to the bottom end of the nature reserve - approx 5 miles in total. ! reasonably short steep uphill, a nice steady downhill, then an alternative lower path back to the top of the shared path from route 1 - see pics labeled Route 2 at the bottom of this page.
Mostly wide descent dry dirt path. Small sections on wooden north shore , take care as the edging is not huge and you could if not careful pop a wheel over the edging. That said the paths are wide so you can keep safe by staying away from the edge.
There are a few hills to climb, also on a slight loose surface. I use a Batec and so as my weight is at the back - on my wheelchair. I can get a bit of front wheel spinning, a good run and if needed a little pushed assistance might be needed.
Rear wheel drive scooter shouldn't have any issue on any of the hills.
Manual self propelled wheelchair users will get tired and assistance may be needed. Power wheels and smart drives may have traction problems. Mountain Trikes would be ok but would be quite tired I feel.
No gates and no stiles, no steps. Dogs on lead are allowed.
The bird hides are suitable for wheelchair users, except the Bob Dickens hide as this is down a fairly steep hill. I have never visited the Lin Dike Hide as I stay on the Roy Taylor Trail path.
Facilities on site:
Fairburn Ings is managed by the RSPB, a car parking fee is required for none RSPB members, the cost is £4 per vehicle.
Normally the visitor centre has toilets, disabled toilet, small cafe with vending machines and a retail section. Due to the pandemic the visitor centre and toilets are all closed. There are portable toilets in the car park, there was not a disabled toilet portaloo at the time of my visit.
From the car park head to the western end and start the trail, you go past the visitor centre. Keep to the path, a nice bird feeding station is found just past the visitor centre. From hear follow the path to the right along the discovery trail, a lovely open bird hide with disabled viewing points, from here go right to another bird feeding station. Stay on the path and you will soon reach a pond dipping and viewing area. Great for seeing nesting fowl, dragon and damselfly,. The space by the pond is huge so you don't need to go right to the waters edge. The edging (toe board ) is only a few inch high so stay a few feet away from the edge. From the pond head left and bear right. This takes you to the Kingfisher Screen. Plenty of suitable wheelchair viewing points. You often see Kingfishers here - quite close. Deer, and a huge Heron.
From the Kingfisher Screen head up the hill. Bear right at the top, your now on the Roy Taylor Trail. At the top of the next hill I turn right and do this section anti-cloclwise. This is a lovely circular wander with great vista views of the surrounding lower. When you do a full circle you can either go back up down the hill you came up on or if wanting to be more adventurous take the immediate right footpath to the Lin Dike section, tho I have never been on this part.
I go back down the hill I came up - through the open (no gate ) part then take the good wide path to the right. This takes you through woodland and to the Village Bay open hide. Here I turn around and head back to the Kingfisher Screen - then the car park.
What might you see?
Lots of fowl, Heron, Egrets, Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Gulls, Geese, many different ducks, Spoonbill, Black Necked Grebe, Grebes , ~Cuckoo, Bittern have been seen, Swallow, Swift, SandMartin, also keep en eye skyward for raptors touring the area. Many different butterfly and Moth, as well as different small mammals.
From the visitor centre -follow the path around the front - as route 1 until you get to the Kingfisher Screen, Up the hill -through the large gate and follow the top path - another gravel hill to a signpost. Here you will see a sign for the Roy Taylor Route - follow this up and down the wide up and down a bit path. You eventually reach a Radar key gate - pass through this and then follow a path to your right (after the gate and the bridge you have passed under. This is a lovely path with good views to the right and views of the brook on your left. The path has a few short gravel sections and one rough section, but most is easy. There are a couple of viewing screens along here and an accessible bird hide ( currently closed due to Covid). This path leads eventually to a radar key gate that leads to the road. - I don't go through as the road does NOT have a footpath. The return route is the way you came- back through the first radar gate and under the bridge. Soon you reach a split in the path, left takes you back uo the Roy Taylor route - but I go right here and follow the wide path along the river, at the end you have a little hill to climb - this leads you back to the shared path you came in on. You could then take the right hand path after the boulder - this is covered in Route 1.
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