6) Swinsty & Fewston Reservoir Route, Off North Lane, Otley, (located not far from Harrogate and Otley). LS21 2NP.
The route I do is from the Yorkshire Water’s car park located off North Lane. My route first goes around Fewston Reservoir then adds Swinsty Reservoir too. A total distance of 6.64 mile. You can do either reservoir from the same starting point – but I like to do both – easy if you have a Batec, similar or powerchair. It would be quite a distance on a manual propelling wheelchair with a few strength tests on the hills.
The paths are mostly quite wide, no steps, styles or adverse cambers, also no gates.
I go clock wise around Fewston first then add Swinsty, there are a few hilly bits that are quite short , a little steep and on loose terrain – even with the Batec ( if you don’t know what a Batec is – google Batec Electric Wheelchair Attachment) there are a few places where I need a little shove.
The trails are on compacted dirt – compacted gravel, and woodland path. It can get muddy when it’s been raining.
Facilities on site – there is a toilet block and disables look at the car park off North Lane, lots of disabled parking too. During the day you will often find an ice cream van in the car park.
Due to Corona the loos are shut, Yorkshire Water have also placed many (social distance signs) around both reservoirs prompting visitors to distance.
From the car park head straight out and across the often-busy lane- straight into the woodland trail that leads you around Fewston Reservoir. Stay on this path – all the way to the next car park. The route has a few sneaky ups and a couple of slopes down- so assistance may be needed on the ups. Though I suspect Tampers and 4 wheeled mobility scooters will do ok. Triride, Klaxon and Batec users may lose traction on the uphill parts.
When you get to the next car park keep right and follow the ramped path up to the main road path on your right- turn right and follow this for approx 100 m, go through the gap on your right (marked footpath).
Follow this path – a few ups and downs along the route but again not very steep or very long sections. Help may be needed if your arms get tired if manually pushing yourself along.
Stay on the well-marked path – this brings you out at the far end of Fewston Reservoir, here you can turn right and head along the dam road and back to the car park.
If you want to add Swinsty Reservoir then as you come to the road from the woodland path, head straight across the road and through the gap in the wall on the other side. This takes you around Swinsty Reservoir. Turn left and keep on this path. After a few ups and downs you will be near the Swinsty Reservoir car park and picnic seated area. At the end you exit via a gap in the wall onto a road, turn right and follow the road- until you reach another gap on right. Go through this and keep on the path. Eventually you come to a road, turn right and follow this passed a large detached house. After this follow the road across the bottom of Swinsty Reservoir. At the end turn right along a gravel road.
Point of interest on here is Swinsty Hall (belongs to a very famous football manager).
Keep on this path and turn left after Swinsty Hall. Soon you will see a gate on your left (marked private) follow the track to the right at this point – this takes you back to the car park you started from.
Wildlife highlights- all types of geese and fowl, great for Grebes, and waders.
Keep an eye for Red Kites, Deer, and stoats / voles.
The woodland also has lots of different fungi.
Many different small birds, particurly around the car parks and seats located around the route.