Fewston and Swinsty are two Yorkshire Water reservoirs which offer popular day walks for the local population. It is a tranquil place, the paths are good and the bird life excellent.
I have driven past these two beautiful reservoirs hundreds of times. Each time I vowed to walk round them. However I never pulled over from the A59 until one lovely summer’s day. Myself and Mist found that we had a couple of free hours to explore. Starting at the west end of Fewston Reservoir I enjoyed it so much I was tempted to continue beyond Swinsty Dam. As a result this added an extra half hour on to the round trip, the extra was probably not necessary.
The walking is straightforward on an excellent track. Clearly it is impossible to go wrong, the paths never leave the waterside by more than a few metres at any stage. The bird life is wonderful. Canadian geese, mallards and coots are the most obvious residents along with some swans. However look carefully in to the trees as well as the water for some more unusual inhabitants. The walk is shared with fly fishermen (the reservoirs are apparently well stocked with brown trout, courtesy of Yorkshire Water). However it was the constant close proximity to the water that I enjoyed most, unusual to be so close for so long.
Another excellent reservoir to explore for wetland birds is nearby Thruscross Reservoir.
Leave yourself plenty of time to complete the full circuit of both reservoirs.
If you are following a map (paper or on line) around Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs you will notice a number of orange dashed paths as opposed to the normal green. These orange ones are in place by permission of Yorkshire Water (permissive paths). They are different to the more traditional green dashed paths which are open by law whatever the landowner would like to do.
Much of the pathway around Fewston is fine for wheelchairs, buggies, etc. BUT such users will not be able to walk all around the reservoir and would need to re-trace their route back to the carpark.
Is it possible to cycle (responsibly) around the resovoirs?
Awkward but possible
A good walk for able-bodied. Please note that the path around Swinsty is sutiable for wheelchair and pushchair users – although for a manual wheelchair user you will need a strong person pushing you. Due to the terrain around Fewston that is not suitable for wheelchairs.
Thank you for all this wonderful info! I was looking at the mileage for both and you have provided this thanks! These two reservoirs are so lovely gentle walking of up and down, safe and so many birds and butterflies! And I agree to be close to water is amazing! Both paths are well maintained.
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