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Thruscross reservoir dam seen from the car park
Thruscross reservoir dam seen from the car park

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Route No. 458 - Thursday 8 February 2012
Thruscross Dam, River Washburn, Kex Gill Moor, Spittle Ings House, Thruscross res. circuit - 11km
Washburn Valley, Lower Wharfedale . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley


Thruscross reservoir seen from the car park
Thruscross reservoir seen from the car park

Path from the car park into the Washburn Valley
Path from the car park into the Washburn Valley

Climbing up the valley side through the woods
Climbing up the valley side through the woods

After about 600m we came to a junction with a track coming up from the riverside to join our track. Opposite the junction is a stone step stile up the wall and on to a path up the steep wooded hillside for about 100m to a stile out of the wood and into a field. The path continues to climb up the field to another stile at the top onto the road from Blubberhouses at map ref. SE155569.

Today Jim and I drove out to the public car park at map ref. SE154573, by the dam of Thruscross Reservoir in the upper part of the Washburn Valley about 3km from Blubberhouses on the A59. From the north eastern corner of the car park we set off down the path into the valley bottom below the dam. We followed the path and then an access road with the River Washburn below us to the left and a steep wooded band above us to the right.

The dam & spillways at Thruscross reservoir
The dam & spillways at Thruscross reservoir

Crossing the stile off the access road along the valley
Crossing the stile off the access road along the valley

Stile on to the road near Redshaw Hall
Stile on to the road near Redshaw Hall

Path off the road down the side of Renshaw Hall
Path off the road down the side of Redshaw Hall

Part of Brandrith Crags
Part of Brandrith Crags

Path west from Redshaw Hall to the road
Path west from Redshaw Hall to the road

These rocks are the Brandrith Crags and the Rocking Stone, a popular venue with rock climbers and in the distant past are supposed to have been the site of Druidical ceremonies on the indented flat top of the crag.

We crossed the road and took the path opposite down the side of Redshaw Hall and beyond the hall climbing up for almost 1km to the road at map ref. SE143566. As we followed the path up the hillside, to our left across the valley of Redshaw Gill are some large rocky outcrops.

Heading west from Redshaw Hall
Heading west from Redshaw Hall

Path west from Redshaw Hall to the road
Path west from Redshaw Hall to the road

Gate onto the road at map ref. SE142566
Gate onto the road at map ref. SE142566

Looking down the Washburn Valley from the path above Redshaw Hall
Looking down the Washburn Valley from the path above Redshaw Hall

Turning off the road next to Redshaw Gill
Turning off the road next to Redshaw Gill

A dead fieldfare by the stile
A dead fieldfare by the stile

Two plank bridge across a tiny watercourse
Two plank bridge across a tiny watercourse

Following a feint path across Kex Gill Moor
Following a feint path across Kex Gill Moor

However I could not find a path on this line. Instead there is a feint path that veers out to the left heading roughly due south for about 500m and then turns right to head for the stile at map ref. SE132554 on to a tarmac track. Along the way the ground is quite boggy and the path crosses a small watercourse on a plank bridge made from two railway sleepers. The moor is managed for grouse rearing and there are grit and feeding stations dotted over the moor marked by a large sod of earth turned over by an excavator and topped with a small white pole with a red top.

At the road we turned left and walked along the road for about 200m to a sharp left hand bend. Here, on the right hand side of the road, we took the footpath off the road heading roughly southwest up a wooded bank and over a stile onto the open moor. From the stile there is a feint path out to the corner of a line of fence posts to the right about 200m away. From this fence corner the footpath shown on the map veers in an arc to the right to climb up Kex Gill Moor to a stile on to a track at map ref. SE133554.

Path up the wooded bank from the road
Path up the wooded bank from the road

Looking back to the road from the stile onto the open moor
Looking back to the road from the stile onto the open moor

Beginning the climb up Kex Gill Moor
Beginning the climb up Kex Gill Moor

The feint path across Kex Gill Moor
The feint path across Kex Gill Moor

Stile on to a tarmac track at map ref. SE132554
Stile on to a tarmac track at map ref. SE132554

Heading for Kexgill Farm along their access road
Heading for Kexgill Farm along their access road

Pedestrian gate into the field opposite Kexgill Farm
Pedestrian gate into the field opposite Kexgill Farm

As we approached the farm there is a pedestrian gate on the left into a field and we followed a wall down to a stone barn at map ref. SE120551.

Over the stile at the top of the moor we turned right to walk along the track to the A59 and the access road to Kexgill Farm.

Track to the barn by Kex Beck
Track to the barn by Kex Beck

The barn by Kex Beck
The barn by Kex Beck

An old hay rake parked by the wall at the barn
An old hay rake parked by the wall at the barn

Here we went through the gate and followed the fence line to our right to another gate. From this gate there was a clear path through the course dry grass heading northeast. We followed this path for about 300m to the edge of a marshy little depression. We crossed this area to the corner of the walled field and a stone step stile right in the corner. We crossed the stile and followed the path and then a track across the fields for about 2km to Spittle Ings House. As we came to this farm the post office van had just arrived with the days mail and we walked through the gate by the farm house and followed the access track for about 800m to the road at map ref. SE145569.

At the barn we turned right to walk through a muddy area and pass through a couple of gates to leave the barn behind and climb up a narrow field of rough wet sheep grazing land. We found a spot here in the shelter of a wall for our lunch. Leaning back against the wall it was interesting to watch the sky with three distinct layers of cloud each moving quite quickly but in different directions and it was hard to appreciate the physical processes going on to produce such an effect. After our lunch stop we continued up the hillside through the rough marshy grass keeping to the wall and then a fence on our left until we came to a gate at map ref. SE121555.

Leaving the barn to follow Kex Beck upstream
Leaving the barn to follow Kex Beck upstream

The track across the fields to Spittle Ings House farm
The track across the fields to Spittle Ings House farm

Track from Spittle Ings House farm to the road at map ref. SE145569 near Burnt House
Track from Spittle Ings House farm to the road at map ref. SE145569 near Burnt House

Leaving the road for the path to the Outdoor Centre
Leaving the road for the path to the Outdoor Centre

An old stone barn by the path
An old stone barn by the path

Stile opposite our turning to the reservoir
Stile opposite our turning to the reservoir

The final 250m of this route is a permissive path down the side of the outdoor centre. At the road we turned left to walk along the road for about 300m to a track on the right.

At the road we turned left and then after about 30m we turned left again off the road to follow a path across the fields to the road by the outdoor centre at map ref. SE145575.

Path across the fields to the Outdoor Centre
Path across the fields to the Outdoor Centre

The outdoor centre on the roadside
The outdoor centre on the roadside

Turning off the road for the reservoir path
Turning off the road for the reservoir path

The permissive path around Thruscross reservoir
The permissive path around Thruscross reservoir

The track from the road down to the reservoir
The track from the road down to the reservoir

Footbridge on the permissive path round the reservoir
Footbridge on the permissive path round the reservoir

This brought us back to the road at the dam, and the car park at the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 11km and it had taken us over four hours to walk including our lunch stop.

We turned right off the road and followed the track down to the edge of Thruscross Reservoir. We followed the path in the woodland, around the edge of the reservoir for about 800m.

Thruscross reservoir
Thruscross reservoir

The permissive path around Thruscross reservoir
The permissive path around Thruscross reservoir

The car park by the Thruscross reservoir dam
The car park by the Thruscross reservoir dam