WASHBURN VALLEY, from FEWSTON RESERVOIR west car park, Blubberhouses.

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

(This route was contributed by Phil Dance from Leeds - thanks for this one Phil!)

Start west side of Fewston Reservoir, Yorkshire Water car park free. Length: 10 m. 16km. 4.5 hours. Map: OS Explorer 297 (walked 6 Dec 06)
There are 3 small fords, marsh and bog on the moors; leather boots and gaiters recommended in winter and wet conditions.

Walk west from the car park (A59) and turn left uphill on Shepherd Hill past the Church, on the minor road. Take the lane past Manor House on the right - a RUPP (roads used as public paths) which becomes a restricted byway. Pass through gates on to the moor with a traffic regulation order notice. A rough track (not on map) leads SW and joins the Roman Road (Manchester to Ilkley and Aldborough, Watling Street), reasonably defined and headingWSW. Keep the coniferous mass of Timble Wood to the south in view as a marker. Just past the edge of the wood the R Road twists through boggy Sun Bank Gill. Continue a little further along the R Road and the main track parts company in a SW direction. Gawk Hall Gate (yes, actually a gate which you go through) and Ridge can be seen clearly on the skyline: a wall with a ladder stile over and an ancient Ilkley - Ripon milestone a few yards to the west.

Continue south of the wall on a boggy path to the stile at Little Gate, you are passing boundary stones marked MM (Middleton Moor) and 1734, carry on against the south of the wall and turn (N) right, through a small gate on to a shooting track which snakes gently (N) down the moor, across a concrete ford to Pace Gate and the thundering A59. Cross with speed and care (N) on to the minor road and after a couple of minutes take the footpath (fingerpost) off to the right (NE). Uphill, cross through a gate and travel along the SE of the wall and down through an old farm, N along Old Intake Beck and into open moorland. There is a well trodden path NE for a halfmile, down through Willow Bog and back into pasture by walking NE into the wall corner and finding a stone step stile.

Tread the pudgy sheep pasture in a NE direction and past Spittle Ings House you are a halfmile (E) to the minor motor road. Turn right (SW) for a quartermile and find a marked path off to the left (before the cattle grid). Soon veer to the left (E) for another good quartermile on this green farm track until there is a direction change and a gate and stile on the right. Go over and walk across the small rectangular field (E) where you pick up a rough farm lane, between walls, to the right. Admire the poultry assortment in ponds and around arks to the right before following way marks across walls and by stream to meet the minor motor road. Take a left turn for a few paces and a fingerpost directs you over the wall on steep stone steps along a wavering path downhill and SE. Cross a SSE path, going slightly backwards and finding a hidden path on your right. This goes straight down to the footbridge over the Washburn. Thruscross Reservoir Dam towers over you, upriver.

A public path follows the east bank of the Washburn downriver, wends away to the left on high ground. Take the lower permissive path along the riverside for a further mile and the noise of the A59 announces the walk end….just continue up a set of steps to the roadside and dodge the traffic back in to the car park.