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The Best Autumn Walk in Harrogate

By Victoria Turner– 25th September 2020

Just a 20-minute drive west from Harrogate, is the Yorkshire Water reservoirs, Swinsty and Fewston. If, like me, autumn walks are your thing then you’ll love wrapping up warm and getting out in the fresh crisp air. From early morning mist on the water to the trees ablaze with brilliant yellows, burnt oranges and subtle reds.

Fewston takes a little longer being four miles long but Swinsty is a three-mile loop through beautiful woodland and impressive views over two dams. For a detailed map click here.

Is Swinsty Reservoir accessible to all?

Swinsty is totally accessible for all. The path is sturdy and wide enough for wheelchairs, bikes, and pushchairs all at once! Fewston isn’t as accessible, but any bike will be able to concur the terrain. For the power walkers among us Swinsty is achievable in 50 minutes… however, if you have little legs or want a relaxing stroll the average time is 1 hour 20 minutes.

There are two car parks, I’d recommend the bigger car park to the north as it offers great facilities including a toilet and an ever so handy boot and bike wash plus there is often a Yorkshire Dales ice cream van. We like to walk anti-clockwise around the reservoir as it takes in the best views, passing the old Swinsty Hall and before running alongside the reservoir.

A quiet stop off around Swinsty Reservoir

If like me, you love a cake and a coffee on your walk then you’ll need to make a much-needed fuel stop at the Washburn Heritage Centre on the East side of the reservoir. The café run by volunteers offers scrumptious homemade cakes and bakes with a proper Yorkshire cuppa. It’s well worth a detour off the main footpath.

Amazing wildlife at Swinsty Reservoir

For those who love to see amazing wildlife then look no further. From cormorants and heron to squirrels and even deer. You could spend a who day here as there’s plenty of picnic spots including purpose build picnic benches, but please don’t forget to take home your rubbish.

One word of warning, bank holidays or super sunny days are busy times at both Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs, with people traveling from miles around, so be prepared to hunt for parking spaces.

For more information visit Yorkshire Water’s website here.


Victoria x


This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by our writer and the venue had no idea that I was there. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

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