While summer will never stop being my favourite season, you can’t beat the colour show that nature puts on in autumn.
It was a pretty spectacular sight on a recent walk around Swinsty Reservoir in North Yorkshire. Even on a slightly grey November day you could see every shade of brown, yellow, orange, gold and green.
Swinsty Reservoir is owned by Yorkshire Water, who look after 72,000 acres of countryside in the region. They’re keen for people to use and explore it, so they invited me to review one of their walks.
There are plenty of ideas for days out on Yorkshire Water’s website – cycling, fishing, sailing and horse-riding, as well as walking. There are maps of routes free to download, with helpful difficulty ratings.
It’s a 3-mile walk around Swinsty Reservoir in the stunning Washburn Valley between Harrogate and Skipton. It uses minor roads and tracks as well as a good, wide path so is accessible for people with prams or in wheelchairs.
Swinsty Reservoir is adjacent to Fewston Reservoir which is also a lovely walk of about 5 miles. You could do both if you were feeling particularly energetic!
The two reservoirs are served by a good-sized car park (on the A59 between Harrogate and Skipton; nearest postcode LS21 2NP) with toilets, information and picnic benches.
We’ve only walked here mid-week when it’s been easy to park and there have been a handful of other walkers – enough for a few friendly greetings but still very peaceful. I imagine it gets busier at weekends.
A few steps out of the car park brings you to the start of the walk and the embankment provides good views of both reservoirs. Once you’ve crossed the embankment it’s easy to find the footpaths circling each reservoir.
There are also benches as you walk round the reservoir, many remembering loved ones. I love to read things like that and think about what the people they’re in memory of might have been like. Of course, we loved the one that said ‘Thank You Sam’, because we thank our boy every day for coming into our lives :)
The walk is graded as easy which is fair I think; it’s nice and flat and the paths are good. But it’s still a decent challenge and it certainly blew off the cobwebs – we did the walk the morning after a large meal and several glasses of wine celebrating my husband’s birthday!
Another beauty of walks like this is you don’t really have to worry about bringing a map or getting lost or how you’re going to cross that field of bulls. It’s a very straightforward, relaxing walk but no less beautiful than more complicated alternatives.