Fewston Reservoir is an incredibly scenic reservoir in Yorkshire. By doing the Fewston Reservoir Walk, you’ll get to explore the beauty of this reservoir and its gorgeous natural surroundings. Whilst, it’s also possible to combine walking around both Fewston Reservoir and the nearby Swinsty Reservoir (guide coming soon) (AKA the Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk).
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting this reservoir. Specifically, we’ll talk about both the Fewston Reservoir Walk as well as the Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Visit Fewston Reservoir
Fewston Reservoir is a picturesque reservoir that’s surrounded by gorgeous woodlands. The reservoir, which is owned and maintained by Yorkshire Water, is a popular reservoir to visit in Yorkshire. That’s because the reservoir is easy to access with car parks at either end and a trail encircling the body of water.
Indeed, many walkers and runners complete the circular route around the reservoir. Whilst, others will extend their walk or run, completing a circular route around both Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir.
So, exactly where is Fewston Reservoir located?
Location: Where Is Fewston Reservoir?
The reservoir is located in the charming Washburn Valley, which makes up the lower third of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) (guide coming soon). The Nidderdale AONB is part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You’ll find that the reservoir is located in Fewston in Yorkshire, which is north of Otley and west of Harrogate.
Fewston Reservoir postcode (Fewston Car Park): LS21 2NY
How to Walk Around Fewston Reservoir
Let’s talk about the sensational walk that you can do around this reservoir. We’ll start by looking at where to park.
Car Park: Where to Park at Fewston Reservoir
When it comes to car parking, there are actually a few options. Let’s look at all of the parking options below to help you decide where you’d like to park.
As of mid-2023, all of the car parks mentioned below are free. But, unfortunately, there are plans to turn these free car parks into pay and display car parks. There is no confirmed date for this change. Please let us know in the comments if you had to pay for parking at any of these car parks.
Fewston Car Park
Also known as the Blubberhouses Car Park, the Fewston Car Park is located at the northern end of Fewston Reservoir. Certainly, this is a convenient place to park as it’s located right next to the A59 at Blubberhouses. Although, this is by far the smallest car park with only around 20 spaces. So, if you want to use this car park, we recommend arriving early or late.
Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park
Also known as the Swinsty Moor and Fewston Reservoir Car Park and Swinsty Moor Car Park, the Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park is located between Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs. It’s a large car park with a toilet block. Certainly, this is a popular place to park to visit either of the reservoirs. At this car park, you’ll find a Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Farm van during peak times.
Swinsty Reservoir Car Park
If you plan on doing the Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk, you may want to park at the Swinsty Reservoir Car Park. It’s another large car park and a popular place to park. You’ll also find the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Farm van at this car park during peak times. Personally, Beck and I parked here during our visit with both of our respective twin siblings.
Route Details: Fewston Reservoir Walk
Let’s look at some trail specs for the Fewston Reservoir Walk. This will be your walk of choice if you only want to walk around this reservoir. Otherwise, if you want to do a longer walk involving this reservoir, you’ll want to do the Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk (click here for more information about this double reservoir walk).
- Type: Circular
- Distance: 6.6km (4.1 miles)
- Time: 2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 165m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Fewston Car Park or Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park
Fewston Reservoir Walk Map (GPX)
Here’s a map of the Fewston Reservoir Walk. To be honest, trail navigation for this walk is very straightforward and self-explanatory. You’ll simply walk around the reservoir! So, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to rely too heavily upon a map. But just in case, you can download the GPX of the trail from this AllTrails map.
Fewston Reservoir Walk: Trail Description
Below, we’ll briefly talk about this entertaining circular walk. Here, our intention isn’t to describe the walk in a step-by-step fashion. After all, it’s a fairly easy walk that simply circles a reservoir! Rather, our aim here is to provide a snappy overview with some photos to inspire you to follow in our footsteps.
Walking Around Fewston Reservoir
Whether you start from Fewston Car Park or Swinsty and Fewston Car Park, you can do the walk in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.
Personally, Beck, Rachel (my sister-in-law), Lauren (my twin sister) and I did the Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk in a clockwise direction. By doing so, essentially, we reached the Swinsty and Fewston Car Park via the Swinsty Path, which circles around Swinsty Reservoir. From this car park, we walked around Fewston Reservoir along the Fewston Path in a clockwise direction.
Near the car park, you’ll almost immediately see the overflow, where water cascades down from Fewston to Swinsty Reservoir. This is certainly one of the prettiest attractions en route. After watching the cascading water at the overflow, you’ll follow the Fewston Path. It’s a wide and well-maintained path, winding through sublime woodlands. Eventually, you’ll reach Blubberhouses.
Blubberhouses is a small village and civil parish located at the northern end of the reservoir. One of the main attractions in Blubberhouses is St. Andrews Church. But, by following the official route, you won’t actually see the church. Of course, feel free to make a detour if you’d like to visit the church. Otherwise, you’ll only briefly pass through Blubberhouses as you begin to circle around the reservoir.
After passing through more superb woodlands, the trail soon meets the road which crosses between both Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs. To finish this single reservoir walk, you’ll simply follow this road, passing by the overflow to reach the Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park.
Route Details: Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk
A popular option is to walk around both reservoirs during a visit. As mentioned, this is what Beck and I (and our twin siblings) did during our visit. Let’s look at the trail specs for the double reservoir walk below.
- Type: Circular
- Distance: 10.6km (6.6 miles)
- Time: 3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 295m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Fewston Car Park, Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park or Swinsty Reservoir Car Park
Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk Map (GPX)
Here’s a map of this double reservoir walk. Again, trail navigation for this walk is fairly simple and self-explanatory. You’ll just walk around both reservoirs! In any case, you can download the GPX of the trail from this AllTrails map.
Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir Walk: Trail Description
Below, we’ll briefly tell you about this circular double reservoir walk. Again, we’re not going to exhaustively detail the walk step-by-step. Rather, we’ll provide an overview with some photos to motivate you to do the longer double reservoir route!
Walking Around Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs
Starting at the Swinsty Reservoir Car Park, we chose to walk around the reservoirs in a clockwise direction. But, as mentioned previously, you can do the double reservoir walk in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. It really doesn’t matter!
After departing the Swinsty Reservoir Car Park, we joined the Swinsty Path and immediately enjoyed stellar views of Swinsty Reservoir. Soon, you’ll arrive at the dam at the southern end of Swinsty Reservoir. This is where I decided to fly the drone to capture some far-reaching views of both reservoirs.
After crossing the dam, we soon passed Swinsty Hall – an Elizabethan house hidden in the woods. Once we passed Swinsty Hall, the path then veers further away from Swinsty Reservoir but still runs fairly parallel to it. Eventually, you’ll reach the Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park, where you can use the toilet facilities.
Thereafter, you’ll walk around Fewston Reservoir before eventually re-joining the Swinsty Path to complete the double reservoir walk. Of course, you’ll have to finish with an ice cream at the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Farm van!
How to Get to Fewston Reservoir (Directions)
The easiest and quickest way to get to the reservoir is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using DiscoverCars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Discover Cars for very reasonable prices. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy. Have a look at car hire from Manchester.
Although it’s possible to get to the reservoir using public transport, we don’t recommend it. Depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you’ll likely have a slow and tedious journey to get there. Additionally, buses to Blubberhoues are very limited. So, public transport is an unideal option.
But, if public transport is your only option, check out the Dales Bus timetable here. Currently, it’s the number 59 bus travelling between Harrogate and Skipton, which stops at Blubberhouses.
Other Reservoir Walks in the Yorkshire Dales
If you want to do other awesome reservoir walks, then you’ll have to see more of the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales National Park. Below, we’ve listed some of the other best reservoir walks to do in Yorkshire Dales and the Nidderdale AONB.
- Grimwith Reservoir Walk: this is an excellent circular walk and definitely one of the best reservoir walks in the Dales.
- Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: by climbing Embsay Crag, you’ll pass by Embsay Reservoir, before enjoying stellar views of the reservoir.
- Gouthwaite Reservoir: this is a lesser-known reservoir walk in the Nidderdale AONB. We don’t recommend this walk as it involves a fair amount of road walking.
- Scar House and Angram Reservoir Walk: this remote double reservoir walk is a great option if you really want to get off the beaten track in the Nidderdale AONB.
What to Wear and Take
These are our hiking gear essentials for the Fewston Reservoir Walk.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these boots are lightweight and very comfortable.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the Fewston Reservoir Walk.
Can You Walk All the Way Around Fewston Reservoir?
Yes, it’s possible.
How Long Is the Walk Around Fewston Reservoir?
The Fewston Reservoir walk distance is approx. 6.6km (4.1 miles), taking between 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete.
How Much Is it to Park at Fewston Reservoir?
Can You Swim in Fewston Reservoir?
No, swimming isn’t allowed at this reservoir. This is for safety and environmental reasons.
Can You Cyle Around Fewston Reservoir?
Cycling and also horse riding have their own permitted tracks in the woodlands surrounding the reservoirs.
Is Fewston Reservoir Open?
Yes, the reservoir is usually always open.
Is Fewston Reservoir Pram Friendly?
Yes, the trails around the reservoirs are pram friendly.
Is Fewston Reservoir Dog Friendly?
Yes, you can bring pooch on a walk around this reservoir.
How Deep Is Fewston Reservoir?
The average depth of the reservoir is around 6 metres, whilst one of the deepest points is around 18 metres.
Other Helpful Information: Bonus Tips
- Fewston Reservoir fishing: one of the most popular things to do at the reservoir is to fish. Click here for more information about fishing at the reservoir.
- Where to eat and drink nearby: make sure to pop into the Fewston Farm Shop and Cafe (AKA the Fewston Reservoir Cafe) after the walk. Otherwise, head to The Sun Inn for a pint and pub feed.
- Events: for a unique experience, you can partake in events at the reservoir such as the Moonlit Meander or the Trail Run organised by It’s Grim Up North Running.
Please leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.