It’s been a very, very wet Christmas season here in Yorkshire and elsewhere in the north of England. But while the local A65 road into Leeds was flooded on Sunday I took off to local reservoirs where it seemed like the world and his wife was exercising its dog. Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs lie just south of Thruscross Reservoir where I was walking recently. As at Thruscross Yorkshire Water have opened permissive paths around the reservoirs and it’s possible to the complete circuit, or a figure-of-8, around both. Although it’s an area I frequent quite often (3 times in the last couple of months) I don’t appear to have written about it yet.
Swinsty Reservoir from the Dam
We managed to park near Fewston church and walked anti-clockwise around Swinsty Reservoir on reasonable tracks and roadside.
The Washburn Valley Heritage Centre is attached to the Grade 2* listed church of St Michael and St Lawrence, Fewston and, following a successful Heritage Lottery Fund application, was opened in 2011. I can’t quite believe that it has taken me so long to visit; maybe because opening hours are limited to weekends and Bank Holidays.
Washburn Valley Map seen through the Tea Room door
Washburn Valley north of Leeds
Leeds Corporation Late 19th Century Waterworks Map
Inside the Centre is a modern tea room where friendly volunteers serve teas and home-baked cakes and, on most days when they open, lunches too. On the back wall there’s a changing exhibition of photographs, paintings and other media on the Washburn Valley theme. And, next door, at the back of the church itself and accessible directly from the tea room, is a small exhibition on the history and nature of the Valley, its buildings, personalities and locations.
The Heritage Display Source
Read about Thruscross
The perfect post-Christmas expedition