More of a daily dawdle than a weekly walk, Beaver Dyke reservoir is one of my dog’s favourites.
More of a daily dawdle than a weekly walk, Beaver Dyke reservoir is one of my old dog’s favourites.
A gentle ramble with soft ground which is sometimes wet underfoot but fairly even.
It has a well marked path and this walk has maximum impact for minimum effort: lovely views, tranquillity, a bench on one side and castle ruins on the other.
From the Yorkshire Water lay-by a permissive footpath leads gently down a sloping track between two dry stone walls.
The gorse is thick here and the vegetation and stone walls provide food and shelter for a number of small birds.
The huge and lush fields on either side of the enclosed path are home to a productive dairy herd and sometimes you can hear the farmer calling them in. When they hear him his cows stop what they are doing and wander ponderously towards the farm, presumably for milking and feeding.
The obvious path turns slightly left and runs beside a small stream which crosses the path. At this point it can be pretty muddy so boots and care are needed.
Very soon, beside a tree and a fence post (on which there is a not very visible footpath sign) turn left and cross the damp turf on a path which runs parallel to the water side.
Here you can see, on the far side of the reservoir, the ruins of John O’ Gaunt’s castle (the younger brother of The Black Prince and father of Henry IV).
It is a well chosen spot and, as well as being safely surrounded by water, must command impressive views.
At this point you reach a wooden bench in the middle of a grassy sward running down to the reservoir.
It is a good place to sit and contemplate and taking a pair of field glasses with you can be rewarding; there is often a good selection of birds on the water.
Follow the path which contours the edge of the water but at a higher level, through a stiff metal field gate and over a stony stream.
Here the path descends gently through some fallen oaks to reach the dam. There are warning signs here for blue algae so don’t let your dog swim, however persuasive it is.
As you cross the dam there are excellent views in both directions; to your right is the reservoir and to your left the basin where formerly a river ran and which now takes the run off from the reservoir east towards Harrogate and probably eventually in to Oak Beck.
On the far side of the dam the path continues through an old metal gate and climbs gently uphill under a shady track overhung with hawthorns and flanked by a dry stone walls full of rabbits.
At the crest of the hill you find a barn being converted and behind it the ruins of John O’Gaunt’s hunting lodge are visible through the metal gate.
This is private land and you must be content with what you see from the gate, which is plenty of ruins and an idea of the tremendous view which was probably the reason for the choice of the site.
The path goes down through a bit of damp ground which is muddy in places. There is a footpath off to the left but don’t take this.
Continue until you reach a stile and follow the path between two wooden fences to another stile.
Both stiles have adjacent fencing which allows a small dog through.
Up the hill you join the path where it turned off beside the tree and the way marked post, and continue back the way you came to the lay-by.
Not a strenuous or demanding walk but just the right length for after lunch at the week end or after tea in the week.