Eccup & Harewood Mountain Bike Ride
This is a mountain bike from Eccup Reservoir to the Muddy Boots café in Harewood and back.
It starts from Eccup Reservoir and passes close to the Emmerdale set. You'll see deer in the grounds of Harewood. Muddy Boots café makes a good stop for coffee and chocolate brownies.
Time: it takes about 1h30-1h45
Eccup & Harewood Mountain Bike Ride: Map
This is an overview map of the ride (green arrows show route out, red arrows show route back). Click the map to enlarge.
I've mapped the ride on Plotaroute.com, and you can download a GPS file from there.
Eccup & Harewood Mountain Bike Ride: Route Notes
People park by Eccup Reservoir (although it doesn't seem to be an official parking place). Turn off the A61 and take the bridleway to the eastern end of the reservoir, where you'll see cars parked at the side of the road. Alternatively, you could park on one of the residential streets off Alwoodley Lane, such as Sandmoor Avenue.
Eccup to Harewood
Ride along the east edge of Eccup Reservoir, then fork left on a path past Owlet Hall towards Eccup. Turn right at the far side of Bank House Farm, on a bridleway that wends its way along the edges of fields towards Stub House Beck.
After crossing the beck, pass Stub House Farm on your left; this is where the catering is done for the Emmerdale set. To your right, a short distance away, are the cottages that make up TV's Emmerdale.
After Stub House Farm, descend a short distance then turn left on a bridleway through Stub House Plantation. The bridleway is a track that traverses the wooded slope.
When you reach the road, turn right. There's a swooping descent, then you pass Rawden Hill to your left and come into the village of Low Weardley. Strangely, its quite normal.
Where the road makes a 90 degree turn to the left, go straight on, taking a track into the Harewood Estate. Climb through the woods; you may see deer among the trees or in the open fields.
The track becomes a metalled road. As you crest the hill, there are views north across the Wharfe valley towards Almscliffe Crag. The road flattens out and takes you to the village of Harewood.
When you reach Harewood, the Muddy Boots Café is the first building on your left (in Harewood Village Hall). This is a good place for a coffee and a chocolate-orange brownie.
Harewood to Eccup
To start the return trip, go back along the road, retracing your wheel rotations for a kilometre or so. At the first main junction, diverge from the 'out' route by following the road round to the left instead of going straight on.
You pass the buildings of Home Farm. At a fork in the track, go right towards Carr House (main photo). From Carr House you climb into Stub House Plantation. Continue uphill to Stub House Farm; here, you're on the same track as on the way out. Instead of turning right to follow the 'out' route, go straight on. The track ascends a little, and gives you a view of the Emmerdale set (slightly back and to your left).
Continue on the track, which takes you to the Yorkshire Water Works then back to Eccup Reservoir.
Alternative Start Point
If you're coming from Harrogate, you could start from the Muddy Boots Café instead. There's a car park around the café/village hall, and they ask for a donation if you park there.