Yorkshire cycling website


Fewston, Beecroft, Timble woods, & Swinsty bike trail

Timble Gill Beck

Bike trail by Timble Gill Beck

Yorkshire Water has created a bike trail near Fewston reservoir. Starting from the car park in Swinsty Moor Plantation, it runs through the Beecroft Plantation, via a 'features' area, and up to Timble woods. There's also a trail through the Swinsty Moor Plantation.

In Yorkshire Water's press release (10th September 2013), they said, 'A new and exciting mountain bike trail in North Yorkshire is now open to the public, offering riders of all abilities the opportunity to test and develop their riding skills. Yorkshire Water had spent approximately £20,000 to create the action-packed 1.2km route at its Beecroft Plantation, next to Fewston reservoir, near Harrogate.'

Most of the route can be done by anyone on any kind of mountain bike or hybrid. The 'features area' in the Beecroft Plantation (the 1.2km section referred to in the press release) requires a bit more mountain biking skill, as does the single track route through Timble woods. Both of these are optional.

Fewston, Beecroft, Timble woods, & Swinsty bike trail: maps

Yorkshire Water's map

Yorkshire Water's map shows Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs, and the roads, bike trails, and footpaths around them:

Swinsty, Beecroft, and Timble bike trail map

The numbers on the map corresponded to the route notes on Yorkshire Water's Swinsty & Timble cycle route page, which now seems to have disappeared.

Open Cycle map

A few people have commented that the Yorkshire Water map is not that easy to follow, so this is a closer view of the bike route on OpenCycleMap:

Map of Fewston Beecroft Timble bike route

Fewston, Beecroft, Timble woods, & Swinsty bike trail: route notes


Car park at Swinsty Moor Plantation

Main car park at Swinsty Moor Plantation

Parking is at the car park on the edge of the Swinsty Moor Plantation, on the south side of Fewston Embankment. The car park has toilets, and in the summer, there's sometimes an ice cream van. There is a height barrier, so for vehicles with bikes on the roof, for example, Yorkshire Water suggest their equestrian/cycle users car park as an alternative (marked 1 on their map). The entrance is a few metres up North Lane towards Timble.

 Swinsty Moor plantation cyclists' car park

Equestrian/cycle users' car park entrance

The start of the bike route

Start of bike trail near Fewston reservoir

The start of the bike route

Nearly opposite the entrance to the main car park is start of a footpath that goes round Fewston reservoir. Footpaths have yellow waymarkers.

For the bike route, turn left out of the car park (but not sharp left up North Lane), and go a little way down the hill. On the right hand side after a short distance is the start of the bike trail. The bike trail has light blue waymarkers.

There's an information board and map near the start of the trail.

Beecroft Plantation bike trail information board

Information board

Initially, the bike path runs quite close to the footpath around Fewston reservoir.

View of Fewston reservoir from bike trail

Fewston reservoir seen from bike trail

Features area

Entrance to 'features' area, Beecroft Plantation

Entrance to the features area

If you want to ride the 'features area', you can turn left up a track along the edge of the Beecroft Plantation, to point D on Yorkshire Water's map, and the entrance is on your right.

Otherwise, go straight on, through the woods. You pass the bottom of the 'features area' (point C on the Yorkshire water map, and there's a C painted on a tree). 

Beecroft bike trail, features zone exit

Bottom of the features area

Across Rues Lane

Just before you reach Rues Lane, there's a little right/left dogleg, off the track and into the woods. It's easy to miss, but not the end of the world if you do. Cross Rues Lane, and there's a gate and another information board. Go through the gate and follow the track, and you pass some beech trees on the right.

Beech trees in Timble woods

Beech trees after crossing Rues Lane

Gill Beck & Timble woods

Then the trail runs alongside Gill Beck for a time.

Mountain bikers near Gill Beck

Riding by Gill Beck

Here, there are sections of the path with tree roots to negotiate, and sharp ups and downs. Leaving Gill Beck, you go past the bottom of the single track section (point 12/B on the Yorkshire Water map). The main route is the right fork, and it's a track through Timble woods. It takes you round three sides of a square, and eventually you emerge into the open, with the woods on your left.

Track on the edge of Timble woods

Track on the edge of Timble woods

The single track section or the easy way home

You can turn left down the single track section, back into the woods. It's quite technical, as there are tree roots and rocks to negotiate. 

Otherwise, continue straight on, on the main track, back to Rues Lane. Then, you can either turn left down Rues Lane, and ride back the way you came through the Beecroft Plantation; or go straight across Rues Lane, on the minor road to Timble (where the very swish Timble Inn is an option for a drink or lunch), then down North Lane to the Swinsty Moor Plantation car park.

Red Admiral near Timble woods

Red Admiral butterfly on the edge of Timble woods

Fewston, Beecroft, Timble woods, & Swinsty bike trail: features area

Beecroft mountain bike features

The Yorkshire Water press release said of this 'features area', 'The course, which features bumps and jumps of varying degrees of difficulty - along with 'chicken runs' for those who want to avoid obstacles - was designed using input from local mountain bikers to ensure that there is something for everyone, regardless of their level of ability, and is part of the wider 9km cycle network in the Washburn Valley. What's more, it's completely free to use.'

Beecroft bike trail, rock features  Beecroft bike trail roller

There are rocks, rollers, and other features made from logs.

Beecroft mountain bike trail  Beecroft bike trail, log feature

Features area: video

This video from MTB Cycle Yorkshire shows mountain bikers on the features area in the Beecroft Plantation:

Fewston, Beecroft, Timble woods, & Swinsty bike trail: comments and suggestions

What do you think of the bike trail. Is there any way it could be improved? Have we missed something in our guide to the bike route?

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Start of Beecroft cycle route Timble Gill BeckBeecroft bike trail features

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