Yorkshire cycling website
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.
Yorkshire Water's map shows Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs, and the roads, bike trails, and footpaths around them:
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.
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:
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.
Equestrian/cycle users' car park entrance
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.
Initially, the bike path runs quite close to the footpath around Fewston reservoir.
Fewston reservoir seen from bike trail
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).
Bottom of the features area
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 after crossing Rues Lane
Then the trail runs alongside Gill Beck for a time.
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
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 butterfly on the edge of Timble woods
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.'
There are rocks, rollers, and other features made from logs.
This video from MTB Cycle Yorkshire shows mountain bikers on the features area in the Beecroft Plantation:
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?
The best and most popular cycleway in Harrogate, the Nidderdale Greenway goes about 4 miles to Ripley, using the trackbed of a disused railway. It opened in May 2013.
This circular road cycling route starts in Harrogate, and heads up to Pateley Bridge then Lofthouse. It climbs the Côte de Lofthouse, which featured on the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, then returns via Grewelthorpe, Kirkby Malzeard, Galphay, Studley Royal and Ripley to Harrogate. It's on quiet, country roads, features beautiful scenery, and there's the challenge of a steep ascent.
Read about this Côte de Lofthouse road cycling route.
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