THIS is an excellent spring walk on good, wide paths.

There are views across the reservoirs and at this time of the year the birds are arriving.

Both Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs were built in the 1870s and have supplied water to Leeds for 150 years.

In fact, Fewston flows in to Swinsty so they are really just an extension of each other.

Start the walk at the car park to the west end of Fewston Reservoir.

Join the excellent footpath/cycleway to the south of Fewston, part of the Six Trails National Trail heading up Nidderdale. The path meets the reservoir immediately and straightaway it is clear that birds, flowers and the forces of nature will dominate the walk.

On the water the popular wildfowl of Canadian and greylag geese, mallards and coots reside but look closer (particularly now) for swans and cormorants.

Keep to the shores for one-and-a-half miles to the end of Fewston before a small stream leads in to the woods at Swinsty Reservoir. On the right is Swinsty Hall, difficult to see through the beech, conifer and oak, and once owned by the England football manager Gareth Southgate.

The track is still excellent and as it approaches the dam at the east end of Swinsty it is usually full of anglers; over 6,000 brown trout have recently been added to the reservoir to keep them occupied.

A few hundred metres beyond the hall the track emerges from the woodland at the dam. Turn right and a short sharp climb will take you to the pretty village of Timble (you can cross the dam but I prefer a short, extra exploration). For an extra mile drop down the path next to the outflow of Swinsty, cross the river and then return up the west bank to the reservoir.

From Swinsty dam turn north and follow the north east banks of both reservoirs back to the car park.

The track sticks close to the shore for one mile before crossing a road bridge.

Turn left on to a path through the woods. Set on a promontory this is a nice spot to sit and watch the bird life on the reservoir.

From here 200 metres from the shore is a small cluster of houses which make up Fewston, the highlight being the beautiful church of St Michael and St Lawrence.

Back to the shoreline and the path (complete with small beaches) crosses a road between the reservoirs before following the wide path through woodland alive with song birds, mainly warblers and finches.

The best path sticks to the shoreline, do not be tempted to head up in to the woods.

The paths in the woods tend to run out and you end up battling through the undergrowth.

The path finishes alongside the A59 but fortunately no road walking is needed.

Yorkshire Water own the land here and have done a good job in managing and describing an enjoyable half day walk.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 7.5 miles (includes additional one mile at Swinsty).

Height to Climb: 100m (330 feet)

Start: SE 170552. There is a car park at the west end of Fewston Reservoir.

Difficulty: Easy walking on good paths throughout.

Refreshments: The Hopper Lane at Blubberhouses is half a mile from the car park or bring your own.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 297) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.