A very pleasant walk in the little frequented countryside on the moorland fringes of the Nidderdale AONB with a visit to two attractive sheets of water, Lumley Moor Reservoir and Eavestone Lake.
|Parking:||Roadside, High Grantley|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
There is some very pleasant countryside between Fountains Abbey and the eastern moorland fringes in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Walks that I've done in this area of the last couple of years include Aldfield Spa and Kirkby Malzeard and Laver Banks. This walk covered an area which was, apart from a couple of sections, largely new to me. The main aim of the route was to visit Lumley Moor Reservoir which has been on my to-do list for a while now.
The walk started from the small village of High Grantley, a couple of miles north of Risplith on the road between Ripon and Pateley Bridge. There is room to park several cars on the roadside by the telephone box next to a small playground.
"A bit further below the views suddenly opened up over Skell Gill with the outcrops of Low Huller Stones far to the right. This brought back mixed memories of a summer's evening in 2012 where I'd battled across the moor to those rocks through a cloud of flies."
From the phone box I walked back to the junction to pass the local pub 'The Grantley' and the village hall which had a datestone of 1929. Continuing on out of the village I followed the road downhill keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic. Half way down the hill a sign post directed me to a path on the left. This led me across a field and down through some woods to a footbridge over Holborn Beck. I had been hoping to make a detour upstream to check out the waterfall marked on the map. However, there were enough 'Private' signs to ensure that I didn't go trespassing and remained on the right of way.
Having crossed the beck I climbed up the woods on the other side to reach a narrow road. Turning left on this I soon reached Lumley Farm. Continuing on the road I passed some old rusting tractors. After a bend in the road I also noted an old treehouse up to the right. Finally the road ended at Lumley Moor Reservoir.
Although fairly small Lumley Moor Reservoir proved to be a delightful sheet of water. A fine path crossed the dam and continued through some woodland on the southern and western sides of the reservoir. It was certainly popular with geese and I also saw a cormorant which sadly flew away as I was changing my camera lens to get a close up shot. After the path crossed a couple of small arms of the reservoir I rather regretfully took my leave to take a path leading up on to Lumley Moor.
Reaching a junction of paths I turned left alongside the fence to head towards New Plantation. A less clear path then brought me to just inside the plantation. Another left turn led me out of the treeline and up to another path junction. Taking the left hand option through a gate the path climbed gradually in an area of scattered rocks culminating in a substantial, if not very high, outcrop of stones on Grange Allotment.
Dropping down to a gate I then joined an enclosed lane, called Drift Lane on the map. This was a fine old way which eventually brought me on to a road. Ignoring turns to the right and then to the left I continued straight on the road to the houses at High Skelding. After passing a few houses on my right I took a signed path on the left. This dropped down past some trees whose bright red berries brought some welcome colour on a grey January day.
A bit further below the views suddenly opened up over Skell Gill with the outcrops of Low Huller Stones far to the right. This brought back mixed memories of a summer's evening in 2012 where I'd battled across the moor to those rocks through a cloud of flies. Thankfully it was far too cold and windy for that to happen to me this time!
Dropping down to a footbridge over the River Skell I climbed the opposite bank. After a couple of pastures I took a path on the left. This gradually formed into a good track which swung alongside some woods. Through the trees I could just make out Brim Bray Pond. Dropping down to a bridge and a smaller pond the track crossed a stream before swinging round again to enter a shallow little valley. Passing below Norberry Hill I then entered the small hamlet of Eavestone.
As I was so close to it I decided to do a loop to visit Eavestone Lake. I last visited Eavestone Lake just a few days after that fly filled walk to Low Huller Stones in July 2012. Eavestone Lake is a beautiful bow-shaped lake in a deep wooded bowl lined with scattered gritstone crags. A fine path drops down to the lake before following the northern edge of the lake. Halfway along I was surprised to see a man out with his daughter on a kayak. I don't know how he got it down there but I was slightly envious.
After passing an old boathouse I came to some steep steps. This was my route back to Eavestone but before climbing them I first visited the delightful little stone footbridge at the foot of the lake. Returning to the steps I climbed up out of the woods to take the path back to Eavestone.
The start of the next stage of the walk initially had me baffled. I intended to follow the right of way from Eavestone to the houses at Hungate. The right of way initially started along the driveway to Eavestone Grange. This was blocked by an electronic gate. A sign next to the gate said to press the button and the gate would open and automatically close. Clearly my button pressing technique is not quite up to standard as the gate didn't open until about the 8th press!
Finally through the gate I continued on a track that dropped down to some more gates. One of these was tied up so tight that I had no choice but to climb over it. On the other side I continued alongside a wall to reach Hungate. My original plan had been to take the right of way from Hungate heading north up through Ten Acre Plantation and back to High Grantley. However, the route of the path as it is shown on the map looked impassable due to sheep pens. There were no signs to show this as a right of way or any alternative route. The pens were full of sheep so there was no way through.
With no way through I followed the enclosed lane from Hungate leading to the High Grantley - Risplith road. Arriving at the road there was an interesting spot with three bridges, one over Hungate Dike and the other two over the River Skell. Turning left I carefully walked up the roadside until, just short of the village I was able to escape the road and take some field paths back to the start.
This proved to be a much more enjoyable walk than I'd initially anticipated. It was nice to revisit Eavestone Lake and Lumley Moor Reservoir was also well worth the visit. With the skies overcast I experimented with some more of my camera settings including shooting in black and white. The only real negatives were the sections of road walking at the start and finish. It wasn't too bad at this time of the year as the hedgerows were bare. However, I imagine in the summer it will be even harder to see or be seen by oncoming traffic.