Lindley wood reservoir from above by baldhiker

The Washburn valley, north of Otley in Yorkshire is home to a series of Reservoirs. Lindley Wood Reservoir is the lowest and nearest to Otley itself.

Further up the valley there is Fewston & Swinsty Reservoirs and further up again is another good walk around Thruscross Reservoir. Every single one is lovely but you will find that here at Lindley Wood is less busy and yet just as beautiful to walk around.

As I lived near it for a year or so it became a great local walk for me this circular. The dogs loved it. The variety of it was spectacular and every season brought something new in the valley.

washburn valley in snow

This reservoir is not off road foot-pathed all the way around its immediate perimeter but this particular 6 mile walk keeps you away from the road in the main as well as letting you see the whole area from above, below and also beside the water.

Social Wellness Walks


This walk has many places you could use as a starting point but by far the easiest I find is just off Newell Carr Road/Weston Roor Road. The road that leads up out of Otley and heads over to Blubberhouses.

If heading up from Otley go well past the turnoff for Clifton. The road will do a sharp right and then a sharp left. Late in that left bend you will see a layby on the right for around 4 or 5 cars. This is the small free car park. Grid reference: SE 195 492

looking down over lindley wood reservoir

Setting Off

This is a walk that I have no preference either clockwise or anticlockwise. You get a wonderful walk and experience either way. Just remember you are parked at the highest point of the walk so there will always be a uphill at some point even if the start is easy going.

From the car park take the lane that leads away from the main road and heads down and down. Dob Park Road.

Dob Park Bridge

dob park bridge washburn valley yorkshire

After a mile or so you will reach the end of the road and come to one of my favourite secret settings. The Ford and Dob Park Bridge.

This is an old 17th Century packhorse bridge and really is still looking great. The dogs love to paddle here in the shallow water and there are benches to sit and enjoy the view from.

dog paddling at dob park bridge

Heading To Lindley Wood

After crossing the bridge turn right and instead of following the lane up and left, head straight on along the path through the gate.

Here you will go along the side of the River Washburn through pastures and woody areas. It is wondrously quiet here and in the summer months is awash with colour.

view across lindley wood reservoir

Beside The Reservoir

Eventually you will come to the B6451 and the top, northern end of Lindley Wood Reservoir. Turn left and carefully cross the road bridge.

Immediately after the bridge, turn right and along the forest track beside Lindley Wood Reservoir itself.

bluebells and dog at lindley wood reservoir

It is all along the eastern stretch now that you can enjoy the waterside and the forest. A big tip from me is to do this walk in Spring. It becomes packed with bluebells, a whole sea of colour.

The dogs really do enjoy this stretch. In the trees, in the water and plenty to explore off lead.

It is never overly busy too so you can enjoy a few lovely miles pretty much to yourself.

dog playing on forest trees

Turning Up And Away From The Reservoir

At the bottom end of the reservoir you will come out onto a small lane. Turn right, across the little road bridge and right again, following the lane uphill. After about half a mile you will see a gate and stile on your right as the road turns left. Take the path to the right and through the fields.

At the far end of these fields you will come to a main road. Go straight across and over the stile on the opposite side. From here you are in big wide open fields that have great views down to the reservoir below.

big open field in washburn valley

The path sweep round the big field to the left and then over a big stile. Pete had difficulty on this one and somehow got hie over. Malc was fine of course he just leaped it.

dog on big stile

After the tall stile, look for a small tree area on your right, you want to turn right literally just before the trees. Watch out, this bit gets muddy and marshy.

Keep looking back as you get some stunning views. Almscliffe Crag makes an appearance on the horizon too.

You will then come to a track, turn left and follow it all the way around and up by a farm. You will then come to a gate to a pathway straight on. This will take you up through sheep fields on high that take you all the way up back to the car park layby.

sunset at dob park in the washburn valley

This section is great in a morning as you get some stunning sunsets over the bottom of the valley in the direction of Leeds and otley.

Route Details and GPX

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Download the GPX of Lindley wood Circular Walk

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