This week’s route covers Haverah Park, Beaver Dyke and John O’Gaunt’s reservoirs. With thanks to the Harrogate Ramblers for the details.
Haverah Park, within the Forest of Knaresborough, was probably created as a deer park towards the end of the 12th century, but by 1560 all the deer had disappeared and there was virtually no timber left. King Charles I sold the park in 1628 to the City of London, who sold it to the Ingilbys of Ripley Castle in 1639.
Walk back to Beckwithshaw and through the gate on the right (Springhill Farm) opposite the cricket ground entrance and along the track to the right of Moor Park Wall. Ignore a track to Keepers’ Cottage. Cross a cattle-grid and pass a Yorkshire Water sign saying Haverah Park. The track swings right, crosses the valley and climbs to the farm. Cross the cattle-grid into the farm and follow the track sharp left through a gate.
When the track forks, keep right through a gate. Go through several fields to a track junction. Keep straight on, through three gates. The track ends. Bear half right across the large field to a ladder-stile. Continue to a cross track and turn right.
Cross two bridges and the stile by the gate on the right. Walk up the hill, through two gates, to Long Liberty Farm. Turn left along the road, through the farmyard, and a gate. Ignore the entrance to Reservoir House, to a stile, continue with a wood to the left. Cross a stile and into the wood.
Leave the wood over a stile, with Beaver Dyke Reservoir below. Turn left over the dam dividing it from John o’Gaunt’s Reservoir. Go through the small gate and uphill. Passing left of farm buildings, there is a gate; walk across the field to the gap in the wall. On the right are the remains of John o’Gaunt’s castle, a fortified hunting lodge which existed before John of Gaunt became Lord of Knaresborough in 1372.
Follow the path downhill, cross the causeway at the head of the reservoir, over a stile and uphill. At the top go through the gap in the wall, join a cross track, turn right, and through a gate. Turn right and downhill, over two becks, to a kissing-gate. Continue uphill, past a derelict farm, bear right and continue.
Watch out where the vestigial track bears right and drops towards the reservoir. At the dam crossed earlier, retrace steps back to the wood and Long Liberty Farm. Turn left along the road, then right through a gate along a trackeventually passing a short stretch of old walled lane. Cross a stile, and along a field, to a much better track which leads to Central House Farm.
Follow the track, continue and through Prospect Farm. Keep on to Whin Hill Farm. Continue through several gates to the end of a narrow wood. Turn right immediately past the wood and follow its boundary and through a gate to a track by The Oatlands farm. Turn left along the track to Pot Bridge Farm and onto the busy B6161. Turn right and follow the road back to the start.
Start: Haverah Park, Knaresborough (Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale)
Finish: Haverah Park
Distance: 8 miles
Terrain: Tracks and field paths across open country and farmland
Parking: Two sizeable laybys north of Beckwithshaw on B6161
Bus: No public transport