Yorkshire Water is the second largest land owner in Yorkshire with a huge amount of breath-taking scenery, ancient woodland, reservoirs and moorland. Yorkshire itself is a beautiful place to walk around and take it all in, however, there are individuals that find accessing these parts of the county to be tough. Since opening to the public 1989, more and more visitors are accessing Yorkshire Waters lands for walking routes and to get a glimpse of the scenery and nature that the reservoirs have to offer. It is estimated that around two million visitors a year are drawn to these 115 scenic reservoirs and Yorkshire Water want to make sure accessibility is a priority to enable everyone to get involved with nature.
I personally love getting out and about with my family. We love walks together and I think it is important for Lucas to see all the wonders that nature has to offer. Walking in these lovely locations is good for mental well-being, however being a parent and having to use a pushchair I know first hand that accessibility can be a real issue on some of these walks. Of course, as a parent, when we are walking together we can make routes more accessible with carriers. We can help toddlers tackle bigger hills and steps by carrying them on our shoulders and we can help each other carrying buggies up and down steps.
Obviously for wheelchair user’s accessibility is an even bigger problem and nature can put some real obstacles in the way. I have supported adults with learning and physical disabilities for the past 14 years so I know how much it can be a struggle to find accessible walks, I actually wrote about accessible days out in Lancashire a while back. It’s great to read that Yorkshire Water are doing all they can to make these areas better for everyone. To encourage more disabled visitors Yorkshire Water have teamed up with the not-for-profit Community Interest Company, Experience Community which is a really fantastic initiative. They help disabled people access the Great British countryside and this partnership has already seen more disabled group rambles around the region. I think this is brilliant and it’s so nice to see companies working together to ensure everyone can enjoy these scenic reservoirs. Walkways and pathways are being improved to make it more stable, flat and clear for wheelchair users.
I think it’s really important to focus on accessibility for all because getting out in nature can be so therapeutic. It can do wonders for our mental wellbeing too and it’s great to see there are so many walking routes around Yorkshire to cater for so many people.
Swinsty Reservoir nestles in the stunning Washburn Valley and provides breathtaking views across the water and the surrounding landscape, especially from the embankment near the River Washburn or various rest points dotted along the walk. The walk is 3 miles long and a podcast is available to accompany the route.
Tophill Low Nature Reserve
Tophill Low Nature Reserve is a haven for thousands of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians and even the occasional grass snake. There are 12 hides at the reserve all with unique vantage points over ponds, marshes and reservoirs. The two reservoirs have been declared as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are nationally important for birds.
Langsett meanders through woodland and across open moor providing spectacular views from higher ground, especially from the ruins known as North America. There are some steep climbs so this walk will appeal to the more adventurous walker. Boots are recommended. The walk is 3 miles long
Blackmoorfoot provides wide views of Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. Running along 3 sides of the reservoir, the route encompasses woodland and tranquil water edges and is a haven for wildlife and migrating birds. The path is flat and easy, the only gradients are a short ramp at the entrance at point 3 and on the public highway at Back Lane between points 5 and 6. The route is 1.3 miles long.
For more walks, check out Experience Community x
This post is in collaboration with Yorkshire Water.