The Washburn Way and 10 other walks in the Washburn Valley

Following on from the success of Yorkshire Walks – 6 Dales – 30 Walks that was published in 2015, John Burland from Otley has been working on a new book, this time much closer to his home town.

Approximately 10 years or so ago he devised a walk up the Washburn Valley entitled “The Washburn Way” which takes the walker from Otley up the eastern side of the valley to the northern end of Thruscross Reservoir and then comes back down stream on the western side of the valley back to Otley.

After the 6 Dales – 30 Walks book had been published he discussed with Sigma Books the possibility of a follow up and mentioned the Washburn Way walk. However, because this was only about 13,000 words in total the publishers felt that a longer book was required so John set about finding another 10 walks in and around the area of the Washburn Valley to include in the book with the twenty-nine mile Washburn Way being the final walk in the book.

Throughout the winter of 2015 and the spring and summer of 2016 John devised a further ten walks to write about, ranging from easy three mile walks up to more strenuous eight or nine mile walks in the area. Included in these are walks around all four reservoirs of Lindley Wood, Swinsty, Fewston and Thruscross that provide the water for the residents of the Leeds area plus a number of other walks from Farnley, Leathley and Otley.

These, along with hand drawn maps of the walks and numerous photographs, were sent to the publishers who agreed to go ahead with publication. The book is now in the process of preparation at the moment and will be out by September 2017.

John says in the introduction to the book, “I was introduced to the Washburn Valley (or Washburndale as it is often referred to) at a very young age by my parents who enjoyed nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than to go up to “ t’reservoirs” for a picnic. This was usually at Swinsty or Fewston where we would have our ham sandwiches or pork pies sitting by the side of the reservoirs, before the more modern amenities of picnic areas were introduced in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Another area we often frequented in the 1960s was the village of West End before the Thruscross Reservoir was built there, and details of the old village and its history will be mentioned in both the Washburn Way walk and the Thruscross walk sections of the book”.

Nearly sixty years on since John was first introduced to the beauty of the Washburn Valley, he has now put his walking experiences in this area into print and hopes that this will introduce many more people into walking in what is often referred to as “Yorkshire’s Forgotten Dale”.