Weekend Walk: Leeshaw Reservoir

There are several fine walks on the moorland above Oxenhope, terminus of steam trains on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

Leeshaw Reservoir
Leeshaw Reservoir

This one takes in a location of The Railway Children, the still-popular 1970 film of E. Nesbit’s novel starring Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbins. The route then continues past the hamlet of Marsh and eventually climbs up to Leeshaw, one of the more picturesque reservoirs owned by Yorkshire Water thanks to its beautiful backdrop of classic Pennine fields and dry stone walls. Before returning to Oxenhope splendid views open up from a lovely moorside path. The reservoir is highly regarded by birdwatchers and recent sightings have included little egret and yellow-legged gull. More regular species to be expected are little owl, cormorant and oystercatcher.

1. With your back to Oxenhope station in Mill Lane turn left and cross Bridgehouse Beck. Turn left to follow a clear path, recross the beck and go over the railway crossing with care. Slant left to a wall stile and climb up a long field to see the Railway Children’s home of Three Chimneys, actually called Bents House, on the left. Follow the path through the gate to the right, and round into Bents Lane.

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2. At the top turn left on Marsh Lane and follow it to the hamlet of Marsh. At the Methodist Chapel turn left onto a track then right on a signposted footpath. Follow it through Mould Greave and continue on a field path to another house. Beyond it follow the access road out to Moor Side Lane. Cross with care and walk down Hawksbridge Lane. Take the signposted path on the right and follow the path up to Lee Lane, accessed through a wall gap at the top of a steep bank.

Leeshaw Reservoir from Bodkin Lane.

3. Turn left on the wide track then follow it right for fine views over Leeshaw Reservoir. Beyond it continue left uphill on a steep cobbled track called Bodkin Lane. Pass Bodkin Farm on the right and turn left on a path signposted Calder Aire Link. Follow it past Fieldgate Farm and further on follow a waymark arrow left at Lowerfold Farm.

4. The path descends into a dip and swings left up the other side. Continue between a wall and an area of moorland called Stones. Beyond a house on the left look for a post with a waymarker on the right taking the Calder Aire Link off the track. Follow the path to another house and fork left downhill past a garden.

5. At the bottom turn left onto a footpath which descends field edges past the church to emerge on Shaw Lane, Oxenhope. Turn right and walk up to the A6033 road. Go left and follow the road downhill past a pub, and at a mini roundabout turn left into Station Road to return to the start.

Difficulty Rating: 3 stars

Leeshaw Reservoir from Bodkin Lane.

Time: 2 1/2 hours

Distance: 4 1/2 miles

Maps: OS Explorer (1:25000) OL21 South Pennines

Parking: Oxenhope

Public Transport: Oxenhope is served by steam trains on the Keighley & Worth Valley line. Keighley is on the Airedale Line between Leeds, Bradford and Skipton. Regular buses run from Keighley to Oxenhope. For all times check www.wymetro.com or call 0113 245 7676.

Refreshments & Toilets: Oxenhope.