Top Five Walks for Under Fives around Leeds by Muddy Boots Mummy
If you’re thinking about heading out for a family walk this Bank Holiday weekend, Rachel from Muddy Boots Mummy has kindly shared her picks of the best walks to do in and around Leeds with children.
I’ve just started maternity leave for my second child, and this time round I’ve made a commitment to be more active outdoors and walk more (basically to spend less time on the couch watching Grey’s Anatomy). This inevitably has meant taking my three year-old along to join me, which has also meant choosing walks that will keep her happy and entertained (she has a rather short attention span, so this is easier said than done). As much as I love Roundhay Park, I’ve been spreading my wings and finding some new haunts away from the regular places around North Leeds.
Here are five of my favourite family walks! They all have free parking and are less than 5km in distance.
1. Oakwell Hall, Birstall
The two-mile nature trail here is an absolute gem. It does have some steep and uneven paths, but this adds to its allure -and stunning views! There are alternative paths available if you want to use a buggy (see accessibility map here). The facilities are great -including a lovely café- and there is lots to see to keep little ones interested on the way round. The trail is easy to follow and there are plenty of places to stop and picnic. As well as everything that you’d expect in a decent play area, there is also woodland equipment, lots of fun! For more details click here.
2. Angler’s Country Park, Wakefield
This is home to the brilliant Room on the Broom trail and is well worth the visit. You can pick up an activity pack from the visitor’s centre for just £2, where you can also buy bags of bird feed for the ducks. Walking round the reservoir is two miles and is suitable for buggies and bikes. On your walk, you can keep entertained by spotting the carvings and completing the various tasks. There’s a decent playground and toilets at the centre, with lots of picnic benches dotted about. Often there is also a catering van for drinks. For more details click here
Top tip: If you’re a fan of a good country pub and haven’t ever visited The King’s Arms in Heath, swing by on the way home, it’s one of our favourites!
3. Middleton Woods in Ilkley
These woods are absolutely gorgeous, and if you get there soon you should get to see the magnificent carpets of bluebells. We based our walk on the linked route below (that takes in Ilkley’s Riverside and a play area) but walked anticlockwise and shortened it to around two miles by walking down Hardings Lane. It’s not a buggy friendly route, so if little legs get tired be prepared to carry them! Find the map of the 3 mile route here
4. Temple Newsam
There are lots of trails and paths around this gorgeous estate to explore. The Buggy-friendly 3.5km circular route (highlighted in the picture) passes the front of the house and down the treelined avenue to enjoy walking past some of the estate’s fields. Head past Little Temple and return to the House from the direction of Colton Farm, where you can join the path next to the Lakes and Rhododendron Walk! The play area here is top notch and combining this with the cafe and farm (probably the best value in Leeds) can make this into a full day out. Find out more here.
5. Woodlesford Lock
There are a variety of walks starting from here including a canal walk to Methley and a visit to St. Aiden’s RSPB reserve. In the opposite direction, an easy family-friendly two-mile route starts at the carpark and follows the road (North West) up to the next lock. You can cross the canal here and walk back on the other side between the canal and the river. Spot the wooden Gruffalo sculptures at the start of the walk, and enjoy looking at the canal boats. If you’re lucky you might even catch one of the locks in action! This walk is suitable for most buggies, but might be muddy in places. There are no real facilities here (although a catering van sometimes parks up in the carpark), but Woodlesford has a few cafes and pubs that could be visited.
Hopefully this lovely weather that we’ve had over Easter is a sign of what’s to come over the summer, and so there is no reason not to get out and start exploring some of the fabulous places that are around Leeds. At least that’s what I’ll be telling myself in a few weeks when I have a newborn strapped onto me!