The Study Area in Context

Where is it? 

Situated several kilometres to the west of Leeds city centre, the Country Park forms a giant “C” which loops around the west Leeds conurbation, whilst also taking in much of the Greenbelt boundary.

Whilst the Trail follows the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath directly from the canal basin in the city, the Country Park only picks it up at Dunkirk Hill, some 4 km out. It then follows it for a further 10 kilometres, tracking out to the north west along the scenic green corridor of the Aire Valley before dropping down into the well wooded countryside around Calverley Woodhall, Hillfoot and Pudsey on the Leeds Bradford border.

From there the Country Park and Trail continues south, before eventually turning south east around Fulneck to pick up the steep valley of thePudsey Beck green  corridor  between  Pudsey  and  Farnley, and  Gildersome and Morley. Beyond this it enter the Farnley Beck Green Corridor following Ring Road Farnley. At this point the Country Park finishes, but the trail continues in to the dispersed  greenspace  areas  of  Town  End, Armley and Wortley areas, before re-entering the city centre.

Area Description 

The West Leeds Country Park and Green Gateways is looped around and through the major west Leeds conurbations of Kirkstall, Hawksworth, Horsforth, Calverley, Farsley, Pudsey, Bramley Armley and Wortley.

It covers some 3889 Hectares, and includes much of the countryside, parkland and greenspace incorporated into the Greenbelt for the west Leeds area.

This Greenbelt is intended to act as a buffer between the two Districts of Leeds and Bradford, in order to control the growth of large built up areas and to prevent the neighbouring districts from merging. It is also intended to help conserve the special character of districts within it and to safeguard the countryside.

There is a population of approximately 200,150 people living immediately in and around the Country Park, more than a quarter of the total population of the entire Metropolitan District (2001 census).

In addition, people living along the eastern edge of Bradford are also free to make use of facilities and amenities within the country park, with a population of some 84 998 potential users (2001 census).

Whilst these communities bring an evident pressure in numbers, it also means that a large proportion of these citizens have access to parks and countryside on their doorsteps, and are able to benefit from the opportunities these places can offer.

Informal recreational activities, such as walking, cycling and running help to improve overall health and fitness, whilst being outside is a general boost to wellbeing.


Pockets of land within the Country Park boundary are owned and managed by Leeds City Council, and vested with various Council Departments.

Of these, some 45 key areas of greenspace, parkland and recreation ground are owned and/or managed by Parks and Countryside alone.

Additionally, there are, also major land holdings which are privately owned, but also have a measure of public access, such as Calverley Woods, Rodley Nature Reserve (30 hectare site leased from Yorkshire Water to a consortium of Ornithological groups), the former Kirkstall Forge site (soon to be developed) and Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve (10.7 hectare site leased from National Grid to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust).

Ward Coverage

The Country Park and Green Gateways area is incorporated, to varying degrees, within 11 Leeds City Council Local Authority Wards including: –

The Value of the West Leeds Country Park and Green Gateways 

The parks, countryside and other greenspace located within the West Leeds Country Park provide many benefits to the people who use and enjoy them, especially in terms of the opportunities they offer to both local people and visitors to Leeds for quiet recreation.

Physical activity, such as walking, running, cycling, horse riding do much to boost levels of health and fitness, whilst a general sense of wellbeing can be greatly improved by being out in the open air, in attractive surroundings, watching and enjoying wildlife.

For many people living in or close to the city centre, the WLCP has the potential to be their green lungs – not only offering a respite from city living, but helping to improve their home environment too. It is widely accepted that trees help to moderate local climate, reducing summer temperatures through their transpirational processes and shade giving properties, whilst also offering protection from harsher winter weather. They help to filter out air pollution and ameliorate noise pollution too.

On a global scale, trees and woodland also help to mitigate the effects of climate change by moderating the effects of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide.

West Leeds Country Park and Green Gateways


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