Walking into the depths of Bramley Fall Woods feels like walking into a Lord of the Rings novel. The native wood is 10,000 years old and has been there since the polar ice caps melted.
In and amongst the dense undergrowth and trails are green covered mounds that rise and fall with a magical quality.
Over the last 800 years the wood has played an integral part to the development of Leeds. It’s no coincidence that major rail and water routes were constructed next to it. These days this conclave of trail, rail and water has lots to offer!
Take a look around
Things to Note
Bramley Fall Park & Woods has the following on-site or nearby:
- Dog Waste Bins
- Nearby Food & Drink
- Nearby Toilets
- Rubbish Bins
Bramley Fall (or Bramley Falls) Woods and Park is just over a mile in diameter and located off the Leeds Bradford Road (B6157) on the edge of Bramley, a suburb in the inner west of the city. The wood follows the curve of the River Aire and Leeds Liverpool Canal, the latter giving you access to the wood from the canal path at Forge Lock.
To the north of Bramley Fall is the Kirkstall Forge project. This regeneration has already brought a direct train link from the city centre to the doorstep of the wood. If and when delivered, this large development will bring a brand new community in walking distance of Bramley Fall.
It’s safe to say that visitor numbers to Bramley Fall Woods are expected to grow with the expansion of Kirkstall Forge.
Things to Do
The paths and trails are well trodden within the Bramley Fall woods, including this 1 mile walk which takes a circular route through heathland and wildflower meadows. Bring a picnic and take advantage of the dedicated picnic areas in the Healthland and by Newlay Locks. For those that want to explore the sprawl beyond the wood, you can take the bridleway on the River Aire towards the city centre.
British Orienteering host a regional event in the woods. For a sport that professes to be “an exciting outdoor adventure that exercises mind and body” – the use of Bramley Fall Woods by British Orienteering is a form of flattery that should encourage other adventurers to check it out. It is large enough to have a good explore, but not quite big enough to get lost.
Our friends over at Run Leeds have shared a running route just short of 7k that takes you on a journey from the woods to the canal bridleway, and bypasses Rodley Nature Reserve – a beautiful wetland habitat the opposite side of the River Aire. We would recommend only doing this during the day, as the woods and this part of the canal are not lit.
Walk the Dog
Dog walking is allowed at Bramley Fall Woods and is recommended by Mypawson. The wide open spaces on the fringe of the park are perfect to let your dog off the lead. And the woodland provides plenty of shade on a hot summer’s day. It’s so popular with dog walkers that a Facebook group has been set up to stay connected.
Horses are granted access to the woods on the edge of the playing fields on Pollard Lane. The permissive bridle path takes in much of the woods from the centre to the Leeds Bradford Road side, which is shown on boards within the Wood itself. There is even a gallop section in the wildflower meadow. Be aware that there tend to be a lot of dog walkers in parts of the wood – in case your horse is likely to get spooked.
The ‘Trim Trail’ boasts a melange of workout stations that zig zag alongside the pedestrian path. Test yourself on pull up bars, parallel bars, leg swings and a host of other metal structures. The distance between each station suits the gym goer that has a little bit more time on their hands.
The playground is made up of the classic swings and slide combination. This is easily accessed adjacent to the car park off Leeds Bradford Road and is ideal for families wanting a quick burst of play before heading on a walk through the woods.
Fishing isn’t advertised on any of the signage around the woods but local anglers have recommended several spots on the canal – close to Bramley Fall Woods. Get in touch with the Leeds DASA (anglers society) to confirm which waters (and spots) are legal to fish on.
Start Birding have already shared a great feature walk with a nod to a wide range of bird life that resides in the woods. You could come across the Jay, Long-Tailed Tit, Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch, Black Cap, Garden Warbler, Kingfisher, Dipper, Goosander and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (if you’re lucky!).
Two picnic areas are located centrally in the Heathland and to the north by Newlay Locks. This gives visitors an option to enjoy a bite to eat surrounded by heathers or nestled amongst the reeds by the waters edge.
If you are looking for a nearby place to park, we would recommend Kirkstall Forge Car Park for a small fee, and then a short walk along the canal to get here. The postcode to get there is LS5 3NF.
A lovely little marina can be found at the end of Pollard Lane at the top end of the woods. A perfect pitstop to while away part of the day watching the canal boats and barges chug in and out of their basin.
Bramley Fall Woods was one of the biggest Quarries in Leeds. Stone from the site dates back to the 12th century. Part of Newlay Hall still remains (the gable end) in the woods, you just need to fight your way through the undergrowth to get to it. This was a mansion house that the land owner resided in.
Stone from the Bramley Fall Woods quarry has contributed to some of the most grandiose builds in the city, including: Leeds Town Hall, Kirkstall Abbey and the Corn Exchange. And stone from the quarry was shipped as far as the Isle of Man for construction.
There are no toilets on site but both the Abbey Inn and Acorn Inn make for an ideal refreshment and restroom break. Both are on the Pollard Lane side at opposite ends of the woods. Bins are found on site.
Food and Drink
The Abbey Inn, located next to Newlay Locks, is one of the most popular pubs in the area. It’s been a real ale pub since 1822 so we’re pretty confident you can get a good pint here.
For a boozer with a little bit more of a social calendar we recommend heading a little further down (5 minutes at that) the Leeds Bradford Road to the Rock Inn pub – check out the regular live music night on a Thursday.
To wrap it up we’re letting you in on a little gem of an eatery that’s still Bramley’s very own secret. The Blue Tiger is unsuspectingly tucked off Ganners Hill; a stone throw from the woods. Enjoy a rare fusion of Indian, Bangladeshi and Persian cuisine. And it’s a BYOB restaurant – bring your own booze.
The postcode to get to the free Bramley Fall Woods car park is LS13 2LP, located on the Leeds and Bradford Road. This Google Maps link may help. It is a dedicated Leeds City Council operated car park for the woods that caters for up to 20 vehicles.
- No wheelchair access
- Main paths are tarmacked and are buggy friendly.
- Signage is made clear and can be found throughout the site.
How to Get Here
To get to Bramley Fall Woods you can catch a First Leeds bus via routes 49 and 91.
You can catch a train to Bramley Fall Woods from Leeds City Centre via Northern. The newly opened Kirkstall Forge station is a 5-minute train journey from Leeds station. The woods are accessible from the Bradford bound platform.