An ancient woodland located in the village of Bardsey, between Leeds and Wetherby.
Navigate the twisted tree roots, smell the fresh garlic and see the beautiful bluebells on a Spring afternoon. Climb up the Cragg to get a view of the ancient Pompocali.
Hetchell Woods is a great place to explore with children, walk the dog, or take a moment to yourself in beautiful surroundings.
Take a look around
Things to Note
Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve has the following on-site or nearby:
- Nearby Food & Drink
- Nearby Parking
- Nearby Shops
- Nearby Toilets
Hetchell woods is an ancient woodland spanning nearly 30 acres and is located 7 miles northeast of Leeds, in the small village of Bardsey. Located along the A58 the nature reserve is accessible from both Leeds and Wetherby and makes for a great day out for families, hikers and dog walkers alike.
Things to Do
Explore and forage in the woods
Explore the woods, stroll between the rustling trees and see what you can spot in the undergrowth. Watch the wildflowers bloom in the spring and summer months. Admire the carpet of bluebells, the beautiful May blossoms and take in the scent of fresh garlic.
In the autumn forage for blackberries, apples, rose hip and chestnuts. Take in the different sights and smells throughout the seasons. Why not collect pine cones, acorns and conkers to make a autumn collage.
Try out the rope swing
Walk along the streams and listen to the water as it trickles through the woods. Have a go at crossing the stream using the rope swing but prepared to get your feet wet (or all of you, if it goes wrong!).
Keep your eyes peeled for birds
Sit down for a coffee, read a book or take in the beauty of nature. Look out over the water and if you’re in luck you may be able to spot a Kingfisher coming to feed in the streams.
Look out for the birdlife, spot kestrel circling through the meadows, red kites gliding through the air and nuthatcher scampering up tree trunks in the sunshine.
Have your walking boots at the ready
The woods are great for walkers of all abilities offering circular walks or varying lengths and difficulties. Put on your best walking shoes as some of the paths can be muddy. Be sure to climb up the grassy bank at the end of the woods to get a great view over the Romans earthworks known as Pompocali from when the area was used as a quarry.
There is the Hetchell Wood Walk that takes in 13.4km or 8.3 miles of woods, linking to Thorner. A great trail for walking, and running at all skill levels. Find the route over at All Trails.
Visiting in autumn? Admire the corn fields from a far. Whilst it may be tempting to go for a wander through, stick to the paths along the side of the field as it is private farm land.
Climbing at Hetchell Woods?
In the woods you will find Hetchell Crag, a gritstone cliff that is great for exploring and popular with climbers. The crag is especially good for stamina. Head over to UK Climbing to find out the different routes available and skill level required.
Hetchell woods is a great place to take the dog for a stroll. With plenty of space to roam and explore the route is sure to tire them out. Please keep dogs on leads when passing through meadows where sheep and cattle are grazing.
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Like many of the wonderful places in Leeds that have become a haven for wildlife, Hetchell Woods and the nearby village of Bardsey has a rich history. Hetchell woods was once a lime quarry with stone extracted for agricultural and building uses. There is evidence to suggest the quarry dates back to the Roman times. The Roman earthworks known as Pompacali can be seen as you reach the end of the woods. Look out and you will see a series of large mounds arranged in two large arcs. Exactly how they came to be there has been a mystery for years.
You will find the historic village of Bardsey nearby which was listed in the Domesday 1086 book. The village is home to All Hallows Church, built in the 9th century and The Bingley Arms, which claims to be the oldest pub in England, dating back to the early 900s. It was used as a safe house for catholic priests and was known as ‘The Priests Inn’. The building has retained many of its historical features, giving a glimpse into the past.
Visit the historic village of Bardsey
Whilst you’re in this neck of woods pay a visit to the nearby village of Bardsey where you can visit one of the oldest pubs in England, the Bingley Arms. The village is home to All Hallows Church which was built in the 9th century and is worth a visit. On your wonders around the village take a stop at the old red phone box, which has been converted into a free mini library and take or leave a book to read.
There are no toilet facilities at Hetchell Woods. The nearest toilets are located at All Hallows Church or the Bingley Arms Pub.
Food and Drink
We would really recommend bringing some sandwiches and stopping for a tranquil picnic in the woods. The landscape is well worth it!
Feel like eating out? Pay a visit to the one of the oldest pubs in the country, The Bingley Arms located in the quaint village of Bardsley for some traditional British pub food. They do a delicious Sunday roast and the historical building incorporates many features taking you back in time through its 1000 year history.
There is no car park at Hetchell Wood. Limited parking is available roadside.
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