Meanwood Valley Nature Reserve has wildlife and vegetation under conservation. The people of Leeds can enjoy this all year round. The reserve is attached to the Meanwood Valley Trail and offers you lots of entry and exit points along the majority of the popular 7-mile route.
Take a look around
Things to Note
Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve has the following on-site or nearby:
- Dog Waste Bins
- Nearby Food & Drink
- Nearby Parking
- Nearby Toilets
- Pushchair Access
- Rubbish Bins
- Wheelchair Access
Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve spans from the urban end of Meanwood – a few kilometres north of the city centre – to the leafy green surroundings of Golden Acre Park. In-between the reserve passes north through other beautiful areas including Adel and Alwoodley.
Things to Do
The reserve is populated by meadows, woodlands, a lowland heath, and two Beck waterways. These are just some of the things you can see, check out our top picks of what else to do:
Volunteer with the Meanwood Valley Rangers
The Meanwood Valley Rangers are a group of volunteers that meet once a month along the reserve, between Woodhouse Ridge and Golden Acre Park. The Rangers improve and maintain the wildlife habitats. They complete anything from litter picking to tree planting to completing wildlife surveys. To get involved in this volunteer work contact the Meanwood Valley Rangers.
Meanwood Valley Trail Trek
A really good way to see all of the nature reserve is to walk the “green artery” of the Meanwood Valley Trail. You’ll see all the reserve has to offer, from the wild urban woodland of Woodhouse Ridge to the elegance of Golden Acre Park.
Walk the Meanwood Valley Circular
With the Meanwood Valley Trail firmly on your map. Why not turn this straight route into a circular walk through the reserve. This loop is just shy of 7 kilometres and never strays too far from the Beck watercourse. Under foot the route is majority trail and partially paved. Checkout the full route at All Trails here.
Meanwood Valley Running Loop
The team over at Leeds Run Routes have put together a 14km route around the Meanwood Valley Trail. You’ll stride through some of the best greenspaces in the area, including Meanwood Park, Golden Acre Park, and Breary Marsh.
The reserve has some really exciting terrain and landscapes to explore with your dog. Including plenty of opportunities to let the dog off the leash.
Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve is a perfect environment for lots of different wildlife. Woodlands to meadows to ponds are the places you can enjoy wildlife up close.
On the waterway of the Beck keep an eye out for the mini-lobster like crayfish; frogs; toads; and newts. Or cast your attention to the foliage that’s home to mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Meanwood Valley Partnership have put together a complete wildlife spotters guide.
The reserve is fed by the water of the Beck. This watercourse finds its way between the nooks and crannies of boulders in the woodland. These wet and moist conditions make it an ideal habitat for liverworts, ferns and mosses.
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Meanwood Valley Trail Race
This trail race has become a Leeds favourite for runners since it started in the mid-90s. The run is between 7-8 miles long and goes from the start point at Leos to Meanwood Park, and back again. From 93 runners in 1996 to a regular sell out field of 300 you’d be silly to pass this event up.
There’s also two junior races for the young’uns to get involved in. And all the profits go to charity!
Keep an eye out for the next race ticket release with the race organisers, the Valley Striders.
With the Meanwood Beck flowing through the reserve the history of this conservation area is entangled in the first industrial revolution. Because the water was the key source to fuel the production of corn flax, tanneries, dye works and paper mills. As a result, you’ll find remnants of these structures dotted about the reserve.
The walking routes are clearly signposted with green owl discs at the Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve. There are also dog waste and rubbish bins provided throughout the reserve. And for those that need the restroom we recommend you use the cafes at Golden Acre and Meanwood Park.
Food and Drink
Towards the bottom end of the reserve at Meanwood is the Myrtle Tavern. It’s a pub that has one of the best secluded beer gardens in the city, as voted by the readers of the Yorkshire Evening Post. There’s also a children’s play area that will keep the toddlers and children happy. And we haven’t even mentioned the food – expect gastro pub quality meals!
The Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve has so many spots you can settle down at and enjoy a picnic. The lay of the land changes from heath, woodlands, meadows and Beck waterways. Each one gives you a different setting to eat alfresco.
There are several places you can park up to join the reserve, and all of them are free to use.
Furthest north is Golden Acre Park.
- Golden Acre Park, postcode: LS16 8BQ (Google Map Directions)
Towards the centre of the reserve is Adel Woods.
- Adel Woods, postcode: LS16 8DR (Google Map Directions)
At the southern end of the trail is Meanwood Park.
- Meanwood Park, postcode: LS6 4LE (Google Map Directions)
All the main routes at the Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve are paved or trail underfoot. The majority are suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. But take care and caution as some of the surfaces are uneven, particularly in the woodland areas.
How to Get To Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve
Golden Acre Park
To get to the top end of the reserve you will need to head to Golden Acre Park. If you’re not driving the next best travel is by bus. Take the X84 from the city centre.
To get to the bottom end of the reserve you will need to find your way to Meanwood Park. For those travelling by public transport you’re spoilt for bus options. Numbers 27, 51, 52 & 91 will all take you in the direction of the park.
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