Skelton Country Park

Skelton Country Park

A rejuvenated green space and lake to the south of Leeds that has some amazing walking and cycling routes for the family.

Skelton Country Park

Skelton Country Park is an ex-industrial area that has been regenerated into an attractive green space that is perfect for walkers and cyclists.

Location Details

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Things to Note

Skelton Country Park has the following on-site or nearby:

  • Nearby Food & Drink
  • Nearby Parking
  • Nearby Toilets
  • Pushchair Access
  • Rubbish Bins
  • Wheelchair Access


Skelton Country Park is a nature reserve of water and woodland that is more than 60 acres in size. Skelton is located just below Temple Newsam to the south of the city centre of Leeds.

Skelton Lake

A great place for a walk. Tucked away from the noise of the city. Unlike many of the lakes and other water spots in Leeds it is not man made. But rather a natural reserve of water.

Can you swim in Skelton Lake?

We are not 100% sure if you can swim in Skelton lake. Dogs are allowed to swim so it is not completely unsafe. However it is a bit mucky so might not recommend it. Each to their own…

Can you fish at Skelton Lake?

Anglers are sometimes sat around Skelton lake. We are not sure who you need to contact for a spot/license.

Things to Do

Get ready to do lots of walking and cycling at Skelton Country Park:

Skelton Lake Circular

Skelton lake is a great place for a walk. This easy 2km lap of the lake is a perfect route to get the heart rate up with a walk or jog. Muddy Boots Mummy has the full route here.

Rothwell Country Park – Skelton Lake

If you fancy a walk or jog a little longer than the circular above then we recommend this Rothwell Country Park – Skelton Lake. Start on Bullough Lane and head down the hill towards the canal. At the Fishpond Lock turn right to cross the canal or left at Skelton Bridge. The lake is the final destination from either of these crossing.

Temple Newsam – Skelton Lake

For those that want more of a challenging run or walk you can extend the circular of Skelton Lake to include one of Leeds best attractions – Temple Newsam. This 8.4km loop crosses the M1 and several of the Beck waterways in the area. For the full route head over to All Trails.

Dog Walking

Skelton Lake is never too far from the River Aire – it’s actually just below the nature reserve and lake. When the river is low this is perfect spot for your dog to take a walk and a swim.

Canal Cycling

With a brand new canal path laid in recent years the River Aire is a hot spot for cyclists to travel to and from Leeds city from Skelton Country Park. If you’re with the little ones and you want you can keep it short you can start at Rothwell Country Park and stop at Fishpond Lock. For those wanting more of a ride continue on the Trans-Pennine Trail straight to the centre of Leeds.

Fishing at Skelton Lake

Skelton Lake has no fishing pegs, but there is no restrictions on fishing the lake.


Keep an eye out for a bunch of wildlife, in particular water birds including: fowl, gulls, geese, smaller songbirds, swans , heron, waders, and finch.

Skelton Bridge

This piece of fantastic engineering is a crossing point to the bottom end of the nature reserve over the river. Check out the fish ladder on the bridge too – this part of the river was once teeming with fish.

Fish Pond Lock

At the aptly named Fish Pond Lock along the river you can stroll to sit and watch the canal boats gently chug past. Or take some food to enjoy on the picnic benches and save something for the ducks.

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Skelton Country Park is a former coal mining pit. Skelton Lake is a remnant of opencast coaling operations during the operational days in the 20th century.


If your wondering where Skelton Lake services are? The services are conveniently located off the M1 at junction 45. It is here you can park up and access toilets and washrooms at any time of the day or night. And there’s even a outdoor play area to keep the little ones entertained.

Food and Drink


If you are looking for a café, restaurant or pub near Skelton Country Park you’re in for a drive as there is nothing nearby. The nearest is more than 2-miles away in Rothwell. For this reason we recommend bringing food and drink for a picnic. There’s a dedicated picnic area at Fish Pond Lock at the bottom end of the nature reserve.


Park for free for the first three hours at Leeds Skelton Lake Services, postcode: LS15 0BF (Google Map Directions). Grab one of the 550 car parking spaces including 30-disabled bays. Then jump onto the trail to Skelton Lake on the eastern side of the services.


Skelton Lake is fully accessible when coming from the services. For wheelchair access bear in mind that the pathways can become very muddy and uneven in wet weather.

If you do venture down to the river or access the reserve from this southern end you will have to consider the steep stairs on Skelton Bridge. These aren’t suitable for wheelchair or pushchair users.

How to Get To Skelton Country Park

Google Map Directions

Skelton Services car park is a 5-mile journey by car or taxi from the centre of Leeds. Give yourself 45-minutes minimum to make this journey.

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