The Hollies is where formal meets informal in the world of gardens. This combination makes the park a unique green space for Leeds.
At any one time you can lose yourself in the natural magic of the garden or marvel at its well cared for rare plant collection.
- The Hollies, Bardon Grange Lodge, 103 Weetwood Ln, Weetwood, Leeds, LS16 5PAGoogle Map Directions
Take a look around
Things to Note
The Hollies has the following on-site or nearby:
- Disabled Access
- Dog Waste Bins
- Nearby Food & Drink
- Nearby Toilets
- Rubbish Bins
- Wheelchair Access
Located just on the west bank of Meanwood Beck, nestled between the Leeds outer ring road and Weetwood Mill Lane, in north west Leeds.
This 30 acre green paradise has a big influence on its visitors that quite literally stumble off Weetwood Lane into the park . If anything the unassuming entrance is a veil on the beauty that abounds beyond it. Sitting above Meanwood Park it makes up part of the Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve.
As overused as the phrase “hidden gem” is we can’t think of anything else that sums up the Hollies so perfectly.
Things to Do
Within the magical landscape is bags of opportunities to explore new things, just pick a path and take it…
Friends of the Hollies
The Friends of the Hollies group is a local band of volunteers that put the hours in to preserve and improve the beauty of the Hollies woodland area. The group welcome new volunteers with wide open arms. And you can join them on the second Saturday of each month, under the guidance of the head gardener, for a few hours of park maintenance; with a brew and a natter to finish. For more information visit the Facebook page.
The 30 acres of hidden paths and the depth of discovery for you and the pooch. An added benefit is the amount of people you’ll bump into. Many walkers report it being quiet throughout different points of the day. Which makes it ideal for a bit of escapism with your best mate.
The Hollies – Meanwood Park – Scotland Wood
This two mile walk covers some more beautiful spots, including Meanwood Park and Scotland Wood. And it can feel like that every turn you’re in a different type of park or woodland on this walk. Maybe even in a different part of the world where the sun illuminates the trees with heat, or casts a misty magical shadow over it… this one’s pure enchantment. Download the route and directions from Walks in Yorkshire.
Meanwood Valley Trail
The Meanwood Valley Trail or “green artery” of Leeds is a 7-mile walk on paths and trails that moves from urban city areas to deep Yorkshire countryside. At the Hollies you can join the the trail walking south to the start point at Woodhouse Moor or north towards the charming Golden Acre Park. Check out the full trail leaflet here.
If you like a discreet run then the Hollies is a great starting point for a trail and park run with the option to get back on the tarmac. Make the most of the alluring scenery and different gradients with the steady ‘Weetwood loop’ over at Run Leeds.
The Hollies has 6 hard tennis courts smack bang in the middle of the beautiful flora. Anyone can use the courts, including wheelchair users, at anytime of the year. All you need to do is book a court up to a week in advance of your play date by using the LTA Club Spark booking link.
The array of stunning plants and vegetation is varied depending on which part of the 30 acres your exploring. To the north you’ll find the woodland made up of willow, beech, oak and alder. The further south you head from the enchanted wood you’ll noticed the towering trees are replaced by paths aligned with fern and covered with lichen and moss. Stop to listen to the bubble and gurgle of the Beck waterway, it’s never far away from you in the Hollies.
Depending on which part of the season we’re in you could be in for an explosion of snowdrops, daffodils or bluebells. And that’s not all of it. Pass by in May and soak up the breath-taking elegance of the collection of rhododendrons that blanket much of the wooded slopes in the park. For those not familiar with this plant bursts with colour and is mainly found in forest areas of Asia.
Further south the Hollies turn into a well pruned botanical garden with many unusual plants – Philadelphus and Deutzia – on show for the public. Enjoy!
With beautiful greenery comes an extensive wildlife community. If you come looking for other creatures at the Hollies you might come across winged animals like the kingfisher, wagtail, warbler, dipper or even a bat. In and amongst the dense flora you could catch sight of the elusive mole or red squirrel, or the larger roe deer or fox.
First World War
William Brown, the owner of the private estate we now know as the Hollies, gave Leeds City Council the house and the 30 acres of greenspace in memory of his son – Major Harold Brown – who was tragically killed at the end of the Great War in 1918. You can sit by the memorial plaque for Major Harold Brown slightly further up the hill towards Weetwood Lane. The past life of the Hollies as a private garden gives us some context around that feeling of being somewhere secluded and hidden. It was never originally meant for the public!
From 1925 onwards, and for a good 40 years, the Hollies became a sanctuary for the most vulnerable. During the early 20 century the tuberculosis pandemic had a grip on the world. The house and the grounds of the Hollies became a place of refuge for the children of Leeds most at risk of contracting TB.
Much is said of the depth of difference in the landscape, and the mysterious beauty that radiates from the lay of the land. Woodland, meadow, water ways and human made quarry are just some of the sights you’ll see in the Hollies. But, there’s something special we can’t quite put our finger on that makes this concoction of landscape so outstanding. Failing that the work of J.R.R. Tolkien will take us that little bit closer. It’s said that much of the vision of Middle Earth was imagined on his walks here. His quote “not all those who wonder are lost” feel embedded in the trails of the Hollies.
There are no toilet or changing facilities at the Hollies.
Food and Drink
A decent bit of grub and a beverage is the perfect finish to a day exploring the Hollies. To the east of the park is our top pick – the Myrtle Tavern. This top rated establishment on Trip Advisor comes with a beer garden AND a “secret garden marquee” for the days you want a little more privacy. If you’re bringing the family you can let the little ones burn off some steam in the children’s play area. Have we mentioned the food yet?… think meat and fish dishes full of sophistication!
A stroll to the west of the Hollies will bring you to the Otley Road roundabout over by West Park. Next to the roundabout is an eatery called Lavanta Mezze Bar & Grill. This restaurant boasts a menu of Mediterranean and European Cuisine that touches on the classic and contemporary influences, from the south of Turkey to the north of England. Take a pick from amazing mezes to wood fired pizzas.
After taking the small sign posted lane off Weetwood Lane into the park grounds you will find the car park on your left (do not go right, this is for residential properties). Follow this road up to the car park large enough for around 10 cars.
Postcode of carpark: LS165NZ (Google Map Link).
The main entrance is on Weetwood Lane, and there is also access from Meanwood Park (over the Beck) and from the Ring Road. Once in the Hollies we advise with caution on a rainy day – many of the trails become more difficult to navigate after rainfall.
How to Get To The HolliesGoogle Map Directions
First Bus Leeds number 28 from the Headrow takes you closest to the Hollies with the nearest bus stop on Weetwood Lane. Once off the bus you’ll have to walk the final 5-minutes to your destination. It’s should take you just under 30-minutes in total.