Water Haigh Woodland Park

Woodland and water habitat that will keep all the family engaged with walks and nature spotting.


Water Haigh Woodland Park is nature reserve maintained by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and managed by Leeds City Council.

This stunning country park is perfect place to spot wildlife and go for walks.

Location Details

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Things to Note

Water Haigh Woodland Park has the following on-site or nearby:

  • Disabled Parking
  • Dog Waste Bins
  • Nearby Food & Drink
  • Nearby Shops
  • Pushchair Access
  • Rubbish Bins
  • Wheelchair Access


Woodlesford is a suburban village 6-miles south-east from Leeds city centre. The village is nestled on the banks of the Aire and Calder rivers near the town of Rothwell.

Things to Do


There are over 14-kilometres of Public Rights of Way paths around the area. Many of these criss-cross Water Haigh Woodland making it an attractive place to visit for walkers and cyclists.

Out of the various trails, one of the most appealing for a family is the 5-kilometre loop that goes parallel to the River Aire. If this is too much of a stretch you can adjust it to an out and back at half the distance. And to break it up you can stop off at Woodlesford Lock and Lemonroyd Marina.

If you’re wondering if this is a long walk? We’ve done it and it’s an ideal walk for a beginner and shouldn’t take you longer than 1 hour and 30-minutes.

Dog Walking

Dog walking is welcomed at Water Haigh Woodland Park, but please keep your pooch on a leash at all times while visiting.

Trans-Pennine Trail

Water Haigh Woodland Park connects to the Trans-Pennine trail by the edge of the River Aire. You can continue your adventure from the park and follow it north-west or south. Checkout the full TPT interactive online map.

Lemonroyd Waterside & Marina

This part of the river has a fully operational lock and a mooring area for barges, making it a great spot to watch the boats come though. There is also a barge café for drinks and refreshments. For more info check-out the Lemonroyd Waterside Marina website.

Find the Fairies in Eshald Wood

The small woodland of Eshald can be found next to Eshald Lane. You can escape the open spaces and discover what wildlife awaits you under the canopy. An adventure that is perfect for the little ones. Walk over footbridges and get lost amongst the trees. If you look closely you might spot painted rocks and fairy doors left by these mythical beings.

Coronation Meadows

In 2013 as part of the Queens 60th coronation celebration, a donation of widlflower seeds – donated by Brockadale nature reserve – were given to Water Haigh Woodland. These were duly scattered and planted; what we have now is the beautiful Coronation Meadows, which has increased the natural habitat, making new homes for butterflies and bees.

Bird Watching

The park is home – permanent and temporary – to over 100 species of birds; making this green space a bird watchers paradise. To be exact there have been 129 different types of birds recorded at Water Haigh Woodland. For a full list head over to Landscape Britain.


With lots of interconnected natural habitats on land and water, you’re firmly in a hot spot of animal activity.

Often, Common Buzzards, Red Kites, Cormorants and Grey Herons can be seen flying over; while keeping your sights closer to the ground, where you might see harvest mice and roe deer.

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Following decades of coal mining along the valley of the River Aire the area was left with lots of old collieries, like Water Haigh Colliery that closed in 1970.

At the end of the 1970s work began to transform the former colliery into a green oasis. As a result we’re left with the multi-functional green habitat of the Lower Aire Valley.

Water Haigh Woodland is a part of this, more specifically a plantation of hedgerows, grasslands and wetlands to assist connectivity of the valley.


The nearest public toilet is a 5-minute walk away at the Midland Hotel Woodlesford.

There are dog and rubbish waste bins in the park.

Food and Drink

There are up to 10 different food and drink options – ranging from takeaways, to cafes, to sit down meals – in a 10-minute radius on the A642. Wonder down this main road in Oulton and take your pick.


On the river side you can park for free in the Fleet Lane car park (Google Map Directions) – an ideal place to start with a canal walk.

Alternatively, you can park in the laybys on Eshald Lane (Google Map Directions)


Accessibility is mixed because the walkways are mainly trails.

In wet weather these can become middy and boggy making it an uneven surface for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

As a result Water Haigh Woodland is limited for a wheelchair user.

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