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Walks in Leeds - Great walks within an hour of the city centre

Sometimes you just need to blow the cobwebs away, right?
Get out in the fresh air and feel the wind on your face? The great news is, there are so many walks in Leeds, you’re spoiled for choice!

We all know that walking is good for us, health experts offer all sorts of advice around when we should walk and for how long, to reap the maximum benefits. Micheal Moseley even says “It’s also a good idea to make your walk as brisk as possible because when you do that it increases the impact by about 50 percent.”

In my opinion though, the best reason to go out for a walk is because it’s good fun! Nature can be breath-taking, even when the weather isn’t great. If you get wrapped up and you’ve got a comfy pair of boots, a walk can make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated and that cup of tea when you get back home tastes like heaven!

If you’re looking for walks in Leeds there are lots to choose from right on the doorstep, and there are even more to explore if you go a little further afield. I’ve put together a few walks that are less than an hours drive out away from the city centre, but I think they are worth it. So, if you think you might like to get out for a walk this weekend, here are a few great spots around Leeds for you to try.

March 1, 2022


Eccup Reservoir

This is a great spot for nature watching. The reintroduced Red Kites can often be seen circling above the trees, they’re such an impressive sight and the area is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest particularly for birds.
Eccup village itself is so quaint and pretty, it’s the highlight of this walk for me. Wear good shoes as the route can get muddy and there are a couple of stiles too.

There’s plenty of on-road parking and the route is approximately 4.5 miles.
Eccup reservoir is approximately a 20 minute drive from Leeds City Centre
On-street parking is available on Alwoodley Lane, LS17 7PF.
What 3 words /// cool.became.bath

Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs

In the award-winning Yorkshire Dales National Park, Swinsty reservoir and Fewston reservoir can be walked together on paths maintained by the water authority. This makes a good accessible trip of just over 6 miles in the gorgeous Washburn Valley and there are toilets and proper car-parking facilities available here. If you are looking for a shorter walk, you could tackle them individually – Swinsty is about 3 miles on it’s own and Fewston is about 4.

The Swinsty car park often has an ice-cream van with the most amazing local ice-cream!
Swinsty is approximately a 40 minute drive from Leeds City Centre
Car parks are at Smithsons Lane, what 3 words ///hazel.engraving.gains
and North Lane, what 3 words ///dazzling.nesting.blueberry

Lower Laithe Reservoir

Another reservoir in the heart of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, the route around Lower Laithe reservoir takes in the inspirational Bronte waterfall. There are a few spots for on road parking to join this walk, which is about a 3.5-mile route. It’s not suitable for pushchairs or those with mobility issues as there is quite a steep climb up to Wuthering Heights, but the views are incredible! For me, winter is the best time to take this reservoir trail, you are more likely to see Emily Bronte’s beloved waterfall in full swell – it almost disappears during the dry weather!
Lower Laithe is approximately a 45 minute drive from Leeds City Centre
Parking on Main Road, what 3 words ///grid.brief.rivals
And you can find the waterfall at what 3 words ///redefined.denote.fewest

Scammonden Reservoir

This is such a beautiful walk, it’s lovely to see the boats out on the water at the sailing club, and a special treat if you’re there on a race day! It’s approximately 3 miles, but you can make this walk a bit more special and hike up to Deanshead reservoir, it’s well worth the effort because the views out over the valley are spectacular.

Scammonden reservoir is approximately a 35 minute drive from Leeds City Centre
Parking is on Low Platt Lane, what 3 words ///emeralds.drop.silks

Surprise View Otley Chevin

Chevin Forest Park is a great place to walk, especially if you’ve got dogs. There are miles of forest to explore, you can make the walk as long or as short as you like.
You’ll need weather appropriate clothes and shoes, and make sure you look out for the wooden sculptures that are dotted throughout. On a clear day you can see Ingleborough, the highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales.

Chevin Forest Park is approximately a 25 minute drive from Leeds city centre
There are 2 car parks on York Gate, what 3 words ///

More information

Yorkshire Water have printable PDFs of the walks in Leeds that are around reservoirs, and The Woodland Trust can offer more information on Chevin Forest, see the Handy Links below. I hope I’ve inspired you to try some walks in Leeds!

Thanks for reading

Handy links list

No additional resources provided

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March 1, 2022