Words & Photos: Mark Stevenson
Park Spring is an ancient woodland just off of Wood Lane in Farnley. It may well get its name from all the springs in the area.
For the most part, the land was owned by the Earl of Cardigan in the 1800’s and parts of its natural woodland dates back to at least the 1600’s.
Even on a cold, misty and muddy day, it was an interesting place to walk around.
Traces of its past can be seen everywhere, pretty much as soon as you walk in through the gate you can see the remains of the Park Spring Quarry with quarried stones left dotted about on the surface.
Follow the path and you will then come to a fork. Look to your right you will see some steps. Go down these and you will shortly come to a bridge (it was here that I saw two possible mink like creatures) that crosses Farnley Beck.
I crossed the bridge and followed the path which wasn’t the best idea because it just took me back up to Pudsey Road.
You might say that it was a blessing in disguise, finding my way back into Park Spring was easy enough and the views I might otherwise have missed were worth the detour.
Walk up Pudsey Road and you will notice a group of buildings just off to the left. The buildings used to be Hough Side Farm. Follow the path at the side of the buildings and just keep heading downhill and you will eventually come back to the beck.
Here the beck is called Pudsey Beck (same beck as Farnley) depending on where you live along the beck its name changes – Pudsey, Farnley, Wortley, Low and Hol Beck.
It was the deposition of silt by the Hol Beck and nearby Sheepscar Beck from the North that led to a fording place and a small community which eventually grew into the town of Leeds.
So you could say West Leeds had a hand in the creation of Leeds (or am I stretching it a bit far?).
When you get to the beck you will notice some stepping stones.
I found these easy enough to cross, even on a cold and wet day. Cross the beck and follow the path straight on in front of you and eventually, you will come to Post Hill.
The hill takes its name from the fact that the Yorkshire Evening Post acquired the area and sponsored motorcycle, speed and climbing events on the site from 1926.
The views from the top are well worth the climb. Just be careful if you want to come back down the same way as you went up as I did.
I wonder how much the view has changed since the Romans, who were once up there, viewed it. Roman coins were found further up at the top in 1910. Did the same Roman who lost his money along the river in Burley lose his money here too?
During the Second World War, the area was used as a Prisoner of War Camp – mainly for Italian prisoners – and when the War ended refugees used it for a while. There was also an anti-aircraft gun there.
At the bottom of the hill, there is a track that runs alongside the beck. I walked along this and came across some manhole covers that had the date 1932 on but I could not make out the company name.
As you walk along you will come back to the bridge you crossed earlier so carry on walking along the track as you pass the bridge.
Now, as best as I could make it out, the track you would now be walking on is the Old Mill Race which dates back to at least the 1840’s. Then again it could just be to the left or to the right of the track, as I cannot quite work it out.
As you walk along the old mill race/track you will notice some ‘ponds’. It was around about here that there was a Dutch Dame (as it is spelt on the map). Even in the 1840’s it was considered old. In the 1600’s Dutch engineers were working around the country on our watercourses. Maybe they are connected?
The fact that when I had finished the walk I had done a circle was ‘more by accident than by design’ as I just took whichever path looked the most interesting.
I have provided a map to go with the walk that you may find helpful. I use this particular map site because it is free and user friendly. Simply follow the link here.
Discover more West Leeds history through Mark’s History column here.