Mark’s History: A winter’s walk around Park Spring, Post Hill and Pudsey Road

post hill woods
The entrance to Post Hill woods, part of the West Leeds Country Park trail. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

View of Gamble Hill flats from Post Hill woods. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

Quarried stone on the banks of the beck. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

A skatepark off Pudsey Road, as you walk back into the woods. Photo: Mark Stevenson
The path to Pudsey Road, looking up at the new South Side Ridge development. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

Bridge over the swollen beck. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

These stepping stones at Pudsey Beck were laid by the Friends of Post Hill group. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

Post Hill. Known by some locally as the ‘Roman road’ which, of course, it isn’t! Photo: Mark Stevenson.

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. 

View from the top of the quarry, looking over towards Pudsey. You can clearly see Acres Hall flats, Crawshaw Academy and Pudsey Parish Church in the distance. Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

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.

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  1. Try to follow any article by Mark Stevenson,all thing historic,always feel part of ,even though Iam not familiar with the area,or perhaps he is discribing something not familiar or new to me .Always appreciate the ground work ,to provide good journalism

  2. Did part of this walk in the summer lockdown & came across the skateboard park but was totally unable to understand what it was.Decided it was a wartime tank training ground or something similar.Kind of off the beaten track even with Pudsey Rd.only a hundred yards or so away.Looking at an old Ordnance Survey map of Bramley(1906)which sadly only has a little of the walk on,there is a Park Spring Mill opposite the wooden bridge,on the South side of the Beck.Amazingly there is a cricket ground,just off left of Pudsey Rd.if you walk up to PR,turn left & walk a few hundred yards.Hard to realise the lives our forebears had to deal with.


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