At the back of Kirkstall Morrisons is a very Georgian walk, writes Mark Stevenson.
You have a very rare Georgian mill that was state-of-the-art when it first opened in the 1830’s (it had inside flushing toilets), along with the remains of a pump house, goits and various other little gems.
Surprisingly – considering how old and rare these structures are – none of them are listed.
Did I mention there is a pebble ‘beach’ along the way as well? Here’s the map of our walk:
There is a little car park at the junction at Savin Mills Way and Commercial Road. If you look at the far corner of it you will see a kissing gate (1). This is where you start the short walk.
Go through the gate and keep the water on your right all the way along the walk. The first stretch of water you come across is the old Mill Race (2). This is a good place to spot Kingfishers.
As you walk along the footpath you will notice a pylon (3). This is roughly the site of a congregational chapel, you can still see the gate posts on the main road.
Once you reach the end of the Mill Race you will come to a road. If you turn right it will take you to St Ann’s Mills (4), the rare Georgian mill I mentioned earlier.
If you go to look at this just come back to the end of the Mill Race and look directly across the road and you will see a footpath leading off into the trees.
Follow the footpath and eventually you will come to the ruins of the pumphouse (5) and the remains of other structures. You can’t but fail to hear the noise of the weir (6).
This area is well worth exploring and near the weir is a recently built fish pass, of which you will see more being built over the next few years to help with the re-introduction of salmon to this part of the River Aire.
This is where the pebble ‘beach’ (7) is. If you are lucky you might also see deer in the trees opposite.
You have to walk back on yourself from here as the trees become impassable a little further down the river bank.
More information on the history of the area is available here.
Read more on West Leeds’ history in our regular Mark’s History column here.