A Sunday Afternoon Walk Along the Canal At Horsforth, Leeds

Spring is in the air and it’s a bright cool day so I decided I needed a walk. Horsforth is a nice suburb of Leeds but it’s not all houses. You can, as any Horsforth resident will tell you, find some nice rural views and at the same time take in a bit of local history. For those that know the area here is the route I took.

I headed down Newlay Lane and towards the River Aire.  When you reach the river there is a footbridge called Pollard Bridge. I took this photograph and you will see it’s very old. The plaque says it was built in 1819 by John Pollard. I can remember driving across this bridge which was a short cut between Horsforth and Bramley, but it was closed to traffic many years ago.

Pollard Bridge Horsforth

After you cross the river you head up the hill towards the Leeds/Liverpool canal and then I walked along the canal towpath towards Calverley. There are plenty of interesting sights. I took a photograph of some canal boats moored up. The route along this part of the Leeds/Liverpool canal is quite rural and you are actually walking between the canal and the River Aire. The canal towpath winds past old industrial buildings and several canal side houses. You also walk past a nature reserve.

Canal boats at Horsforth, March 2009.

As the crow flies Liverpool is about 60 miles from Leeds, however, if you were to go by canal boat, cycle it or even walk it using the canal or the towpath you would end up travelling 122 miles ! I haven’t personally measured it but to prove it I took a photograph of the mile marker which is on this part of the Leeds/Liverpool canal.

Horsforth walk March 2009 003

Eventually the canal towpath reaches the Leeds outer ring road. Steps lead up to the road and then the traffic noise hits you and it’s a constant stream of cars. You go from relative calm to one of the busiest roads in Leeds. When you walk up the Leeds ring road towards the roundabout at the A65 you realise how fast cars are travelling, especially going up the hill.

This is a photo I took of the River Aire from the bridge on the Leeds outer ring. It is one of the busiest roads in Leeds but this picture makes it look quite rural.

River Aire at Horsforth Ring Road

You also cross the Leeds to Ilkley railway line at this point. It’s good to get out and walk around your local urban area. You notice things that you don’t see whilst driving. One of the things that struck me was the amount of litter. Plastic bags, cans, plastic bottles and even carrier bags full of rubbish that lazy people have just dumped. It’s appalling. All this rubbish looks like it has been there years which begs the question as to who is responsible for cleaning it up.

This is the Leeds outer ring road. It is one of the busiest roads in Leeds with a constant stream of traffic, although this photograph that I took doesn’t really show the amount of traffic that this road has.

Horsforth Ring Road, March 2009.

I took  photos of some of the litter and rubbish that I saw, but they don’t show the full extent of the problem.

Horsforth, near Leeds litter problem

2 thoughts on “A Sunday Afternoon Walk Along the Canal At Horsforth, Leeds

  1. I was born in Horsforth in 1950 and we lived on Newlaithes Road until moving to Harrogate in 1967 (my father had been born in Horsforth in 1912 and my grandmother lived on Hall Lane)
    I well remember the walk you did and in those days the canal was only used for freight and was quite neglected. Our favourite game as children was to jump across the gap in the lock gates as they were opening and closing
    We used to continue to walk up Bramley Lane to go swimming at Bramley Baths after school
    One of the industrial buildings you mention would have been owned by Smiths of Rodley (the crane and weighbridge makers) and my father recalls in the war seeing a weighbridge made by them on the border between Israel (then Palestine) and Syria !

    Regards, Marcia

    1. Thanks for your comments Marcia. I’m glad my article brought back good memories for you. I remember Bramley Baths very well having been many times. It was one of those swimming pools where the changing cubicles were actually by the swimming pool itself. The walk along the canal from Newlay to Rodley is lovely and it can get busy at weekends with both walkers and cyclists. The route as you well know takes you past some beautiful parts of Leeds and sometimes you wouldn’t know that you are close to the centre of Leeds!

Thanks for reading - I would love to hear your comments.