Thursday, 2 May 2013

Following the Leeds Country Way from Golden Acre Park

Having walked part of the Leeds Country way through Harewood Estate previously and the parts to the northern parts of Leeds being the nicest so far I decided to go out and try do around 25 miles from Golden Acre Park. The intention was to literally walk out of the park for 12 or so miles then about heel and walk back the way I came, whilst its the same route I suppose its a bit of a different perspective as you're looking the other way. This was also the first walk of me ditching the Merrell Mid Moab boots and I was going to give my new Keen Targhee Mid boots (review soon) a run for their money and try to break them in.

On the day this ended up being something completely different to the plan, we'd had friends over for dinner the night before resulting in somewhat of a stinking hangover - 8 miles was looking unlikely at the outset.

Anyway with the best if intentions I left the car park at Golden Acre Park and headed for the underpass to the park, there is a bridge here which goes straight on and doesn't in fact go under the road, this is signed with the Owl and L.C.W. for the Leeds Country Way. The hiking trail takes you into some woodland and to a T-Junction where you head to the right continuing through the woodland. This hadn't disappointed, already it was pretty scenic. The hiking trail takes you over another bridge over a stream and you continue to the right for a few hundred yards to a mad made pond. This is all very well signed and before long you're out of the wood and onto bridleways across fields. There are a few houses about half way along the path.

At the end you should turn left - I didn't and wasted a mile but no matter it was all very pleasant. The mile removed and back on track the track led you past a farm and past a golf course.

At the main road the Leeds Country Way head to the right for a few hundred yards until you start to leave suburbia at which point you immediately take a left which leads down a path running along the back of the houses.

This eventually leads to an unsealed road running alongside a cricket pitch. I skirted around the cricket pitch taking a left at the first opportunity.

I followed this road for some time, well until it finished actually. I meandered past various houses and stables until the road descended towards a pedestrian railway bridge, constructed many many moons ago. Over the bridge the hiking trail went through some buildings which were also built many mnpan moons ago and had seen better days. The houses however were still lived in.

Just past the houses and there was a style to the left which took you along a hedgerow to another style. I was questioning my navigation skills at this point but I kept firing straight on and it turned out I was right. I arrived at another set of stables with some people riding horses, it was all very horsey out here.

Heading around the riding ground (or whatever you call them) to the left, the path brings you out among the houses where you head up the hill and you arrive at the main road.

Crossing directly over the road you go over a style and along a private road. I got pretty baffled around here as the map didn't seem to correlate to reality. I firstly followed the road until it went no further and signs suggested police patrolled this area - go no further. Pretty serious stuff. The eerie masts I'd never seen before suggested this was the airport, the map confirmed this. The Leeds Country Way keeps surprising and this appeared like something out of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, all very interesting.

Leeds Bradord Airport Masts on the Leeds Country Way
Leeds Bradford Airport Masts
I backtracked and crossed a style now to my right (I passed it on my left heading up the hill). I wasn't much better off now. I kind of moseyed round a touch aimlessly. Until I went with my initial conviction and headed alongside the road until it ended and I carried on through a couple of electric fence gates in the field. This opened up into fields with more horses in, boy they love their horse around here...

The path was a bit hazy round here and I did more miles then necessary. The path actually follows the far side of a hedge that appears in the middle of the field and heads into woodland by the hedge.

I stopped here to examine my feet as I was feeling the pinch in the ball of my feet on my left foot. It was a recurring issue from the last time I wore my Merrell Moam Mid boots but seemed ok.

This was heavy going and parts were boggy at best more like marshy in places and slowed things considerably. Again it was pleasant though. The hiking trail emerged out of the wood opposite Leeds Trinity University.

Woodland on Leeds Country Way
The path continues between two hedges between Leeds Trinity sports fields and the campus. When they emerge you should go straight up the hill with the all weather pitches on your left, I didn't I went round them but rejoined the path which heads off to the left.

Leeds Country Way through Leeds Trinity University
Path through Leeds Trinity University
Not 100 yards later there is a turn to the right through a snicket which is the route to take. This then leads into a woodland. The path through here is well marked. Before long you emerge to some fairly impressive views with a bench to soak it in, I had no time to soak anything in due to all the lost miles meandering aimlessly. The path on the wood descends to a bridge which appeared to be by a school.

View from the Leeds Country Way
View from the Leeds Country Way
It was here that, at 4:00 I decided it was time to head home due to time constraints. With the iPod now firing me home and with no wasted miles I did the exact same route albeit without the wasted distance and was back at the car for 5:30, not sure what my average time would have been but the blisters suggested it must have been pretty quick. This part of the Leeds Country Way didn't disappoint - it was superb.

Golden Acre Park on the Leeds Country Way
Walk home through Golden Acre Park


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