Size:

7.58 ha (18.73 acres)

Grid reference:

SE197373

Map reference:

Explorer 288

OS Landranger 104

Once the garden of an impressive Victorian house, West Wood is a site with lots of quirky secrets to uncover.

Look out for an old walled garden, hidden grottoes, and many more historical features. The vibrant history of the site, including an explosion in a firework factory, all add to the charm of West Wood. Today, the serene woodland is a haven for woodland birds whose songs fill the summer air.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to West Wood

West Wood is a 7.6-hectare (18.7-acre) site in the Aire Valley, between Shipley and Pudsey, and on the edge of the suburbs of Bradford. Close to the village of Calverley, it links with its bigger neighbour Calverley Wood and, together with Lodge Wood, forms a large area of woodland.

From Leeds, follow Woodhouse Lane (A660) for about 4.8km (3 miles) to a roundabout. There, take the first exit onto Ring Road West Park (A6120). Continue along the A6120 for about 5.6km (3.5 miles), heading straight over two roundabouts. At the third roundabout, take the fourth exit onto Rodley Lane (A657) and carry on for 1.6km (1 mile) to Calverley. West Wood is to the north of the village.

The nearest railway station is New Pudsey, which is about 4km (2.5 miles) to the south of West Wood. The station is on the Calder Valley Line, which connects Leeds and Manchester.

Visit National Rail for more information.

A number of bus services run along Carr Road (A657) and stop in Calverley, which is a short walk from West Wood.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

Access to the wood from the south is via Clara Drive, which runs off the main A657 road between Shipley and Leeds. Access from the north is via Parkin Lane and Eleanor Drive (pedestrian and bridleway use only), which link to the A658 at Apperley Bridge.

Within West Wood there are no rights of way, but there are many paths throughout the woodland that are well-used by the public. There is no circular path – the main path runs through the wood east-west. Some of them have steep sections and there is a flight of stone steps, which can be slippery when wet.

Roadside parking is available at Apperley Bridge and at Parkin Lane.

There is a public toilet at the Morrisons supermarket on Bradford Road, Greengates, just west of Calverley.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

West Wood is a great place to spot a wide range of woodland bird species. During the summer, the wood echoes with songs of the willow warbler and wood warbler.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and wildlife

West Wood is ancient woodland but has changed significantly over the centuries, having been planted as a woodland garden for Champion House, a Victorian property. Luckily, many of the planted trees were native species and the canopy is dominated by mature oak. The woodland floor has sadly lost many of its ancient woodland indicator species, but the wood is still lit up by bluebells in the spring.

Look out for:

Habitats

The ancient woodland at West Wood is a particularly important local habitat as Yorkshire has low tree cover.

History of West Wood

West Wood formed part of the grounds of Champion House, a Victorian property situated on the southern edge of the wood that was once owned by the Garnett family. The woodland garden contained a number of features, the remains of which can be seen today. These include a walled kitchen garden, a cottage, a large pond that was used as a swimming pool, grottoes and a number of pathways and steps.

Other uses

Over the years, the wood has served some more unusual purposes. During the Second World War it was used as a training area for troops preparing to take part in the Normandy landing.

There is some earlier evidence of small-scale quarries being operated at West Wood, possibly to supply raw materials for local buildings and walls.

In the 1950s, the wood housed a firework factory, a venture which came to an end after a large explosion.

Early purple orchids

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do in West Wood

Walking

A 100km (62-mile) trail called the Leeds Country Way passes through West Wood.

A visit to West Wood can also be combined with a walk along the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which passes close by at Apperley Bridge. Find out more at Canal & River Trust.

West Wood - Management plan

Download

West Wood Management Plan

PDF  (125 KB)