7 Stunning Autumn Walks in Leeds

· Jessie Randhawa · Culture

Autumn is one of the most picturesque seasons to go exploring.

Swinsty Reservoir

Grab a scarf, button up your coat and wander around the autumnal beauty of Leeds.

From hot drinks that warm your soul to falling conkers on countryside jaunts – autumn is upon us. This is your chance to explore the stunning walks that Leeds has to offer. Will you choose a family-friendly ramble across golden parkland or a scramble for panoramic views of stretching valleys? The choice is yours, but why stop at one when you can try them all?

Swinsty Reservoir

Swinsty Reservoir

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At just three-miles long, Swinsty Reservoir is perfect for families looking for easygoing autumn walks near Leeds. You can soak in the unrestricted views of the reservoir and enjoy glorious reflections of trees cloaked in deep reds, burnt oranges and sublime yellows, as you follow an effortless anti-clockwise route around the lake. When you reach the northernly highest point of the reservoir, take a short climb to enjoy tranquil views of both Swinty and Fewston Reservoirs from the embankment.

The walk starts at Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Car Park, North Lane, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2NP. Check out the route.

Meanwood Valley Trail

Meanwood Valley Trail

Credit: Max Wailes

Wrap up warm and enjoy a woodland ramble through the city on the Meanwood Valley Trail. It stretches over seven miles from Woodhouse Moor to Golden Acre Park but can be split into sections if you’re looking for a shorter walk. Note the cultural and natural history the trail has to offer, from Hustler’s Row to Scotland Mill and all the way up to the Seven Arches. If you’re a fan of J.R.R.Tolkien, look out for The Hollies – a Victorian Woodland Garden rumoured to be a unique source of inspiration for the writer.

The walk starts at the statue of Henry Rowland Marsden, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AP. Check out the route.

Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam

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Autumn walks in Leeds don’t get much better than Temple Newsman. This circular route starts at the Tudor-Jacobean manor, before heading around the park with on an easy ramble that looks out over the 1,500-acre estate. From here, you’ll venture into the woods, passing through The Shrogs, Laurel Hill and Dawson’s as you wander towards Elm and Oak Wood. You can then curve around the Menagerie Ponds, each lake offering something unique, from a cover of foliage to spectacular forest sights.

The walk starts at the car park of the Temple Newsman House, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0BG. Check out the route.

Eccup Reservoir

Eccup Reservoir

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If you fancy a five-mile stroll full of incredible landscapes and scenery, a visit to Eccup Reservoir is a must. This easy circular walk will take you through a sublime tree-lined avenue and follows the path along the Goodrick Plantation. You can enjoy the peaceful woodlands and, if you’re an avid bird-watcher, spot magnificent wildlife passing through for the season. Take a moment to delight in stunning views over the reservoir before you rejoin the flat path and head back towards your starting point.

The walk starts at Alwoodley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 7DJ. Check out the route.

Guiseley Gap Circular

Otley Chevin Surprise View

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Whether you’re a seasoned ambler or simply up for a challenge, the Guiseley Gap Circular will not disappoint. It’s a nine-mile behemoth that starts from the Surprise View at Otley Chevin. On the route, you’ll see the remnants of Mire Beck, an ancient track crossing used to carry supplies of flour and coal. Pass through Parkinson’s Park and soak in the panoramic scenery of Wharfedale and Airedale, before heading back towards the start – but not before climbing from Wills Gill along the beck to Calfhole Wood.

The walk starts at the Surprise View Car Park, Guiseley, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3JL. Check out the route.

Roundhay Park

Roundhay Park

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As one of the biggest city parks in Europe, Roundhay Park boasts an abundance of sights and delights. The Secret Gorge walk is one of the more challenging walks on offer, but it’s one of the best places to see the changing colours of the season. This route will take you past the ruins of Castle Folly before following Great Heads Beck upstream through the natural beauty of the gorge. From here, you’ll circle past the historic Gorge Bridge and wander back towards the castle along the perimeter of the golf course.

The walks start across the park, Princes’ Avenue, Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1DF. Check out the routes.

Calverley

Low Green Farm from Cragg Wood, Rawdon

Credit: Stephen Craven licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

You can explore the beauty of Calverley on this three-and-a-half-mile circular walk as you follow tracks that appeared on old tithe maps of Rawdon and Horsforth. The first main sight is the remains of a weir and the old Calverley Mill, originally built in 1710. But the highlight is a trail of Cragg Wood – an ancient woodland paradise with a charming maze of wall-lined gunnels. This autumnal walk offers scenic rivers and a woodland paradise before it concludes where it began, by the canalside at Horsforth.

The walk starts at Thornhill Drive, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5QW. Check out the route.

Cover image © Copyright Yorkshire Photo Walks licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.