Maps: OS Landranger 104; Explorer 289
Start: Leeds Town Hall (297338)
Finish: Kiddal Lane End (401396)
Distance: 12.0 miles
Going: The longest single section of the Trail; contains some minor undulations
Natural England NCA: 38 (Notts, Derbys, Yorkshire Coalfield) and 30 (Southern Magnesian Limestone)
Special interest: Temple Newsam Country Park, Barwick in Elmet
Apart from the last walk (Reighton to Bridlington) this is the only section of the Coastliner Way Trail that is over 10 miles in length but there is a short cut escape which can reduce the distance by about two miles. The relatively long distance is dictated by the need to ensure access to bus stops along the A64 road. For those who do not know Leeds very well, the following detailed directions should be helpful.
Starting from Leeds Town Hall, perhaps the most iconic of the city’s central public buildings, walk east along The Headrow to the Quarry Hill roundabout (A) in front of the West Yorkshire Playhouse theatre. Bearing right and staying on the right hand side, follow the main road past the city bus terminus (including the Coastliner bus) and under the railway arch. Very soon the road divides; do not keep on ahead over the brow of Crown Point Bridge but instead cross left over the road to Merchants Quay and continue on to the intersection at (B).
Still on the right hand side of the road (now a dual carriage way) walk to the pedestrian lights soon after the Rose Wharf development (C). Cross over here and, noting the cycle route indicator for Cross Green, turn right. Soon the road splits; take the left fork and not the branch heading to ‘The North, Selby, York and the M1’. Then by the traffic lights at the rather complicated intersection, turn left; cross immediately; turn right; go over another road and follow Cross Green Lane (D) which is part of Cycle Route 66. From now on, navigation is much more straightforward.
The route bends round in front of the houses to the junction point at (E). Crossing over and bearing slightly to the right, continue along the signed cycleway for about 3/4 mile to (F). Here the track known as Halton Moor Road carries on before doing a sharp right angle turn at (G) alongside a ploughed field. Suddenly it seems as if we are in the countryside. It’s still Cycle Route 66 but the tarmac has disappeared.
There is soon an abrupt left turn (H) and now the bridleway goes just inside the edge of Halton Moor Wood. It then becomes the Temple Newsam Bridle Path and at the road carries straight on ahead, adjacent to the tarmac before bending left (I). Keeping left along the side of one car park, it then goes along the edge of North Plantation to a second car park (J) near the end of the wood. Leaving the trees through the old estate boundary wall (just by the two gatehouse lodges) a permitted bridleway continues parallel alongside the road to the junction at (K).
Be careful here. Cross the road and, following the sign for Colton, investigate the Millennium stone in the field enclosure. Walk for about 30 m on the tarmac cycle track but then be sure to branch off left on another cycleway. This pleasant track comes to a suburban road. Staying on the left side of the road, go left to the busy roundabout; stay left and take the second exit to the pedestrian crossing (L). Cross over and then follow Whitkirk Lane directly ahead.
At the bend (M), leave the road and take the footpath on the left side of the hedge, next to the ditch. At (N) there is a problem. The path going straight on is closed because of the extensive excavation and construction work being carried out. However, plentiful signage makes the changed route clear. Turn sharp right and use the path below the old embankment. It goes through the banking and then turns left at the business park to the roundabout at (O). Bearing right, cross the road and use the wide bridleway that hugs the advertising boarding above the road level. The track swings round and along to the Leeds Country Way (LCW) at (P) where the LCW crosses over the M1 Motorway. Turn left, relax, and forget about navigational problems for the next few miles because the trail, waymarked with an owl symbol, is much clearer. It’s more attractive as well.
At Shippen House Farm (Q), go left, then right. Cross Cock Beck (R) and curve round on Bog Lane to the track crossing at (S). Go right (it’s still the LCW) to Leeds Road. Bear right to join the main road and go immediately left to the point where the LCW turns off right to Barwick in Elmet (T). It’s now decision time.
If you really feel you’ve had enough, it is possible to stay on the road through Scholes and catch the bus on the A64 at Scholes Lane End (U) – it’s a little over a mile away. However, remember that if you choose this option you will need to retrace your steps next time in order to pick up where you left off and do a short walk of about 4.5 miles or so to Kiddal Lane End.
On the other hand, if you are game to continue, leave the road at (T) and follow field edges into Barwick (V). (On the way into the village, note the four houses built in 2016 from sparkling Magnesian Limestone by two local builders. In fact, they chose to use Magnesian Limestone obtained from near Doncaster as they believe that is rather superior to the stone from nearby Tadcaster quarries. But the dazzling, clean appearance shows why this rock has been so much in demand as an attractive building material in England.)
Continue to Main Street and go left to the village centre with its replica cross and huge maypole. (There are still two miles to walk but if you need sustenance, the Black Swan advertises that it ‘Welcome Walkers and Cyclists’.) Turn left at the maypole and make sure to visit the site of the motte and bailey castle next to the Methodist Chapel and then, coming down from the site, turn left along The Boyle. Going down the hill, turn right at the first of two signed paths. This looks as if it is going into a house but the path goes to the right of the driveway gates and twists round the hillside to join Potterton Lane (W). Turn left on this lane.
Follow the road to the T-junction at (X) and here go left along Kiddal Lane to the A64 and the Coastliner bus stops.
The Coastliner Way starts in Leeds which lies at the northern end of the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire Coalfield (NCA 38). Here deposits of coal and iron, along with adequate supplies of water, brought mass industrialisation and urban blight to the area. Nevertheless, at Temple Newsam, valuable open green areas can be found on land that has been reclaimed from the ravages of opencast coal mining.
After a very colourful history dating back to the Domesday Book, part of the Temple Newsam Estate was compulsorily purchased by Leeds Corporation at the beginning of the 20th century to build a sewage plant and opencast coal mining commenced at the edge of the park. Then in 1922 Edward Wood sold the park and house to Leeds Corporation for a nominal sum, placing covenants over them to ensure their preservation for the future. www.britishpathe.com/video/open-cast-mining gives a good picture of the coal mining around 1947.
Today the house and estate are owned by Leeds City Council and are open to the public. The estate includes woodland (the second largest part of the Forest of Leeds) many areas of which join on to the surrounding estates of Leeds. There are facilities for sports including football, golf, running, cycling, horse-riding and orienteering. There is also a children’s play park. The local football team, Colton Juniors, play on the football pitches surrounding the house.
Temple Newsam House is a Grade I listed building, defined as a ‘building of outstanding or national architectural or historic interest’. The stables are Grade II* listed (‘particularly significant buildings of more than local interest’), and ten separate features of the estate are Grade II listed (‘buildings of special architectural or historic interest’), including the Sphinx Gates and the Barn. Temple Newsam House is one of Leeds Museums and Galleries sites and has an international reputation for scholarship and research, unusual in a local authority museum service. When interviewed on Front Row, Radio 4, in November 2004 Mark Fisher placed Temple Newsam House in the top three non-national museums in the country.
The Home Farm, open to the public, has a barn built in 1694 and is the largest working rare breeds farm in Europe and only one of 16 nationally approved by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Breeds include Gloucester, Kerry, Irish Moiled, Red Poll, White Park, British White, Beef Shorthorn, Vaynol and Belted Galloway cattle; Kerry Hill, Whitefaced Woodland and Portland sheep, and Golden Guernsey goats. The farm was targeted by arsonists in the late 2000s with damage caused to a stable. Some animals were injured but the majority were saved.
The gardens are extensive with a celebrated rhododendron walk and six national plant collections: Aster novi-belgii (Michaelmas daisies), Phlox paniculata, Delphinium elatum (Cultivars), Solenostemon scutellarioides (sys. Coleus blumei), Primula auricula and Chrysanthemum (Charm and Cascade cultivars).
Events at Temple Newsam include Party in the Park and Opera in the Park. These take place on the grassed area which slopes down at the front of the house. An amphitheatre near the stables block is used for occasional open-air theatre performances and the fields to the north of the Home Farm are used for various events such as Steam Fairs and Dog Shows. Other events include the Leeds Waggy Walk for Dogs Trust and the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK.
Barwick in Elmet
Wendell Hill in the village is a Scheduled Ancient Monument containing two earthworks. Firstly, there is an Iron Age Hillfort and within that is the location of a Norman castle. Little is known about the hillfort which is believed to have been built sometime after 800 BC. The motte and bailey Norman Castle was constructed as an administrative centre after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It has traditionally been called the ‘Hall Tower’ and was thought to have been a Saxon Palace, perhaps the seat of the Kings of Elmet, until its earlier origins became clear. In the Second World War the top of the mound, with clear views to the east, was used as an observation post by the Royal Observer Corps.
Barwick’s Maypole raising is apparently an exciting business, attracting large crowds. Every three years the maypole (about 27 metres high) is raised and traditionally a villager has climbed it in order to spin the fox at the top. The next pole raising is scheduled for spring 2017. ‘Barwick Green’, the signature tune for BBC Radio’s ‘The Archers’ programme, was inspired by the maypole celebrations at Barwick in Elmet.