Lemonroyd Marina is one of Leeds’ best kept secrets! Not only can you enjoy some fantastic walking and cycling along the canal, but it’s on the doorstep of St Aidan’s Nature Reserve, Water Haigh Woodland Park, as well as being positioned on the Transpennine Trail too. Here are some suggestions of family walks and bike rides that you can start from here (and they’re all mostly road free).
Getting to Lemonroyd Marina & Parking: In Woodlesford, follow Fleet Lane to almost as far as you can go! Once you get past the Football club, the road narrows. Continue it under the railway bridge, over Lemonroyd Bridge, and you’ll find parking round the next corner, just in front of the bird hide.
Facilities at Lemonroyd Marina: Other than parking there are no permanent facilities at the marina. Two boats are often moored there that offer refreshments;
Brigantia Ices is positioned at the entrance of the Marina, and offers hot drinks and hot donuts! Winner!!! Hot dogs and snacks are also available, please refer to the Facebook page for opening details.
Shanti Tea Boat moors between Woodlesford and Castleford. Look at her Facebook page to see where she is and opening details. Try her home-baked cakes, they’re amazing!
If you’re walking around St Aidan’s, toilet facilities and refreshments are available at the visitor centre. Local pubs and cafes within walking distance include Woodlesford’s Midland Hotel and the newly opened Two Pointers. At Methley you can head to The Boundary House or the child-friendly Rivers Meet Cafe. There is a picnic area along the canal (on the parking side) as you approach Woodlesford.
Family Walks from Lemonroyd Marina
Perhaps the most popular option is to walk down one side of the canal to the popular Woodlesford Lock (home of the Gruffalo carving), before crossing the canal and returning on the otherside. Be aware that the North side of the canal involves crossing a busy road (although there is a petition to re-open the canal path on this side). There are lots of options to veer off the canal too (see below for Water Haigh Woodland Park), or extending the walk by continuing past Woodlesford Lock to the next lock (Fishpond Lock) below Rothwell Country Park.
If you head in the other direction, you can walk up to Methley Bridge (Shaun House Bridge), cross the river and return on the other side. To visit Rivers Meet cafe, pop off the track and cross the railway crossing. The cafe is just round the corner. You also have the option to extend this walk to the next bridge at Mickletown (Caroline Bridge) or into St Aidans, see this walk.
St Aidans Nature Reserve
What a fantastic place that we have here in Leeds. From the carpark, walk a little way back on the road and you’ll see the signposted path on your left (before the bridge), follow this and you’ll soon see the bridge over the River Aire that takes you to St Aidans. There are lots of routes that you can enjoy here, and it’s mostly bike friendly if you want to walk alongside your children on their bikes. Have a look at the reserve map here to plan your route. Please remember by parking here and not in the reserve car park, they aren’t enjoying the benefit of you parking charges so consider spending money in the visitor centre or donating.
Water Haigh Woodland Park
Enjoy some of the other paths in this area around Water Haigh Woodland Park. The pretty Eshald Wood is great for little ones to explore (although you may consider parking on Eshald Lane) and there are paths along the river too. Read more about the Woodland Park here.
A circular walk from the marina via Outlon and passing the Methley Estate
If you fancy something a little longer, this route is just under 8km. It’s a fairly flat walk but not buggy friendly, and follows field paths and country tracks. You’ll enjoy some lovely views and in spring see some fabulous bluebell woods!
Family Cycle Routes from Lemonroyd Marina
Clearly for little bikes, the canal routes above can be followed, as well as St Aidans. If you are looking for something a little longer here are some suggestions.
Skelton Lake services
Past Woodlesford Lock you can continue along the canal and over the new Skelton Bridge to head to the services, where there is a play area and lots of facilities (including the fabulous Sourced Market).
If you have older children you might consider taking them to Temple Newsam. You can go a completely road-free journey by continuing on the track past Skelton Lake services and then taking the bridlepath under the motorway (be aware the path is short but steep up to Temple Newsam house so may require some pushing!). At Temple Newsam there is are toilets, a cafe and a play area. For a different route back (although it is on raods- albeit mostly quiet), head back to Newsam Green Road and continue on here (taking the road to the right approaching Bullerthorpe Lane), crossing Bullerthorpe Lane and along Jinny Moor Lane. There is a very short stretch of cycling downhill along Wakefield Road- you can push if needed) and then follow the track past this Green Moon to St Aidans. This is a good route for more capable riders and you fancy a longer ride.
Leeds City Centre
The joy of the canal is that you can cycle all the way to Leeds City Centre. If the thought of there and back is a little daunting, why not get the train back to Woodlesford station to shortern your route?
Again, this does involve some cycling on the roads, so only suitable for older children or capable cyclists. Follow the Transpennine Trail along the canal to Methley, and then on country roads until it leads onto the fantastic stretch along the old Methley Railway Line. It’s a truly beautiful ride. You’ll eventually join the A642, follow this downhill until you see the track to the left that will take you to the Stanley Ferry (where there’s a pub for you to refuel before the journey back!).
Other suggestions for capable riders;
Head to Castleford (where the new Cycle coffe shop Cykel House has opened).
Head along the river towards Allerton Bywater and to Fairburn Ings.