Since Lockdown began, ironically, I think I have walked more in North Leeds then ever before. I’ve also been adventurous in finding new routes. I do wonder why I wasn’t doing this before? Maybe life was too fast – at least in my head, as fast as the cars on Otley road – which also seem to have slowed down.
I live close to the Meanwood Valley Trail, yet had not really explored it that well, until now. The trail starts at Woodhouse Moor and meanders through Meanwood Park, alongside the beck and small waterfalls, meeting Seven Arches and ending at Golden Acre Park. It’s a 7 mile linear walk, though you can walk it in little sections and create your own route.
Image: Seven Arches aqueduct which was built in 1840 to carry water from the Eccup Reservoir to the City Centre via Adel Beck. Leodis Photographic Archive of Leeds.
The trail is absolutely stunning, especially at this time of year along with lovely weather, clear blue skies and chirpy bird song. I’m still amazed that countryside and woods, so beautiful, are so close to a city. I moved back ‘up north’ from London years ago and still don’t take for granted how green some parts of Leeds are. The scenic journey to Otley from North Leeds, provides a stunning vista which includes the iconic Almscliffe Crag, it’s a favourite of mine and it never fails to take my breath away.
Yesterday, when walking back I heard a ‘screeching’ sound coming from a tree, it was so loud and piercing, almost human-like. I peered up into the tree and to my delight I saw an Owl looking back at me! This, in the middle of the day. I felt in awe. Wow. I mean WOW! I am wondering if something had disturbed him? Another bird perhaps? I have never heard a sound like that before, it wasn’t the ‘twit twoo ing’ I sometimes have heard at night.
I’ve had a look on the internet for ‘owls’ and I think it may have been a ‘Little Owl?’ Could this be? Any bird spotters out there?
I think I am living ‘in the moment’ a bit more, in lockdown. I’m noticing more, and paying more attention to nature.
I know we can’t all access the trail, but nature can be found everywhere. My friend saw a fox in Armely last night by the light of the moon!
Waterfall in Meanwood Valley Trail, taken in 2016 by me!