A 3 hour walk around the Bramham Park estate near Leeds

Woods near Bramham 

Woods near Bramham - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

An invigorating walk across parkland at Bramham near Leeds.

In addition to public footpaths, the Bramham Park estate has in recent years established permissive rights of way which enable you to avoid road walking and explore a wood and Wothersome lake that on the OS map appear to be off limits. Look out for follies. Some, such as the Gothic temple, are quite distant and you can’t stray off the public right of way so bring a pair of binoculars. You can’t miss the grand rotunda which the route passes right by. Also look out for an obelisk behind it. Another interesting building encountered at the start of the route is Bramham Biggin. In the mid-19th century it was briefly a boys’ college and latterly housed a nursery and Second World War evacuees.

Easy paths to follow in Wothersome Woods 

Easy paths to follow in Wothersome Woods - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Built at the turn of the 18th century, Bramham Park boasts gardens that were partly inspired by the Gardens of Versailles near Paris. Like the house, they are open only to pre-booked groups. Bramham village is constructed from magnesian limestone and used to be a staging post on the London to Edinburgh coaching route. An unusual feature is the oval churchyard of All Saints Church.

Directions

1. Walk south along Bowcliffe Rd. At t-junction just after welcome sign cross road and follow paved path into trees. Bear left with A1M on right. At end of path at road turn right over A1M and, in front of Bowcliffe Hall, right and down hill. At Welcome to Bramham Park sign pass through kissing gate and continue along road. Bear left signed to Well Hill Farm. At sign for polo ground turn right on signed footpath into trees. Emerging from trees keep ahead on gravel track down hedged lane which becomes an avenue with trees. Pass through two handgates.

2.  At a t-junction turn left heading for white gate within fence. At gate bear right to pass rotunda. Look out for Gothic temple far away to right and obelisk and rustic house in woods on left. Follow signed track as it bears right then left. Turn left through kissing gate towards plantation. After dip at t-junction turn right onto track (Mangrill Lane). 

3. Pass through kissing gate below electricity pylon and turn right onto broad track. At road turn right and, as layby ends, right again through kissing gate onto permissive footpath. Walk along field edge parallel with road. 

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4. At gate turn left onto road and immediately right through gate onto another permissive footpath, keeping hedge on left. Turn right down path into wood. Just before road turn left and descend to lake. Pass over remains of stepping stones and uphill then right, still on permissive path. Fork left down to a gate with beware of bull sign. Continue ahead roughly parallel to the road along path trodden into grass. Pass through kissing gate and bear right along field edge heading toward estate house. (Ignore kissing gate to road).

Bramham Biggin. In the mid-19th century it was briefly a boys’ college and latterly housed a nursery

Bramham Biggin. In the mid-19th century it was briefly a boys’ college and latterly housed a nursery and Second World War evacuees - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

5. Pass through handgate and turn right. After 30 yards cross road, go through gate and head down permissive footpath which bears left beside road. Pass through kissing gate, over track beside lodge and through another kissing gate. At end of field pass through gate. Turn left to skirt crash barrier, cross road, turn right onto footpath, cross another road and A1 bridge. Turn left and, just after Bramham sign, cross road  and follow signed Spen Common Lane. Bear immediately right and down steps. At bottom turn left reach village centre.

An old mile post in Bramham

An old mile post in Bramham - Credit: Paul Kirkwood


Eat here

Stop off at The Red Lion, Bramham

Stop off at The Red Lion, Bramham - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

The Red Lion.
Traditional Sam Smiths pub in centre of Bramham featuring three large rooms off a central bar, two with fires. Menu includes fish and chips, pies and burgers. Note: Cash only and booking required for Sunday lunch. Closed Monday. facebook.com/redlionbramham.

Stock up at Harts in Boston Spa 

Stock up at Harts in Boston Spa - Credit: Paul Kirkwood

Harts Coffee House and Deli.
One of several chic cafés in the village of Boston Spa. Changing menu of home-made fare includes tiffin, cakes as well as Asian and eastern specialities. Eggs benedict and takeaway bacon sandwiches recommended. facebook.com/hartsbostonspa.


Compass points
Start/finish: SE425429, LS23 6QY.
Time/distance: 3 hours; 11 km.
Accessibility: Mainly well surfaced and signed estate paths and lanes. Woods are likely to be more soggy.
Map: OS Explorer 289.
Parking: On-street on Bowcliffe Road, Bramham.
Map link: https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzUxOTY2Mw