Milner Lane, Leeds, LS23 6NA
01904 659570 http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/reserves/hetchell-wood-nature-reserve
Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve
A mix of woodland, species rich grassland and wet flushes, Hetchell Wood provides a tranquil retreat on the edge of the conurbation of Leeds. The variety of habitats provide refuge for the rare species which were once widespread in the local landscape. The path network allows visitors to explore each of the habitats in turn along with other significant features such as the imposing rocky crags.
When visiting Hetchell Wood for the first time you soon become enthralled by its beauty and awakened to a landscape which appears locked in times gone by.
Walking through the woodland, evidence of historical coppicing for fire wood is all around. The multi-stemmed hazel stools grow back with vigour and the recent re-establishment of this ancient practice lets in valuable light to the woodland floor, igniting wildflowers from the soil’s depths and promoting regeneration of the trees themselves.
The grassland which lies at the centre of the nature reserve sits like a jewel in the crown, showcasing a once more widespread snapshot of how pastures used to look before intensive farming became common-place. A host of wildflower species are found her providiing a valuable nectar source for a variety of insects and food for some of the Trust’s Hebridean sheep.
Picture perfect images are created year-round with the stream and the bottom, which meanders slowly amongst the trees and the rocky outcrops alongside the bridleway. The beech plantation provides dappled light and some magnificent mature trees which add further interest to an afternoon walk.