Woodside Quarry A wilderness in the suburbs of Leeds

It is in vain to dream of a wilderness distant from ourselves. There is none such. It is the bog in our brains and bowels, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that dream.

Henry David Thoreau,

Journal, August 30, 1856


Woodside Quarry, operated by Briggs & Co. until the 1980s, is a huge disused quarry in the middle of some of the suburbs in north Leeds.

Looking the full length of that road you can just see a silver car passing on the Ring Road (A6120). For a few years I lived in one of the houses on the horizon.
March 20th. The quarry looked greener than it did in May (see below) after a very dry April.
Winter rains have made the grass quite green.
The quarry in Winter. The top line of trees in the bottom photos (with my shadow) are the same ones as in the next picture (below)
Sunday May 7th. A return to the quarry in Spring.

Spring seemed come suddenly this year and by the beginning of May it seemed as if every kind of blossom was gracing the trees in gardens throughout the suburbs.

I approached along the same path I had used before, in order to monitor the changes that Spring had brought. The green foliage in the photo above signalled that the quarry, too, was a changed place.

Spring growth all around the quarry.

The photo above was taken from a mound pretty much in the middle of the quarry. Along the bottom you can see dense foliage in two rows on either side of the railway line. Away over to the right is the steeple of St. Margaret's Parish Church, Horsforth. That bank of foliage on the right is the start of a really extensive area of ancient woodland. In order to explore it, I had to return another day, park on the far side and find my way along the paths near the railway line. When I did (Tues, May 9th), I climbed a narrow ridge on the far side to take the picture below...

A view through the trees and above the thick bushes. On the left is the mound from which I took the photo immediately above. The two white and grey towerblocks are situated on the other side of the A6120 Ring Road..
The quarry provided sand and gravel. In the ground I spotted this brick made in the neighbouring suburb of Horsforth.

The elaborate network of curved paths were a sure sign that the quarry was enjoyed by youngsters on bikes of various kinds. I had visited several times and been completely along. I hoped that I might spot a biker of some sort... and on my fourth or fifth visit, I got lucky... a quad-biker came riding down the dusty road.

A lone quad-biker rides into the setting sun.
What a great place this would be to film a Western !
To exit the quarry one needs to climb the bank on the right
Spring foliage in the evening light.
Even in the poor soil, Spring has clothed the trees and bushes with new foliage.
In the distance, having fun with quad-bikes. The train line passes just beyond the line of the trees.
Space to race.
Finally the quad-biker heads for home.
A steep descent into Clayton Woods
Looking down into Clayton Woods (with two fisherman passing).
Clayton Woods looks to me like 'original' or ancient woodland (i.e. one that is not been planted but has evolved over centuries).
MAY 8th. A chance to show off my discovery to my son, Michael (above)
Far in the distance, we could see a small group of youngsters having a great time
The larger of the two big ponds. The smaller is just visible at the lower level beyond.
A sense of serenity at these two quiet ponds. The smaller is at a lower level off to the left of the picture.
Two of the seven fishermen around the two big ponds in the evening
The two big ponds are just the other side of that fence

The view from Google Earth:

Created By
Lloyd Spencer


Copyright Lloyd Spencer 2017

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