Known by locals as Billy Wood, Townclose Hills Nature Reserve is a peaceful haven of woodland, shallow spring-fed pools and wildflowers frequented by birdwatchers, dogwalkers and joggers alike. Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest by English Nature in recognition of its national importance for conservation, the reserve is open access to the public all year round, giving you ample opportunity to explore the meadows and woodlands. As you wander, keep an eye out for butterflies, woodpeckers and nesting birds in the scrubland.
The area has a rich history as a quarry, and sand from the Townclose area was used extensively in building the Leeds Castleford and Pontefract railway junction in 1878. Owing to its magnesian limestone soil, the reserve showcases a stunning array of wildflowers, where during the summer it bursts into bloom with orchids and bellflowers. The grassland plateau at the top of the reserve affords a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, and is well worth the climb. Make sure to bring sturdy walking shoes!
The nature reserve lies just 9 miles outside of Leeds, and is easily accessible by car. To get there, come off the M1 at junction 46 and take the exit to Leeds East/Leeds Airport. At the first roundabout, take the third exit onto the A63/Selby Road and at the next roundabout take the third exit onto Wakefield Road/A642. From here, turn left onto Whitehouse Lane and after a mile and a half take the first exit onto Berry Lane and continue on to Station Road and Kippax Leisure Centre. Parking is available at the Centre, from which a footpath runs up to the nature reserve, and buses 163 and 166 from Leeds city centre also stop here.
While visiting the nature reserve, why not take the opportunity to explore the outskirts of Leeds? If you're looking for restaurants near Townhills Close Nature Reserve, the nearby suburbs of Rothwell and Oulton offer speciality restaurants set in stunning surroundings which make a welcome change from the city centre. You can browse through our index of places to eat near Townhills Close Nature Reserve, view menus and photos and once you've made your choice you can book a table online for free through us. If you want a wider choice of restaurants around Townhills Close Nature Reserve, take a look at our suggestions of the best restaurants in Leeds city centre and other nearby towns such as Headingley, Pudsey and Harrogate.
Did you know Townclose Hills Nature Reserve is one of the only places in West Yorkshire where you can find glow worms? During the summer months females can be spotted shining in the grass to attract a mate.