Quiet lanes and Roman ruins along rural route

This rural walk in the north Leeds area, courtesy of The Walking Englishman, starts from the quaint village of Thorner.

Friday, 27th January 2017, 8:30 am

The walk crosses and edges fields, goes through woodland, follows quiet lanes and visits a nature reserve of woodland and crags which is also the site of an enigmatic Roman settlement.

It is a perfectly manageable walk for all walkers in the pretty rural countryside north of Leeds.

Highlight include the Wildlife Trust Reserve in Hetchell Wood, the woodland near Bramham Park and the views from Thorner Moor.

Set out from the main street of Thorner and walk east from the village along lanes of the edge of the most south-easterly estate towards Ellerker Lane.

On reaching Ellerker Lane, turn right to walk south. Turn after less than 200 metres to track east once more, this time along the sides of some fields and diagonally across one before keeping to the sides of yet more fields on the open expanse of Thorner Moor.

Despite being just two miles north-east of the urban sprawl of the city of Leeds it feels like being in complete solitude. The views are far and wide across the large open fields of the moor and the near urbanisation seems many miles away.

On reaching the trig station on Thorner Moor, take some time to survey the scene from the lofty vantage point of 110 metres above sea level before continuing south and east along the fields.

You soon reach Mangrill Lane where a thick border wood blocks out views of Bramham Park beyond. Head north with the wood to your right.

Mangrill Lane leads to a road linking the village of Thorner with the village of Bramham. Follow the road-side for half a mile before cutting left into woodland near the site of the medieval village of Wothersome.

In the woodland, walk a few steps down a bank to a small pond. Sometime later you emerge from the woodland and follow a couple of field sides to reach another road, this one the link road between Thorner village and Bardsey village.

Cross the road to enter Hetchell Wood, the centre point of this walk. Soon after entering the wood you come to an open clearing with a steep bank on the east side.

According to historians this was also a place of activity in Roman times when the site was known as Pompocali. There are some foundation works exposed which may support the Roman theory.

On leaving the open clearing, follow the well managed paths through the woods.

It is an easy walk through the interesting and curiously varied woodland. Some sections are old with mature trees and other sections more recently established with younger coppiced rows of oak, hazel and spindle.

Along the way through the woods you come to an impressive grits tone outcrop - Hetchell Crags, which is a popular spot for rock climbers. Interestingly some of the routes/holds are named after the Romans.

Come out of Hetchell Wood beside a tiny stream, then follow the lane west and cross the line of the dismantled Leeds to Wetherby railway line, climbing further along the lane and towards the A58 Leeds to Wetherby Road.

Leave the lane just before Rowley Grange to follow the Leeds Country Way on a course due south across the brow of a small hill which gives impressive views east.

Continue along paths beside spinneys to Moat Hall from where you follow the road for a short distance at Scarcroft Hill before crossing a field to Oaklands Manor. Then follow a lane beside fields back to Thorner, arriving at the north side of the village and walk along Carr Lane back to the main street.