Jo’s Monday walk : Leeds Waterfront

The Trans Pennine Trail

The Trans Pennine Trail at Leeds

When National Express changed my itinerary, giving me a 3 hour stopover in Leeds on my way home from Nottingham, they did me a big favour.  They gave me just enough time to explore Leeds Waterfront.  I’d done a tiny bit of research so I knew there was plenty to see.  I hope you like looking at canal boats and reflections?  There are rather a lot of them here.

I grabbed a sandwich as I whistled through the bus station, turned right at the doors, crossed over the road, and there I was, practically on the canal bank.  The weather forecast had predicted rain and the coach had passed through some heavy showers, but my luck was in.  Starved, because I hadn’t eaten breakfast, I found myself a seat by Clarence Dock and plonked myself down for 10 minutes, to munch and look at these beauties.

I'm never alone with a canal boat or two

I’m never alone with a canal boat or two

I don’t know whether you’re familiar with the Royal Armouries museum?  It’s the kind of place where you can lose a day quite easily.  Have a browse at the website.  You might want to make time to come back.  No spare time for me that day.  I had much exploring to do.

A raft of offices, restaurants and apartments surround the dock.  I had tried to memorise a route along the towpath but I did what I always do, which is to follow my nose.  This usually results in a few false starts and some day I will have to invest in technology so I can summon up the genie in the iPhone.  If you look at the Leeds Waterfront map it shows you quite clearly which paths are ‘navigable’.  Meantime I blunder on!

Time to leave Clarence Dock

Time to leave Clarence Dock

Looking back at the Royal Armouries museum

Looking back towards Royal Armouries and the lock

I stayed on the left bank of the River Aire, stopping for a look at Crown Point Bridge.  Opened in 1842, this was a toll bridge until 1868.  The towpath takes you past Brewery Wharf to Centenary Bridge, built in 1992 to celebrate 100 years of Leeds acquiring city status.  The views across to The Calls make this one of the most attractive stretches of the waterfront.

Bridge detail

Bridge detail

Underneath Crown Point Bridge

Crown Point Bridge x 2

At this point the towpath ceases for a short distance and you have to thread your way through Bridge End Apartments, where I found a delightful surprise.  The wooden bridge was under repair but, lying in the water beneath, bright jewels clustered on the lily pads.

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More by luck than skill, I found myself at Leeds Bridge.  Dating back to the 14th century, this bridge, originally made from stone, was for 500 years the main crossing point on the river.  The medieval bridge was demolished in 1871, when it could no longer cope with the volume of traffic, and the existing cast iron bridge was constructed by 1873.  A distinctive looking bridge, it was the setting for the world’s first moving pictures.  In 1888, Louis Le Prince filmed horse-drawn traffic on the bridge, showing it in his nearby workplace, which became the world’s first cinema.

Crossing over Leeds Bridge, the path then hugs the backs of stylish hotels around to Victoria Bridge.  The site of a ferry crossing and then a wooden footbridge washed away by floods, the Victoria Bridge was carved from local stone and completed in 1839, soon after the coronation of Queen Victoria.  Just beyond this point the River Aire meets the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Granary Wharf, loftily overlooked by the railway.

Victoria Bridge

Victoria Bridge

The canal continues out of the city and into the countryside, but I had run out of time to follow it any further.  There are 127 miles of the Leeds and Liverpool canal- enough walking even for me! I would have liked to explore Holbeck Urban Village with its iconic Italianate towers, but it was time to turn back.  I looped round into Water Lane and headed back up Neville Street, curious to see the light installation under the railway bridge.

Passing south of Trinity Church and the impressive looking shopping plaza, I chanced upon the Corn Exchange.  Anyone remember Donovan? Apparently he strummed along here before he was famous.  A striking mural caught my eye, then I was back at Kirkgate and the Leeds City Market. It’s a regular stop off for me if I’m passing through the city.  Both the food stalls and the architecture are unbeatable.  A friendly local informed me that I should come along on Halloween, when they open the top gallery for a ‘Spooky walk’.  Sounds like fun?

I hope I haven’t worn you out too much this week, but it’s been interesting, hasn’t it?  To join in my Monday walks click on the logo below and it will give you the details.  I’ve got the kettle on for what comes next- a visit to some wonderful friends.  Please do join me.

walking logo

Cardinal has a very individual style.  Let’s accompany him to Jerusalem  :

Jerusalem 9930

Violet Sky joins us again this week for a walk in the park  :

A walk in the park

Amy’s photography is an absolute joy  :

Where have all the flowers gone?

I really must visit Liverpool soon.  Drake’s colours sing!  :

Seeking out the colours

Meet Shan and her lovely family and go apple picking  :

Coffee and Conversation

And a huge welcome to Tish Farrell!  Her evocative writing style and photos makes me want to head for Wales right now  :

Now that Summer’s done, we take the Dol Idris path

Come and get a bit damp on the prom with me and Jude!  :

Reculver Towers and Roman Fort

And speaking of proms, how does New Zealand grab you?  Jill is very persuasive  :

Wellington on a good day

And just ‘up the road’, Rosemay takes us for a jaunt on the Perth coast  :

A walk with Winston

Staying ‘down under’, Pauline invites us for a beach walk.  It reminds me of Christine.  Where does the time go?

Beach walk

And lastly. our lovely Yvette is taking us to a ‘beautiful river’  :

Beautiful waterfront- Buffalo NY

Many thanks to you all for your company and warm support.  Happy walking!

150 comments

  1. Beautiful reflections, your posts are a pleasure to look at.
    Not only for the photos but you have interesting subjects the story of the Little Drummer Boy at Richmond castle and the architecture and old ruins and you do not neglect the small details.

    1. Hello Jack, and welcome! 🙂 You’re always such a lovely visitor. I wish I had more time to spend with you and Pauline but the walks and responses do take up a lot of time. Great fun to share though. I do appreciate your company.

      1. You have a full life and it is wonderful how you share it in your blog.
        Computers are wonderful but they can cut into our time.
        There is so much to enjoy, if I were a dog and had a tail it would be going like a windscreen-wiper in a storm.
        Spending time together the feeling is mutual with both Pauline and me,

  2. Ah Leeds, my home town 🙂 I worked in premises at the top of Call Lane, near the Corn Exchange.
    As a seventeen year old in the 60’s venturing down Call Lane towards the canal was a no go.
    We visited Leeds recently, it had changed beyond my recognition, and the canal area was a different place.

    1. Hello Vicky! Lovely to hear from you 🙂 I haven’t had time lately to ‘track people down’ unless they appear on my blog, but I do still often remember you. Hope life is taking a sunny turn for you. Yes, I was astounded at Leeds too! My son James works there, but I rarely get to visit (more often he’s home with his washing 🙂 )

      1. Hi Jo, I’ve been very lapse at blogging recently, just the odd one here and there.
        Hopefully life is on the up now, just need to get the winter out of the way 😀

  3. I read your words but like studying the details in the photos. The bridge details and different architectural scenery always catch my interest. Since 1/4 of my heritage is English and 1/4 is Swedish, (Nordic and Leeds post were perfect!) this hit the spot for my picturing my ancestors, Jo. thank you for sharing your walks.

  4. really enjoyed this walk – and forgot to leave a comment – even though we do not always have to – but it is so fun to be able to now isn;’t it! I love the mural too – and the spooky walk sounds cool – but my fav was the lily pad slideshow – you placed it so well and it was like a pause in the walk – and the little “SAM” dog was my other fav. 🙂

    1. Little Sam was very cute, wasn’t he, Yvette? If I could moor him by the lily pads I’d be in heaven 🙂 No, you don’t have to comment, but, like me, you find it hard to resist. I’m very grateful for your continuing wanders on my blog. Have a happy weekend!

  5. Love these images – the bridges, the reflections, the boats – the WATER LILIES! Delicious!

    One of our favorite places to walk is the Erie Canal…and so I may have another walk to add to my list….

    So happy to be a part of your Monday Walks! =D

      1. Not just any canal – the Erie Canal, which is historically important, and beautiful,too…the kids and I were there in early September – perfect weather…

        Canals are cool!

        See you soon! =)

  6. Your planned travel delay really did give you a good opportunity to explore, Jo. I love the detail on the Leeds Bridge. You captured some wonderful photos with gorgeous reflections. I really love the lilies…what a nice surprise. 🙂 My water lilies were quite pretty until the raccoons shredded them the other day getting to the fish! Oh well! I definitely enjoyed your Monday walk, Jo!

    1. No raccoon problems in Leeds, Debbie 🙂 Not sure how many fish either! (ok, I concede the raccoons may have got here ahead of me 🙂 ) Thanks for finding time in your busy week and for your kind comments.

  7. A wonderful lot of reflections – and a pretty bridge or two: pretty not a word I’ve connected with bridges before. I love the way you explore.

    (I’m taking a break from comments for a couple of weeks: they’ve started to dominate my life, and I need to break the addiction. I’ll be back when I’ve rationalised my life!)

  8. Such a treat to have unexpected exploring time! I had no idea about Leed’s canals and the reflections are crystal clear. I took a walk around Mykonos last week which your readers might like for some autumn sunshine.

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