St Aidans RSPB Reserve

Who’d have thought that this forming mining site would turn into such a great place for a family walk? Find wonderful views, beautiful wetlands and of course, lots of birds!


Location and website: Great Preston, Leeds LS26 8AL. Website here.

Parking: Car park is pay and display or free for RSPB members

Route: Various routes, map of possible options here.

Accessibility: Most paths are accessible for buggies, particularly in dry weather. However, this is a flood plain, so after heavy rain you may find some paths are muddy or even inaccessible. Always check at the visitor’s centre.

Facilities: Toilets and picnic area at the visitor centre. Some refreshments available. You could also consider crossing Shan House Bridge, and going straight ahead into Methley. Crossing the railway line you can get to the very child friendly Rivers Meet cafe.

Walks around St Aidans

From the main entrance, one of the fist thing’s that you’ll see is the dragline (known as “Oddball”). There are open days, and it’s truly a unique experience to go in and explore- so i’d highly recommend keeping you eyes open!

And then your eyes might wander over to the pretty fantastic view. From the visitor centre you get an impressive view over the reserve, make sure you take the time to appreciate it! If you choose to do the 2 mile Hillside Hike the views are even better!


A common route for us at St Aidans, is to leave the visitors centre and head along the route of the Reedbed ramble. When you get the footpath junction, you head on the southern path towards the causeway. We then walk along the river between Shan Houe Bridge and Caroline bridge, before heading up to Bowers Lake and then back to the car park. This is roughly 5km, and in dry weather there’s a decent path for our daughter to cycle on all this way.


If you do choose a route that passes Bower’s lake, keep your eyes open for open water swimmers too!

St Aidans is just a lovely place to go and wander. If you wanted something a bit longer you could add it on to a walk around Water Haigh Woodland Park, or you could combine it with a canal walk.

If you enjoyed it, you no doubt would enjoy the nearby Fairburn Ings, which is great for little explorers and has some good walks.

Find more walks in the Rothwell and Woodlesford area here.

Or for a list of all my posts featuring buggy walks, click here.

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