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1983 - A Walk in the Woods in May
by Helen Linklater

The following diary entry was written by Helen Linklater, who spent her childhood near Gledhow Valley Woods but who now lives is Australia. It was written when she returned to Leeds as a 24 year old, during a 6 month holiday with her mother. She stayed 3 months at her uncle's on Garth Avenue, and another 3 months at Easterly Road, Harehills.

Helen also drew a map during her walk through the wood, which shows the location of the flowers she recorded. The map is included after the diary entry...

Monday May 23rd

Caught the number 39 bus to the Roman Well (Spa), built 1671. It was built for a quick dip into the icy-cold spring, then go into the adjoing building for a sauna.

Unfortunately, the building and walls around the spa had been vandalized... partly pushed down. Latin words set in a stone block read -:


Walking up to the top of the southern bank, it was obvious that the oak and beech tree dominate the wood.

Ramson's (wood garlic) seen near the spa in a couple of small patches now disappeared. In a clearing there were lots of buttercups near the edge of the wood.

Walking westwards, other trees identified were sycamore, beech, and many horsechestnut trees.

Bushes included hawthorn, holly, rhododendron (on the lake side), and another bush with rounded-furry leaves (unidentified). Other floor dwelling plants beneath the trees were bramble, many bluebells and nettles (ouch!).

The southern side of the valley is less disturbed, hence there were a lot more squirrels (about 10 were seen) in amongst the oak trees.

Bracken fern fronds were just beginning to appear.

Carrying on down to the lake, the land is mostly cleared of big trees, so there were more dandelions, elder, wild celery and carrot; plus daisy, thistle and dock.

Walking in a westerly direction along the footpath, I saw plants which looked like rhubarb plants (later identified as butterbur).

Moving further along the side of the stream, many wild flowers could be seen, like calendine, anenome, wild rose, and an exciting find... a yellow archangel!

Helen Linklaters map showing locations of plants
(Click on the map for a larger version)

If you have any photos or stories about Gledhow Valley Woods which you would like to share, please contact us so we can add them to the site.

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