Buck Wood

  • Ainsbury Avenue, Thackley, BD10 0TL
  • Open 24 hours a day all year round
  • Accessibility route
  • BMX track
  • Car parking
  • Horse route
  • Nature reserve
  • Public sculpture
  • Walking routes
  • Wildlife

Ainsbury Ave, Esholt, Bradford BD10, UK

Home to a Bronze Age enclosure (2,800 – 500 years BCE) and a popular destination for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

What’s on

Check the calendar for Forest School and other events.

What’s there

An Ancient Semi Natural Woodland with some plantation wood, reasonably surfaced accessible paths, Scheduled Ancient Monument, site of a former Open Air School and BMX or “pump track”.

Buck Wood is criss-crossed by routes accessible to walkers, cyclists and horse riders.  Please “share with care” and respect other visitors and the wildlife on site.  The woodland provides opportunities for pleasant and interesting circular visits.  Add in a walk along the canal for a longer circuit.  The woodland can be accessed by numerous locations with car parking available along Ainsbury Avenue.


The pre-historic enclosure – a scheduled monument – within the area now known as Buck Wood adds further to the story of human activity in the Aire Valley stretching back to the Bronze Age.  The observant visitor will be able to trace the outline of the settlement, the rock art and orthostat wall.  Interpretation boards at the site offer some help.  Historic cup-carved stones are present in the woods. They are believed to date to an age of between 2,500-5,000 years old.

More recently, just a mere 700 years ago, the area known as Buck Wood was quarried throughout for use of the millstone grit.  Part-carved millstones can still be found amongst the trees if you look carefully.

The woodland takes its current name from the Buck family who bought the site in the early 17th century.  Believe it or not, the now peaceful place was once a hive of activity and a grand mill occupied an area of land between the canal and river.  Remnants of the mill buildings are still present and can be found with careful exploration on the slope to the west of the canal.

Much more information about Buck Wood can be found on the website developed by the Friends of Buck Wood.

medieval East Wood

Natural history

Buck Wood is part of an extensive area of woodland flanking the slopes above the River Aire north of Thackley.  The water corridors of the river and canal provide additional complementary habitat to that of the mature woodland.  Pastures are also part of the landscape tapestry and altogether these areas provide ecological niches for numerous species.

Birds are perhaps the most evident when you first arrive in the woodland.  In spring you may be lucky enough to hear the ‘fluting’ call of nuthatch as they claim territory in the veteran oak trees.  The pastures provide open areas where redwing and fieldfares can feed on invertebrates through winter.  As you walk along the field and woodland interface watch for these migrant thrushes as they peel away to the relative safety of the taller trees.

Sunshine yellow of lesser celandine greets woodland visitors in early spring and following them is a succession of colour as other ancient woodland indicators come into flower.  Watch and listen for insect pollinators as they buzz through the air searching for flowers to feed upon pollen and nectar.  The dark-edged bee-fly can be spotted along woodland edges where the sun breaks through the canopy.

Look closely to find the tiny female flowers of the hazel. They emerge from buds alongside the male catkins. Photograph: Andrew Cutts

Fallow deer use the woodland for shelter and browse upon the broadleaved trees as they flush with fresh growth.  Adjacent grassland provides grasses and herbs where the deer can sometimes be seen feeding.  These large mammals can readily blend into the wooded landscape with their broken fur pattern providing camouflage against bark and vegetation.

The prickly bushes of gorse adorn open glades within Buck Wood.  The spikes of this plant provide protection for nesting birds and reptiles that bask in sun pockets at the base of their stems.

Gorse seed weevil females lay their eggs in the gorse seed pod. Photograph: Andrew Cutts

Deadwood can be found within the canopy, standing as decaying stems, and rotting on the woodland floor.  This extremely important, yet often-overlooked habitat is home to many species of fungi, mosses, and invertebrates.  The community of species that deadwood supports help to break down the woody material and eventually return nutrients to the soil.  Species of insect, crustacean, and molluscs are found amongst the invertebrate suite living on deadwood.  They in turn become food to a myriad of other species represented by amphibians, mammals, and birds.


Access on foot is from various points around the woodland. The main access for people arriving by motor vehicle is from Ainsbury Avenue.


Buck Wood Management Plan (PDF)