Hirst Woods

  • Hirst Lane, Shipley BD18 4NQ
  • Open 24 hours a day, all year round
  • Car parking
  • River
  • Walking routes

Hirst Lane, Shipley BD18 4NQ, UK


what3word location: https://what3words.com/laugh.hilltop.lofts

Quick description

An ancient woodland nestled between the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the River Aire.

What’s there?

Hirst Woods is situated on the edges of Saltaire, just by the Leeds Liverpool Canal and the River Aire. Here, visitors will find a mature woodland area between the railway line and canal, boasting wide, meandering pathways and an abundance of wildflowers blooming in the springtime.

Hirst Wood was originally Shipley Wood or simply the Hirst. What is left of it is a small parcel sandwiched between the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the railway, through the trees around the old burial ground are also part of what was once the same larger wood. It is wonderful Tardis-like glade whose exploration is very rewarding. It is simply accessed from the edge of Saltaire and can be easily linked with the foot of Shipley Glen. – Goddard, C. (2021). The West Yorkshire Woods. Gritstone Publishing


Iron age

There is some evidence that people lived and worked in Hirt Wood in the iron ace, around 450 BC. A Holloway at the east end of Hirt Wood is thought to be associated wit the nearby site of an Iron Age round house.

Hirst Mill

Hirst Mill was formerly used to grind corn during the Middle Ages, but it was later changed into a paper mill. Eventually, Sir Titus Salt acquired it in order to join it to his existing woollen business.

Natural history

Hirst Wood is home to a variety of different species of wildlife. Mammals such as red foxes, badgers and otters can be seen in the area. Birdlife is also abundant, with birds such as woodpeckers, treecreepers, goldcrests, wrens, great spotted woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, and tree sparrows all commonly spotted. Invertebrates such as beetles, dragonflies and butterflies are also present, while amphibians like frogs, toads and newts can be found among the woodlands. Plants such as willow, hazel, oak and birch are common in the woodlands, and this provides food for the birds and animals.

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