4) Adel Dam and Golden Acre Park, Arthington Road, Adel, Leeds, LS16 8BQ
Distance; approx. 2 miles from the car park to Adel Dam and back.
You can add more miles by exploring Golden Acre Park and or the woodland below the car parking area.
Terrain: Tarmac car park with disabled parking, the track is on dirt once you get past the lake and enter Adel Dam Nature Reserve.
To access Adel Dam you will need a Radar Key for the entrance gate. The gate opens very wide so all wheelchairs. / mobility scooters can fit through.
Difficulty level: Initial slope from the car park is approx. 200m but a steady gradual slope – bear in mind you have to come back up this slope to get back to your car!
Difficulty of terrain rating, mostly 1 out of 5 (5 being hardest), one section in the reserve is over a few tree roots but these are relatively small.
Adel Dam is run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, a woodland, wetland and pond reserve situated in the south east corner of the beautiful Golden Acre Park. Only service dogs are allowed in the actual nature reserve as long as they are wearing their service jackets.
Adel Dam is a small site but very rich in plant and animal / bird species. Sadly at present only one bird hide ( the Kingfisher hide ) is accessible but don’t let this fact put you off from a visit. This hide is fabulous and accessible. Wheelchair users will be able to see the feeding station in front of the bird hide. Top tip – take a flask of your favorite brew and spend a good while in the hide. Your likely to see all the regular species but also Gt S Woodpecker, Nuthatch, all the tit species and so many more. I regularly see Kingfisher here, Sparrow Hawk, Mandarin ducks, and caught a glimse of an Otter! Cheeky squirrels visit and compete for the nuts with the Nuthatch! Which is a comical scene. Deer are also often in and out of the reserve.
Park in the disabled parking areas of Golden Acre Park. Often an ice cream van here!
Head to the bottom of the car park and bear left under the arched stone bridge. Turn right and head along the now level path until you get to the lake. There is a nice covered bird viewing structure here – a great place for seeing the residents of the lake. Keep an eye skyward as often Red Kites can be seen overhead. From this viewing point follow the path which goes from tarmac to dirt on the right hand side of the lake. It is a little rough in small places. Follow this track through the woods until you reach two paths in front of you, one stays close to the rear of the lake and one bears slightly more to the right with a wooden fence in between the paths. Head down this path and soon you will see a wooden hut and metal gate on your right. Here you will need your Radar Key to access Adel Dam Nature Reserve. Please secure the gate once your passed it. Look out for friendly Robins and squirrels here. Follow the path and soon you will see a sign for the Kingfisher Hide. As mentioned stay a good while in here and you will be rewarded with lots to see. The only negative with the hide is that there are too many wood benches that may need rearranging so you can get near to the viewing openable windows.
When you come out the hide you can go back to the main reserve path and head left for a short distance. Go as far as you feel comfortable on the terrain. No point trying to get as far as the second hide as it is across a very narrow bridge and steps.
When you have seen the reserve head back the way you came to the Radar key gate.
Your choice here is head back the way you came to Adel Dam Nature Reserve or do as I do, go right out the gate and head into Golden Acre Park itself. Follow the path and look for a gap on your left , follow this and soon you re-join the tarmac paths of the park. Another alternative is to not turn left at the gap and head up and further into the back part of the park. You will come to a wider path and open woodland. I have never gone much further than the path adjacent to the farmers field before turning around – heading back and then going through the gap which is now on your right.
Back in the park follow the path and after a few hundred metres you come to the accessible café and loos. Corona Virus has meant these are at present closed but do check the Golden Acre Park’ s web site before you visit. There is a gentle slope to get to the actual cafe and facilities.
After the café head down and back towards the stone arched underpass, which will be on your right, back through here and back up the slope to your vehicle.
Point of safety – do not be tempted to try and leave the park and shortcut back to the car park- by not going back down to the stone arch and up the other side, this would involve trying to cross the very busy and very fast travelled main road,….
Golden Acre Park is excellent for spotting all sorts of butterflies and moths – feeding on the many exotic plants and Budlia.