Hirst Lock has become one of the main local centres for walkers who love the fact that there is good parking, lots of accessible walks and the Lock garden and nature reserve to just sit and enjoy being out in the open.And with the opening of Higher Ground coffee house in the Hughes Bakery building, it is bound to attract even more visitors.One of the most popular walks in the Hirst Wood area, especially for people who don’t have time or inclination to trek over the moors or up steep hills, is the circular route that starts at Hirst Lock.Start off along the canal to Dowley Gap than drop down just on the far side of Seven-Arches, to the path that brings you back along the river, past the rowing club and Hirst weir and then up to the Lock once more.The only problem with it has been that for the not so agile elderly walkers and youngsters with still short legs, the two access points were steep and awkward to navigate.So Hirst Wood Regeneration Group decided to do something about it.The first improvement came courtesy of Graham, who is a dab hand as a carpenter and recycled the posts that used to support the Lock mural into a bench that he installed along the riverside path.It’s a tranquil spot and ideal for watching the river and taking a break from walking.We then summoned our friends from TCV Hollybush, who had helped create the nature reserve, to use their expertise and muscle to improve the access at either end of the walk.At Dowley Gap they created steps instead of a slippery, muddy slope, made the step down on the other side easier to make and added hand rails. And for those who prefer to watch the canal than the river, they added a bench nearby.At Hirst Lock, they added an extra step to help those who like to climb up to the Lock the steep way. And they also improved the access to the path between the old garden centre and Salts Sports Ground.As ever we are grateful to TCV Hollybush for their efforts. Check out the link below to see more about their work and how you too could become a volunteer.And we would also like to thank Leeds Community Foundation who paid for the work through their Strengthening Communities Fund. There’s also a link to their website below.
Making a favourite walk even easier and safer
We have made access to the Canal/Riverside circular walk from Hirst Lock much easier and safer and there are two new benches where you can take a breather