From cycle rides to climbing routes, we've got you covered for outdoor activities during the colder months.
You can be as adventurous as you like and, if you’re looking for something more chilled, then read on to find out how you can be involved with monitoring the winter wildlife on campus, even from your own bedroom!
Getting out and interacting with nature is really beneficial to both your physical and mental health but just make sure you remember to always follow COVID-19 guidelines and wear a mask when you need to. That way, everyone can enjoy going outdoors and feel safe at the same time.
Local walks, wildlife monitoring and exploring campus
If you’re keen for a more relaxing way to explore the local area, walking the three transects, two of which are fully accessible, across campus and monitoring the wildlife including birds, mammals, pollinators and bats might be more your cup of tea. The project is part of one our living labs at the University.
The instructions are really simple to follow so help us out by spotting the winter wildlife across campus and gain ecological surveying experience. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the transect routes or check out Beth’s (one of our Biodiversity Ambassadors) blog on the progress of the project so far.
Alternatively, check out Campus Discovery, an exciting app free to all students giving you the opportunity to explore campus in a fun, self-guided tour. For more information, check out Get Out Get Active’s (GOGA) guidance.
Don’t forget, you can also visit our Sustainable Garden or keep an eye on our Peregrines from the comfort of your own bed using our live webcam! They’ve been particularly active recently so take a look yourself and see if you can spot them!
For other walks across Leeds, check out GOGA’s five great walks in Leeds which takes you to various green spaces across the local community including Meanwood Valley Trail, The Hollies and, Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
Romain from our Bike Hub has got some great routes to get you out and about in West Yorkshire. Don’t forget your safety gear though - lights and helmet are essential, especially in winter when conditions might be wet and dark. If you need advice on safe cycling, then check out CycleScheme’s guidance for cycling on main roads, safe cycling in winter and their support for beginners.
National Cycling Route 66: this wonderful, child-friendly ride will take you along the River Aire and along the Aire Valley Towpath on mostly traffic-free routes. West, you will head towards Kirkstall and Saltaire, and East, Route 66 takes you to Halton Moor and Aberford, crossing through Temple Newsham.
Route 67: this route is completely traffic-free between Leeds and Mickletown. The route is wonderful for children, including beginners, with smooth surfaces and gentle slopes. One highlight sees you ride from Wetherby to Spofforth on an old railway track!
Cycle Highway to Bradford: a “cycle superhighway” project designed by CityConnect, the route is mostly segregated from traffic, although care needs to be exercised at junctions, particularly if the weather is dark or rainy.
Urban Bike Park Middleton: a great day out if you feel like going further afield! There are tracks of various difficulties, suitable for all levels, and a very good café for hungry riders!
Check out the Leeds City Council website for more local cycling routes and information on cycling provision in Leeds. Or, if you feel like an adventure, check out the best routes in Yorkshire. If you’re an experienced cyclist looking for more of a challenge, the Way of the Roses or the Transpennine Trail might be more up your street!
If you’re a budding climber then James from our team has some great spots for you to go out and try! Please remember that these routes are aimed at climbers with a bit of experience so make sure you have the correct ropes and climbing gear to ensure your safety - if you don’t understand the lingo then it’s not for you!
Conditions: if it’s a bit blustery then this is one to avoid, but it can dry pretty quickly so don’t be too put off! There are some easier trad routes, plus a lot of pumpy VS grades and plenty to go at with a pad so something for all climbers.
Getting there: Catch a train to Weeton Station and it’s about a 1 mile walk from there.
More information: www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/almscliff-373
Conditions: you need a bit of dry weather as it faces north, but there’s a lot there. Definitely one for the pad and enough here to keep you going for years!
Getting there: Jump on the X84 bus route and you’ll be there in 30 minutes.
More information: www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/caley_crags-540#overview
Conditions: a good one if you’re feeling something a bit more relaxed, plenty of easier bouldering and all within shuffling distance. Bring a big pad for the highballs though! It can remain a bit damp so ideally you want a day without rain, but you can generally find something to have a go at.
Getting there: Get a train to Shipley and walk about a mile from there.
More information: www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/shipley_glen-1343
Ilkley Cow and Calf
Conditions: There is quick-drying trad in the main quarry but expect a lot of attention! There is bouldering all around the place, ranging from hard-as-nails to a pleasant day out. Beautiful views and a cracking place for a walk as well.
Getting there: Jump on a train to Ilkley and it’s a quick(ish) walk up the hill.
More information: www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/ilkley_cow_and_calf-547#overview
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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on supporting people to explore their local areas is linked to the following SDGs:
- Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
- Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Goal 15: Life on Land
Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.