Rothwell Country Park, Leeds Review For Families

When it comes to finding a peaceful spot away from the hustle and bustle of urban West Yorkshire, Rothwell Country Park is the perfect destination for families. Nestled in the serene greenery of Leeds, Rothwell Country Park stands as a delightful getaway for families seeking a nature retreat.

Whether you’re looking to explore the pond or sculpture trails, spot a variety of bird species, or simply take a leisurely walk, Rothwell Country Park has something for everyone in the family to enjoy. As a family who loves spending time outdoors, we recently visited this beautiful green getaway destination and had a wonderful experience.

Where is it located?

Rothwell Country Park is conveniently located just six miles southeast of Leeds city centre. Situated at Bullough Lane, Rothwell Colliery, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS26 0JY, it is easily accessible for both locals and visitors alike. The park’s proximity to the city makes it perfect for people to visit in and around the Leeds area.

History of Rothwell Country Park

Before we dive into our experience at Rothwell Country Park, let’s take a moment to appreciate the history behind this beautiful green space. The park was once a fully operational colliery known as Rothwell Colliery or the ‘Fanny’ and ‘Rose’ pit, named after the pit owners’ daughters. However, after its closure in 1983, the area became a post-industrial wasteland, in need of transformation.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Leeds City Council and the charity Groundwork Leeds, the landscape underwent extensive landscaping and redevelopment. Over the course of five years, woodlands, wetlands, and meadows were created, breathing new life into the area. In the year 2000, Rothwell Country Park was officially opened to the public, providing a picturesque green space for the local community to enjoy.

What is there to do for families?

Rothwell Country Park offers a variety of activities and experiences that are perfect for families looking to spend quality time together in nature. Here are some of our favourite experiences during our visit:

Pond Trail

As soon as we arrived at Rothwell Country Park, we were greeted by an extensive network of paths that offered various trails to explore. One of our favourite trails was the Pond Trail, which led us to discover the park’s numerous small water sections. Given the park’s history as a former colliery, the ponds are a fascinating reminder of the land’s transformation. The trail is well-marked, and we followed the signposts to embark on this delightful adventure.  

This trail allows children to explore these small water sections and discover the wildlife that inhabits them. Along the way, we spotted an array of wildlife and marvelled at the abundance of nature surrounding us. Matilda and Barney loved observing the common frogs, toads, and dragonflies that call the ponds their home. It was a truly immersive experience that allowed us to appreciate the natural beauty of the park.

Rothwell Country Park Circular Walk

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing experience of the park, the Rothwell Country Park Circular Walk is a must-do. This 4.5-kilometer loop takes you on footpaths and trails that wind around the outer perimeter of the park. Whether you’re walking, running, or simply enjoying nature, this versatile route caters to everyone.

During our walk, we were treated to stunning views of rivers, ponds, meadows, and woodlands. It felt like a true adventure as we immersed ourselves in the diverse landscapes the park had to offer. For beginners or those seeking a shorter route, there is an option to cut down the walk to a 1.8-kilometre loop around the inner perimeter of the park.

Sculpture Trail

One of the highlights of our visit to Rothwell Country Park was the Sculpture Trail. As we walked along the former pithead, we encountered relics of the park’s industrial heritage. The trail unveiled a collection of stone, willow, and metal sculptures that captivated our imagination. Each artwork told a unique story, adding a touch of creativity and wonder to our adventure.

One particular sculpture that stood out was ‘Breaking the Mould‘ by Andrew McKeown. This giant seed emerging from an industrial mould symbolised new life and growth emerging from industrial decline. We were fascinated by the 21 sculptures strategically placed along the trail, representing the transformation of 1,000 hectares of post-industrial derelict land into parks and open spaces throughout England and Wales.

As we reached the summit of the old mining site, we were rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree view of Leeds and West Yorkshire. It was a moment of tranquillity and awe, reminding us of the beauty of nature amidst the urban landscape.

Trans Pennine Trail

For those looking for more adventurous pursuits, Rothwell Country Park offers access to the famous Trans Pennine Trail. Stretching alongside the River Aire, this trail is perfect for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders, linking the north of England from coast to coast. Matilda, one of our young adventurers, particularly loved cycling here, showcasing her impressive skills on two wheels.

Barney, who is still on his balance bike at the time of writing found this trail the perfect setting for him to practise his newfound skills. It’s a nice couple of hours that brings you closer to nature and each other.

Mountain Biking At Rothwell Country Park

The Rothwell Country Park mountain biking loop is moderately difficult. It is 14 miles long and has a total ascent of 472 feet and a descent of 470 feet. While it is not suitable for very young children, it is a great option for older children and adults who are looking for a challenging ride.

I would recommend that you take your child to the park and let them try out the loop to see if they are up for it. If they are not comfortable with the difficulty, there are plenty of other trails in the park, such as Trans Pennine Trail,  that they may enjoy.

Facilities At Park

Rothwell Country Park offers a range of facilities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit for families. Although there is no designated cafe on site, there are several benches scattered throughout the park, providing the perfect spot for a picnic or a moment of relaxation. It’s a good idea to come prepared with your own food and drinks.

Accessibility is a key consideration at Rothwell Country Park, with some parts of the site specifically designed to accommodate wheelchair users and pushchairs. The park also provides free roadside parking at the top of Bullough Lane, ensuring convenient access for visitors.

Areas For Improvement

While we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Rothwell Country Park, we believe it’s important to mention a couple of areas for improvement. Firstly, the lack of onsite facilities, such as toilets, can be a slight inconvenience. The nearest toilet facilities are located at the Two Pointers pub in Woodlesford, which is approximately a 25-minute walk from the park. Additionally, some paths can become muddy, making it challenging for visitors with strollers or those seeking wheelchair accessibility. However, these minor inconveniences did not diminish our overall enjoyment of the park.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely! Our experience at Rothwell Country Park was truly delightful. From the moment we stepped foot in the park, we were greeted by a sense of tranquillity and natural beauty. The variety of nature trails, the enchanting sculptures, and the abundant wildlife make this park a perfect destination for families seeking outdoor adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re taking a leisurely picnic, embarking on a nature walk, or getting active on the Trim Trail, Rothwell Country Park has something to offer everyone. We highly recommend a visit to this picturesque green space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a café?

Regrettably, there is no cafe within the park. However, the Two Pointers pub, a 25-minute walk away, provides a charming option for post-park refreshments.

What is your favourite part?

We enjoyed the sculpture trail. Each sculpture tells a unique story and adds a touch of magic to the park. The kids were fascinated by the giant seed sculpture and loved spotting the different stone figures along the trail.

Is it suitable for Dog walkers?

Yes, dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead.

Can we bring our bikes?

Certainly! The park welcomes cyclists, and the mountain biking loop near the canal is a thrilling adventure for biking enthusiasts.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there is free roadside parking available at the top of Bullough Lane, providing convenient access to the park.

Is there any entrance fee for visiting the park?

No, entry to Rothwell Country Park is completely free. Enjoy the natural beauty without any cost.

Pros & Cons


  • Great walking routes
  • Nice cycle paths
  • Syncs with the Trans Pennine Trail
  • Enjoyable Sculpture Trail


  • No toilets
  • No Cafe

Park enjoyment rating

Photo by Ashley Groom on Unsplash

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Ryan

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