Walton Colliery Nature Park cycling for families

The nature park is on the site of the old Walton Colliery (formerly Sharlston West Colliery).
Walton has a long history of coal mining, with documentary evidence of estate and field names dating local mining activities back to the 17th century. In the 1930’s it’s said up to 1200 people worked at the colliery. It eventually closed in 1979.

From 1993 work began to turn this once industrial mine into a place for nature. Work was eventually completed in 1996 and designated a local nature reserve in 2008.

Walton Colliery is now a nature park filled with lakes and wildflowers and offers hiking, cycling and equestrian trails. It’s a wonderful example of a rewilding project and how a former industrial site can become a place where walkers, cyclists and horse owners can enjoy peace within calm surroundings.

As a family, it’s a great place to visit with your children. Traffic-free routes, well-maintained services; an enclosed, safe area for them to express their cycling ability.

Where does the ride take me?

The Trans Pennine Trail and the National Cycle Route 67 cross through the park so if you are coming via Bike then this would be the most suitable route. For those coming from Wakefield, make your way to Walton and you should pick up signs on the Shay Lane route out towards Crofton.

If you are coming via car then parking is free and plentiful. The spot is popular with Dog Walkers and horse riders.

From the car park, it’s super easy to access the colliery. The blue route is the longest continuous route and should take half an hour or so with young ones. It’s a nice morning/afternoon activity.

What level of rider is it suitable for?

The ride is suitable for beginners and a great way for children to improve their cycling. It’s also fantastic for adults who are getting to grips with a bike.

The route has plenty of stopping points and benches so take a picnic and cycle at your own pace.

Walton Colliery Nature Park Map
Map of Walton Colliery

How much of it is traffic-free?

There’s no concern for cars as it’s a completely traffic-free route. Once inside the main entrance to the colliery, it’s purely for walkers, cyclists and horse riders meaning you can be assured of the safety of your children.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely! If you have young children or are new to cycling then this is a perfect place to visit. There’s an abundance of nature to see as well as plenty of benches and places to take a breather. 

The cycle paths are also completely traffic-free which as a parent is reassuring as it enables you to enjoy your own ride instead of worrying about the safety of your children.

The only downside (similar to Rabbit Ings Country Park) is the lack of facilities. There’s no cafe nor is there a toilet. Although this is understandable given it’s a Nature reserve it perhaps takes some atmosphere away from the park. We’ve been in the Winter on occasions when there’s been little to no people around. This creates a slightly different atmosphere vs somewhere with facilities.

Furthermore, id like to see more activities for children as you venture around. Perhaps something to keep them engaged like the Gnome roam in Newmillerdam country park.

We are firm believers in supporting your local nature spots however so for an hour or two in the morning/afternoon this is a perfect place to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cafe?:

As mentioned above there is no on-site cafe so you would have to take a flask. Wisk cafe in Walton is just a short drive away. There’s also a nearby play park meaning if you combine both activities it’s a really nice day out for the family. 

Are there any hills?:

There are some inclines however the circuit is largely flat. Those hilly areas are as you enter the nature park but as a route, it’s mostly suitable for beginner riders.

What is your favourite part?:

I really enjoy the fact what was an old mining spot has been turned into a rewilding spot for nature. It’s a fantastic way to reshape the landscape after such an industrial past.

Is it suitable for Dog walkers?

During our visit to Walton Colliery nature park, it was predominantly dog walkers so I would say it’s a perfect spot for Dog walking. The routes are clearly defined and not too long so they are perfect for a daily dog walk.

How much is it to park?

One of the strong points of Walton Colliery nature park is that it’s completely free to park your car. There are no time limits, no restrictions, and you can park as you please.

Pros & Cons


  • Free Parking
  • Relatively flat
  • Suitable for children of all ability levels


  • No cafe
  • No toilet facilities
  • Can feel a little eerie

Cycle enjoyment rating

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Ryan

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