From its source at Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park, Wyke Beck runs through the Gipton, Seacroft, Killingbeck and Halton boroughs of east Leeds, emerging into the River Aire opposite Rothwell Country Park.
Throughout this urban setting in east Leeds, grasslands are interspersed with woodland, scrub and hedgerows, providing a valuable habitat corridor for many birds and mammals. The freshwater of the beck also provides a home for the white clawed crayfish (the UK’s only native species of crayfish).
Along the Wyke Beck Valley are five local nature reserves (LNRs):
Wyke Beck Way
The Wyke Beck Way is part of the Leeds Core Cycle Network providing a 6 mile long route from Temple Newsam to Roundhay Park. This signposted route follows quiet roads, cycle tracks and parkland paths giving an easy and direct cycling alternative through the Wyke Beck Valley.
View details of the cycle path and map on Sustrans.
Wyke Beck Valley Programme
The Wyke Beck Valley programme started in 2018 and aims to provide enhanced flood risk management in east Leeds and at the same time provide enriched green spaces for the communities along the valley.
Three nature reserves are so far included in this programme, which will not only provide enhanced, naturalised flood risk management and increase the range of pollinator habitats and biodiversity throughout the Wyke Beck Valley, but also improve access for all to these fantastic green spaces in east Leeds.
Work at Arthur’s Rein
In 2018, work was carried out at Arthur’s Rein to improve the capacity of a previously underground storm drain and create two scrapes. The drain was transformed into an open channel, which will allow more water to be stored in a flood event. This channel and the scrapes were also planted with native aquatic and marginal plants to provide important nectar and seed sources for insects and birds and increase biodiversity.
Work at Killingbeck Fields
Work is underway on Killingbeck Fields to provide enhanced flood management through the construction of a flood defence wall with a naturalised flood attenuation pond and associated embankment. This will allow for the nature reserve to be flooded in a controlled manner, during an extreme flood event, reducing the risk of flooding to properties downstream.
As part of the scheme here, Killingbeck Fields LNR will be enhanced with a range of habitats increasing habitats and biodiversity across the reserve. A series of seasonal wetlands, ponds and reed beds will be created and native woodland and wildflower planting will be undertaken once construction is complete. Pedestrian access to the site will be improved with the construction of a network of surfaced paths.
Work at Halton Moor
Halton Moor is the third nature reserve to benefit from works being carried out as part of the Wyke Beck valley programme. During 2019, footpaths will be resurfaced, new benches will be installed, areas of grassland will have wildflower seeds sown to create fantastic pollinator habitats and trees will be planted across the site.
Funding and partnerships
The Wyke Beck Programme has received £2.55 million funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
In addition Leeds City Council are working with a range of partners on the Wyke Beck Valley programme: WSP, Colas, Jacksons, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Groundwork and the Environment Agency.
Keep up to date with work at Wyke Beck Valley by following these Twitter accounts: