Sunday, 10 September 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (The Tiny Tea Room, Rodley and Castleton Mill, Armley)

My ultimate aim is to re-walk whole of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal though at a lot slower pace as I want to explore what is around me...only have made as far as West Leeds! I'm however excited to check out places on the canal which I walked past when my Dad and I completed walking the canal the first time.

The Tiny Tea Room

I saw a recommendation on social media about the Tiny Tea Room, an independent outdoor tea room in Rodley and canalside.  It usually opens on weekends, 11.00am to 4.30pm, and during the week when the sun shines.  I enjoyed sitting outside with my coffee and homemade scone.  The scone was rather dry but nice and the experience was great for looking out to the canal.  The price was average and worth checking out if you're cruising on the canal or walking along. Being small it can get very busy. 

The Tiny Tea Room

Facebook page

Castleton Mill

Recently I checked out Castleton Mill, a listed building canalside and near Oddy Locks, and was opened to the public on the annual Heritage Weekend.  I often pass the mill on my walks from Leeds to Kirkstall Bridge and always curious about this building. 

Castleton Mill

I'll share some facts about Castleton Mill:
  • The mill was built by William Hargreaves and opened in 1836 to spin flax.  The finished product, which was thread, was transported on barges to weaving factories which turned thread into linen.
  • Further developments at the mill took place in the middle of the 19th Century; the Hargreaves family built a weaving shed adjacent to the factory.  This meant the mill could make linen and wool alongside thread.  The mill was sold and over the next Century it changed hands and continued producing until the 1980s.
  • The mill became listed in 1987 and since the 2000s it now offers office and manufacturing space for small businesses.
On our small tour we saw renovations being carried out at the mill and seeing some of the completed works will sure be worth it.  Further information can be found via the website

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal - Canal and Waterways (A Bridge of Two Locks) Talk

I had an opportunity to attend a talk by Trevor Roberts, founder of Canal Connections, one Thursday evening in July.  He passionately shared his interest for the Leeds Waterways (the Heritage Canal Zone between Thwaite Mills and Armley Mills).


Interesting facts were given out about the waterways, nationally and locally:

  • 80% lived within five miles to a waterway.
  • Many haven't been on a boat or realised there is a waterway in Leeds.
  • Leeds Bridge (situated between Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Aire and Calder Navigation) was the city's first bridge which held the first cloth market.  It had a natural ford to get across the River Aire.
  • Aire and Calder Navigation was the country's first inland waterway to be opened.
  • It's claimed Leeds started the Industrial Revolution (though other cities may not agree with) because of its furthest inland port.
  • River Aire was once the worst polluted river though a lot of improvements have been made to make the river cleaner.
  • Leeds and Liverpool Canal celebrated 200 years since its completion last year.
An overview was given about Canal Connections, a social enterprise, including its project's aims and outcomes as follows:
  • Engagement with young people and connecting them with heritage
  • Viewing the waterways as a "Living Museum" (still operating 200 years later) and "an opening to the new world".
  • Continue to break down perceptions and barriers with engaging with members of the public.
  • Running activities programmes especially the summer school holidays.
Future plans were outlined including a new Port of Leeds in Stourton and increasing its commercial activity on the waterways.

The ultimate aim is for the younger generation to become "custodians of this heritage" and highlighting its importance.

An enjoyable and inspiring evening at Left Bank Leeds - formerly a church and now beautifully restored to its former glory and with an overpriced bar!

Please check out Canal Connections here.

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (Leeds to Kirkstall)

It was an accomplishment completing by foot the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in June 2017. There are many happy memories and relationship with my family has grown stronger.



I have made a couple of trips to the canal since June.  I mainly walked the Leeds stretch on the canal a couple of times - it is encouraging to see improvements and differences, albeit small ones, to the canal and its environs.


More people are using the canal whether cruising, cycling, running or walking.  The Stables Cafe, by Oddy Locks, held in a former horses stables, is a perfect place to stop for a coffee. This is an area which was once run down, derelict and smothered in graffiti.  Now the area has been regenerated, developed and now a pleasant place to stop and travel through.  The residents there take pride where they live including its canal.


On another canal visit I accessed the Armley Mills Industrial Museum.  Enroute I stopped at The Stables for a coffee then walked further to the museum.  Housed in a former mill, I saw Winterreise (Winter Journey) in the museum's Victorian intimate cinema.  The building is situated at a strategic point between the River Aire and the canal.  It certainly shared its purpose when the mills were in operation. The film screening connects people with nature. As well as nature this particular building can allow people to interact with their minds the industrial heritage and social history.



Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will give me an opportunity to embrace the past, present and future of England's single longest canal.



Whenever I make visits to the canal, depending on what I do and if I have anything interesting to share, I'll be blogging!