Gipton Wood

hosted by

Oakwood Church Leeds



Home Walk Around The Clock

In 1923 Gipton Wood was conveyed by Deed of Gift [1] to the Corporation of Leeds to be maintained as an open woodland for the benefit of the public. The wood is now managed by the Parks and Countryside department of Leeds City Council in conjunction with the Friends of Gipton Wood


Gipton Wood forms part of the Roundhay conservation area about 2 miles North East of Leeds City centre. It covers an area of about 8.5 hectares [85,000 square meters] bounded by Roundhay Road, Oakwood Boundary Road and Copgrove Road


It is part of a network of woodlands in the locality, to the North is the Roundhay Park Estate, to the West are Gledhow Valley Woods and the remaining part of Barker Wood, and to the North East are Wykebeck Valley woods


The Gipton Wood site is classified by English Nature [2] as “a plantation on ancient woodland site” (PAWS). The main tree species are oak, sycamore and beech. Natural woodland regeneration together with a verity of shrubs such as holly and rowan form a substantial ground cover. Some deadwood has been left standing to provide a useful wildlife habitat within the woodland ecosystem. The site is home to many species of birds, mammals and insects. Some plants are used to classify a woodland type and age, only growing in ancient semi-natural woods


The wood is crossed by hard surface sand stone paths which provide a pleasant surface to walk on and also protect the wood from soil compaction and erosion. The main entrance from Roundhay road has been enhanced with mosaic made by a local artist using individual segments designed by local children


There are the remains of an ancient ‘D’ shaped earthwork [3] to the north-east alongside Oakwood Boundary Road, on a relatively flat plateau overlooking an escarpment. It is an enclosure and field system dating from the late Bronze Age or Romano-British period (c.1000 BC – 400 AD)


In 1998 the earthwork was classified by English Heritage [4] as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) number SM 31496


In 1714 the eminent Leeds antiquarian Ralph Thoresby Esq. F.R.S. published his Ducatis Leodiensis in which he described “an ancient fortification, the out-trench whereof is eighteen foot broad, the first camp about 100 long and 66 broad, the second about 163 square”. The Oakwood Boundary Road subsequently covered part of the earthworks Thoresby observed.


Located on the hillside with terraced areas and cultivated fields it had long been speculated that this oval shaped bank and ditch at the centre was typical of a cattle enclosure and that it may have been surrounded by a timber palisade with farm buildings or a settlement nearby

Notes


[1] Owners of Gipton Wood [PDF] by Peter Kelley


[2] English Nature was the United Kingdom government agency that promoted the conservation of wildlife, geology and wild places throughout England between 1990 and 2006. Following a review by Lord Haskins, enacted in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, English Nature was integrated with parts of both the Rural Development Service and the Countryside Agency from 1 October 2006, to form a new body called Natural England.


[3] Notes on the ‘D’ shaped earthwork in Gipton Wood, Leeds [PDF] by Peter Kelley


[4] English Heritage - The National Heritage List for England List Entry ID 1018256 “Late prehistoric enclosed settlements in Gipton Wood, at the southern end of Oakwood Drive”


The National Archives Archaeological Survey Of Prehistoric Earthworks In Gipton Wood (Phase 1)


Articles

Oak Leaves - ODHS


Part Four - Spring 2003

The Prehistoric Enclosure in Gipton Wood

 by Peter Kelley


Links

Goodalls Illustrated Royal Handbook to Roundhay Park 1872 (Page 9 -The Woods of Gipton)


Contact

history@oakwoodchurch.info


Friends of Gipton Wood

More Local History Oakwood Clock

Oakwood Church Leeds