Shadwell In Bloom
 
Dan Quarry

Dan Quarry is an area of woodland between Slaid Hill and Shadwell village. The entrance is the wooden gates marked with an ‘open access’ sign, just east (the village side) of North View in Shadwell Lane. The open access path leads to the former quarry which is now an important woodland and wildlife site. There is a wonderful show of snowdrops in early Spring and bluebells are in abundance on the edges of the woodland area. There are informal paths within the wood.

Shadwell In Bloom helps maintain the wood as a wildlife area. In 2002, the new Millennium Gate was put in and the track cleared. Since 2010 a sub-group of SIB visit it regularly. It is common land, covered by a 2006 Tree Preservation Order, and is owned by Leeds City Council. A focus group is now in place for Dan Quarry- email Norman Taylor at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for further details of current membership etc..

The wood was assessed in 2003, and the main recommendation was that ‘the wood should be left with as little disturbance as possible and no serious attempt at alteration’. It is a naturally colonized woodland, approaching its natural condition for a deciduous wood in this area – a situation extremely rare for woodland so near the city. There are many sycamores, but also birch, oak, holly, yew and hawthorn. In spring there are bluebell, dog’s mercury, wood sorrel and wild garlic, with foxglove, red campion, brambles, nettles and others becoming common as the season progresses. Many birds were seen, including tree creeper, jay, and swifts at the wood edges. The wood forms an important terminus to a woodland corridor which runs continuously southwards and joins the gorge in Roundhay Park. (Report by John Turner, Emeritus Professor of Biology; available here).

The sighting of a cuckoo in 2010 is an important record, since there has been a recent decline in cuckoo numbers. The species is now on the RSPB’s Red list, for species needing the highest conservation priority.

The sub-group of SIB met with the Countryside Ranger (David Blackham, Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside) four times in 2011, and he recommended the continuing management of the site for its wildlife value. During 2013, old barbed wire has been taken out, nettles on the path have been reduced, and litter removed. The Scouts are making some new bird boxes. Several bat boxes have been put up. All wood litter is left where it falls, other than to keep the informal paths clear, to encourage insects, small mammals, fungi and other plants. Recent contact with LCC has involved their Woodlands Officer James Jesson. James lives in Holywell Lane!

Some maps and photographs were prepared by Naomi Hirst for the SIB judging in 2011 (available here).

A bit of history. The quarry is shown on the Shadwell Enclosure award map of 1807, where it is labeled ‘Dan Quarry, public quarry’, and the track to it ‘Quarry Road’. It was a quarry for stones, gravel and sand for building and repairing houses, buildings and roads within Shadwell. After long disuse as a quarry, Leeds Corporation assumed ownership in 1951. Research on the ownership of the land was done in 1978, and at this time Leeds City Council was registered as the owner, using the Commons Registration Act of 1965. The Commons Commissioner report states that, ‘The City of Leeds is the only authority capable of protecting the land and the convenient course is to accept its claim to ownership subject to the trusts for the inhabitants of Shadwell’ (Ref. No. 87/U/4, 2nd March 1978).

See the Commons Commissioner report.