Length 13.2 km (8.2 miles, but you can shorten/lengthen it as you please), terrain: flat
Leeds running routes:
Leeds Canal route
Leeds Center/Woodhouse Moor route
For more running routes, see Route List.
This is one of those really easy routes: simple, flat, scenic, you can't get lost, and you can turn around any time you please. If you're in central Leeds, make sure you try out this run along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, which begins just south of the Leeds train station.
|Along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal|
|Every mile there is a marker: still a long way to go!|
So, if you're ready, let's head south down Neville Street at the Leeds train station. Neville Street goes through a loud, dark tunnel under the train tracks, and comes out at the River Aire, where you cross the bridge.
|Start of the run, from bridge over the River Aire|
Turn right at the first street past the bridge, Water Lane, running westwards, then turn right again at the first chance, onto Canal Wharf.
Run past the stone warehouse on your right, and now follow the water the 100 meters to the first stone bridge. We need to cross that bridge back to the north side of the canal, where you turn left and now follow the asphalted towpath westwards along the north shore of the canal.
|Switching to the north side: just follow that towpath on the right!|
This route, to make it interesting, has a scenic end-point picked out that's a bit off the canal: Kirkstall Abbey. The extensive abbey ruins are in a nice park just a couple of blocks north of the canal at about the 6-kilometer mark, so they're a really nice highlight to the run.
Back in Leeds, heading east, you'll likely see a lot of other runners, walkers and bikers along the first few kilometers. The south side of the canal is still fairly industrial, but pleasant green shrubbery grows along both sides of the water.
There are also quite a few new apartment buildings along the north side of the canal in the city center.
|Sunken barge along the way|
At the 3-kilometer mark, you'll run under a metal railroad bridge, and then a barge basin connects to the canal along the right, full of narrowboats.
|Narrowboats in the basin|
You'll then pass the Leeds Golf Course across the canal, as the canal curves northwards.
Maybe you've noticed that each canal bridge is numbered. At about the 5-km mark, when you get to bridge 222, just before the stone buildings of the Kirksdall Brewery, turn right onto Bridge Lane and run east over the bridge crossing the River Aire. This is our detour to the abbey.
Along the left side of the street, just past the WWI memorial cross, you'll see a gate into a little green park. That's the Kirkstall Abbey park.
Turn in there. You'll follow a beautiful, flower-lined little stream, cross the bridge over that stream, running northwards parallel to Abbey Road.
|Kirkstall Abbey ruins|