A very popular wood on the outskirts of Bristol consisting of mixed broadleaves and open coppice areas. There are views over the Avon gorge.
Accessed via an avenue of copper beech trees, planted to commemorate the Queen's Coronation in 1953, the medium sized car park is the ideal place for starting off on a walk in these woods. There are a number of picnic tables.
'Withdrawn' - art installation
Nestled in Leigh Woods visitors might be surprised to come across a flotilla of fishing boats in the middle of the forest. The boats are 'Withdrawn', an art installation by artist Luke Jerram, who creates sculptures, installations and live art projects around the world.
There are two waymarked forest trails that leave from the car park. The easy Purple trail and the moderate Red trail. Paradise Bottom is also a great place for walking for those wanting to get off of the beaten track.
Singletrack mountain biking trail
Set within the woods is the 2.2 mile single track Yer Tiz mountain bike trail.
The variety of woods, glades and wide sunny paths encourage a richness of wildlife and special plants including Bristol rock cress and Bristol onion.
Stokeleigh Camp, an Iron Age hill-fort, was built around 300BC. Finds of Neolithic arrow-heads and axe-heads show that hunting existed here long before the Iron Age. Some of these arrow-heads are on display at the Ashton Court Visitor Centre.
Parking facilities at Leigh Woods are free of charge.
What do other visitors say?
3 Starsbutcher, 19/Jan/2016
I walk with my dog every day in the woods and, although enjoyable, there are things that concern me. One is the way in which cyclists seem to ride at random through the woods creating muddy trails, disturbing wildlife and destroying plants in the process. They have an excellent network of cycle paths which are surfaced , which is more than can be said of many of the footpaths, and surely should be encouraged to keep to them.
Also the apparent random coppicing of areas which seems pointless - the explanation offered that it will encourage wild flowers seems far fetched and as yet none have appeared in areas cleared. Perhaps some information to explain what is being done and why would not go amiss. The same would apply to the felling of trees.
Forestry Commission Response
Thank you for your comments. We will refresh our signage in sensitive SSSI areas, asking people not to cycle and informing cyclists of the damage they cause to these areas. We are also working closely with local cycling groups to promote more responsible cycling practices. We are coppicing in selected areas in order to re-establish this ancient and traditional form of woodland management. Regular coppicing keeps trees healthy and alive for centuries. The sustainable practice helps create a rich variety of habitats for wildlife. We coppice in small selected .25 ha areas in order to keep as diverse a range of habitats accross the site as possible. These areas are fenced to protect them from deer damage
I walk in Leigh woods every day with my dog as I have done for the past twenty years. I am becoming increasingly dismayed by the amount of tree felling and seemingly pointless coppicing that is taking place.Having spoken to several staff I am unconvinced about the aims of the coppicing. I was assured five years ago that it would encourage wild flowers .I have seen no evidence of this. Why cannot wild flowers be planted if that is infact the aim? Cyclists are ignoring cycle paths and are cycling where they wish destroying woodland paths and making it even more difficult to walk in these muddy conditions. Why cannot signs be issued that ask cyclists to keep to designated cycle paths? Also to place signs where cyclists are straying stating that access for cylists is prohibited in these areas. With the ever increasing numbers of visitors / walkers / cyclists in Leigh Woods the tree felling and coppicing it is in danger of becoming a barren amusement park .
Forestry Commission Response
Thank you for your comments. Our tree felling work is part of our ongoing work plan to achieve our Ancient Woodland Restoration objectives. We are gradually removing non-native conifer species. We have re-introduced coppicing in a few areas. Coppicing is a sustainable form of woodland management and when done regularly it can keep trees healthy and alive for centuries. It also promotes a rich variety of habitats for wildlife. The coppicing provides important continued habitat for our Dormice. We will refresh our signage regarding cyclists in Leigh woods. We have found in the past that signs did not have a huge impact and instead have been working with local cycling groups to promote responsible cycling (not in SSSI areas)to the cycling community.
4 StarsAbigale, 1/Jan/2016
I walk my uncles dog up there and it's good, but to make me put 5 stars why don't you put more dog poop bin around and make sure children keep to one side because some bikes ride REALLY fast and could knock the children flying off their feet.
Forestry Commission Response
Thank you for your comments. We are glad you enjoy your visits to Leigh woods. Unfortunately dog bins are costly, not only to install but also to maintain. They have to be in locations where access is easy for collection. We are looking at ways to try to encourage more responsible dog ownership in the woods. The cycle trail in Leigh woods is due for some minor repair works. consideration will be given to areas where the bike trail crosses the walking trails, in order to slow cyclists. We also use signage to warn visitors of shared use paths and on approach to any major crossing points. This signage is reviewed regularly.