Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve, Brighouse Walk

Once a quarry, landfill site and ash tip for the old Elland power station, Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve is now home to a mix of woodland, wetland and grassland and is rich in plants and wildlife.

Sandwiched between the West Yorkshire towns of Brighouse and Elland, Cromwell Bottom offers a great place to explore with birds, squirrels, insects and wild flowers all calling it their home.

Discovering the Rebirth of Nature: A Journey through Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve

Starting Point

Find your starting point either at the intimate gravel car park off Elland Road or commence your journey from the picturesque canal adjacent to several of Brighouse town center’s car parks (a leisurely 25-minute stroll away).


Nestled between the charming West Yorkshire towns of Brighouse and Elland, Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve is a sanctuary of reclamation and rebirth. Once an ash tip, landfill, and quarry for Elland power station, this verdant paradise has metamorphosed into an extraordinary blend of woodland, wetland, and grassland. The reserve beckons with its rich tapestry of flora and fauna, making it an idyllic escape for naturalists, families, and casual walkers alike.

Entering the Oasis: Portakabin Café and Trail Maps

As you make your way from the car park, you have several inviting paths to enter the sanctuary. However, the main gateway lies across a quaint bridge leading towards the Portakabin Café. Here, you’ll encounter a comprehensive map outlining an array of trails, as well as areas accessible for wheelchairs and prams—a fantastic resource to plot your adventure.

The view from the canal bridge just before the entrance to the nature reserve

The Grand Loop: Riverbanks, Weirs, and Wildlife Spots

Embarking on the journey, we recommend following the long loop that takes you on a poetic journey along the river’s edge. Make your way toward the mesmerizing weir, pausing perhaps to reflect on nature’s power and beauty. Continue onto the pond-dipping platform, a spot brimming with life and seasonal colors. Loop back to immerse yourself in the dedicated bird-watching area, a haven for ornithologists and casual observers alike. Your trek will guide you next to a tranquil lagoon, a final natural spectacle before reconnecting with the canal to meander back to the starting point.

Duration and Accessibility

This invigorating route spans just under 3 km and roughly 40 minutes of walking time. Should you decide to indulge in serene stops at the pond, bird-watching station, and lagoon, you can comfortably add an extra 50 minutes to your journey.

This map gives you clear guidance on where it is safe and accessible to walk

We followed a long loop around the edge of the river, up to the weir and around to the pond dipping platform, before looping back round to the bird watching area and following the path round to the lagoon. From there, we re-joined the canal to meander our way back to the car park.

This route was just short of 3km and lasted for around 40 minutes. Stops at the pond, bird watching area and lagoon added on a further 50 minutes.

This is the view from the footbridge looking towards the weir

Bonus: Extend Your Adventure to Brighouse and Halifax Canal

Note: This walk will also make a great segue into the Brighouse to Halifax canal walk, which could be linked at the end.

Should you crave more exploration, this walk seamlessly transitions into the captivating Brighouse to Halifax canal trek, offering an extended adventure that celebrates the beauty and history of West Yorkshire.


Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve is not merely a walk; it’s an experience that tells the tale of nature’s resilience and grandeur. Whether you’re tracing the footprints of diverse wildlife, admiring an array of wildflowers, or simply seeking solace away from the hustle and bustle, this sanctuary offers a treasure trove of experiences that nourish the soul. Lace up your walking shoes and prepare for an expedition that transcends the ordinary.

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