Set on the steeply sloping side of Meanwood Valley, The Hollies park has a deeply magical atmosphere. It is widely rumoured that J.R.R.Tolkien spent time here and it may have inspired his vision of Middle Earth.
The northern part is visually stunning natural woodland. There are towering beech and oak trees and willow and alder hang over Meanwood Beck. Fern lined, terraced paths with stone steps covered in moss and lichen wind their way through the woods. They criss-cross down the steep hillside with its gently trickling streams to footbridges over the Beck.
Snowdrops and daffodils are followed by bluebells and a profusion of colour from the “varied and extended collection of rhododendrons which clothe the wooded slopes making a visit in May especially breathtaking” (RHS). Botanic Gardens to the south are more ornamental in style and contain many unusual plants as well as two National Plant Collections, Philadelphus and Deutzia.
The extensive wildlife living in the park includes the nuthatch, kingfishers, warblers, wagtails, dippers, bats, roe deer, moles, foxes and squirrels.
After the First World War, William Brown gave the house and its 30 acres of grounds to the City of Leeds to be maintained as a public park in memory of his late son, Major Harold Brown, who was killed in 1918 in the Great War. “This former private estate still maintains the atmosphere of a tranquil private garden” (RHS).
You can join the Meanwood Valley Trail and walk south to Woodhouse Moor or north into Leeds’ surrounding countryside and to Golden Acre Park. Sheer pleasure ...
The Hollies is owned by Leeds City Council and managed by its Parks & Countryside Service. And it is cared for by the Friends of The Hollies. If you would like to volunteer to help and support The Hollies, please contact the Friends at https://friendsofthehollies.com/