Beckett Park is a much loved community park set high on a ridge between Headingley and Kirkstall. With one of the best views of the Kirkstall valley, it has delightful well maintained parkland and woods and is positioned to take full advantage of spectacular sunsets. Beckett Park is a pleasure to visit in any season.
The Park forms part of a major green corridor with walks and cycleways stretching from West Park Fields, through the Headingley Campus (Leeds Beckett University), onto the Park itself, into Batcliffe Wood, then down to Kirkstall Lane. It has free tennis courts, outdoor fitness equipment, a skate park, and a children’s playground, pleasing young and old alike.
It was once part of the lands of Kirkstall Abbey’s New Grange (later Kirkstall Grange), and shows the distinctive ridges and furrows of medieval fields. It was first formally planted as parkland and gardens in the early 19th century by John Marshall (a flax spinner who built Marshall’s Mills in Holbeck).
It takes its name from Ernest Beckett, Second Baron Grimthorpe, whose family bought the estate in 1834. Most of the park is now owned by Wade’s Charity and leased to Leeds City Council, but parts (including Kirkstall Grange itself) lie within the Headingley Campus of Leeds Beckett University.
In terms of heritage buildings, the Headingley Campus next door contains Kirkstall Grange and several other listed buildings, including all the 1912 college buildings and the Victoria Arch built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s opening of Leeds’ Town Hall in 1858 which can be found in Queen’s Wood.
With spring approaching, the Friends of Beckett Park can be found planting trees, hedges, bulbs and wild flower meadows. Formed in 2014, we help the Council maintain the area, safeguard its historical features, and enhance the Park for the benefit of the community and wildlife. The group carries out park and woodland management, puts up nest boxes, and purchases benches. We hope to fund improvements to the play facilities and the skate park, and are seeking funding to restore the entrance gates and railings. Last year we hosted Heritage Open Day Walks with the University, and we hold an annual community picnic and band concert in July with the local resident association (Beckett’s Park Residents Association) which is open to everyone.