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Kirklees Valley is the fifth local nature reserve in Bury and was declared on the 21st October 2010.

Kirklees Valley covers a wide area and located between Brandlesholme Road on the B6214/B6215 and Tottington/Bury Road on the B6213.

Visiting Kirklees Valley

The valley area is great to visit at any time of year. To make the most of your visit, you can expect to look out for certain species of animal at different times of year:

  • Spring: newts, frogs and toads can be found in many of the lodges and water bodies
  • Summer: various species of bats can be spotted on an evening walk as they hunt for winged insects over the water and along the woodland paths
  • Autumn: a wide variety of fungi can be found around the site
  • Winter: look out for roe deer tracks as they forage during the colder months

You can get to Kirklees Valley by:

  • Bus: from the bus terminus of the 469 and a short walk along Kirklees Street. On weekdays, the bus runs from Rochdale to Tottington every 30 minutes and every 10 minutes from Bury
  • Bicycle: route 6 of the National Cycle Network follows the Kirklees Trail and is sign posted from north and south

Walking routes

From the start of Kirklees Trail at Brandlesholme Road (next to the Bull's Head Pub), public access is good and the trail surface is flat with an all-weather covering.

Away from the trail and into valley the paths are variable, some are cobbled, uneven and often muddy when wet. There are a number of paths that skirt around the lodges and caution is needed when negotiating these.

Walking route suggestions:

  • The length of time to walk around the site can vary, depending on the route and the purpose of the visit
  • Walking along the Kirklees Trail disused railway line takes around 40 minutes
  • Longer walks of an hour or more are on a circular route. This gives great views around the site from Kirklees Street, along the viaduct overlooking Island Lodge, toward Tower Farm and down the valley, returning via the trail at Sunnywood Lane

Parking and facilities

If arriving by car, parking is available:

  • Off Market Street, near Tottington Library, with the trail accessed via Laurel Street
  • Along Brandlesholme Road, near the entrance to the trail at Greenmount on Kirklees Street and on South Royd Street

Please be aware that there are no public toilets at the Kirklees Valley site.

If you notice damage in the countryside, please report this to us by calling customer services 0161 253 5353.

Kirklees Valley habitats

The habitats to be found within Kirklees Valley are varied, such as woodland, grassland, heathland, ponds, lodges and streams. The woodland is generally semi-natural and the tree composition is mixed, including; Oak, Birch, Sycamore, Ash, Alder, Crack Willow, Wych Elm and Beech.

The woodland age structure is also varied with regeneration of all the main tree and shrub layer species. Willow and Alder dominate in the wet areas around the lodges and in the former industrial areas.

There are a large number of ponds and lodges found within the site. Some are natural, but many are former mill lodges and settling tanks which have naturalised and are used by feeding bats, amphibians and colonised by flora associated with wetland habitats. This is the main reason for the designation of Kirklees Valley as a site of biological importance.

A large area of heathland is present behind Tottington High School playing fields. This area was formerly a recreation ground but has not been managed as such in recent history. Ling or 'calluna vulgaris' is present in a mosaic with unimproved acid grassland.


All the common woodland bird species are represented in the valley, including; Jay, Wren, Nuthatch and Blackbird. Blackcap is a summer visitor, as is Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. Dipper and Kingfisher have also been seen along Kirklees Book and some of the large lodges.

Amphibian species are well represented including; smooth, Palmate and Great Crested newts.

Roe deer have been seen frequently throughout the valley.

Six of the sixteen resident bat species have been recorded regularly within the valley, demonstrating the importance of the area for bats.

Kirklees Valley history

Kirklees Valley has a long association with the industrial past and the remains of this industrial heritage continue to exert an influence on the appearance of the valley today.

In the North of the valley near Tower Farm, Tottington Mill Printworks was founded. The Mill produced calico printing and had a major influence on the growth of the village of Tottington, employing over 400 people in 1841.

Further down the valley near the present location of Greenmount Bird Sanctuary was the site of Kirklees Bleachworks.

Another important feature of the Kirklees Valley is the Kirklees trail. This was formerly the Bury to Holcombe Brook branch railway line, developed by the Bury and Tottington Railway Company in 1878.

Friends of Kirklees Valley

The Friends of Kirklees Valley group is a collection of local residents and park users who are passionate about Kirklees Valley.

Facebook: The Friends of Kirklees Valley group Facebook page.