“Walk Around the Clock”, inspired by the much-loved Oakwood Clock, is a fascinating urban walk around Oakwood, a suburb of Leeds close to Roundhay Park. The walk which takes about an hour starts and finishes in the shadow of the clock, but can be joined at any point along the route. However, it may take longer for walkers who, as well as enjoying healthy exercise, may wish to walk with curiosity and learn more about Oakwood’s interesting history and geography.
The Oakwood Clock was originally commissioned for Leeds Kirkgate Market, then in 1913 moved to its present site in Oakwood. In 2015, after a big fund-raising effort by local residents and local businesses, the clock tower was fully restored. At one time Oakwood was at the end of the tram line, and trams circled the clock to turn round and return to Leeds.
The route of “Walk Around the Clock” passes the site of a former large quarry (now the Co-op car park!) from which much of pre1900 Oakwood was built. On Roundhay Road the walk visits the site of the vast Olympia Roller Skating Rink billed in its brief heyday (1909) as “The Finest Rink in Europe”, and subsequently to become Olympia Works where some of the earliest aircraft were built. Across the road, is where the Astoria Ballroom formerly stood, previously the “Harehills Palaise de Dance”. The walk then goes through Gipton Wood where there is an enclosure and field system which is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. These are but a few of the 31 points of interest which form part of the walk. For those who wish to make it a family walk there is a Children’s Challenge with questions for the children about places of interest on the route.
Full details of the route of “Walk Around the Clock” and the various places of interest can be downloaded free at www.oakwoodchurch.info/walkaroundtheclock. There is also a splendidly illustrated Trail Guide which costs £3 and is on sale at the Leeds Civic Trust Bookshop, City Stationers on Roundhay Road, and Oakwood Library.
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