Adel

Leeds

 

 

Adel lies midway between Meanwood Park and Golden Acre Park, and through its wooded area pass both the Dales Way and the Leeds Country Way circular walk.

 

Adel, a village in the suburbs of North Leeds, has a long history. An old Roman road passed through here from York to Ilkley, and it has always had a thriving community since the days when the Roman Fort and way station were built in the area.

 

During Saxon times a church was built in the village, but the older building was replaced by the Normans soon after the conquest, following the foundation of the Cistercian abbey at Kirkstall in 1152 to the south of Adel on the banks of the River Aire.

 

In the Domesday Book Adel is mentioned as Adele, it's name coming from the Saxon Old English word adela, which was a reference to a boggy place.

 

The Norman church of St John the Baptist stands today as one of the best examples of a complete Norman church, and is a Grade I listed building. Built between 1150 and 1170 it has altered little since, except for the bell tower added in Victorian times, and the protective roof above the ornately carved Norman arched doorway.

 

There to see are a medieval font with an oak canopy, a mounting block, grinding stones and troughs, near the church gates, a sundial, and carved gargoyles, although the knocker on the door I understand is a replacement for the stolen original.

 

Walking through Adel Woods from Stairfoot Lane, which lies behind the church, you see first Adel (Alwoodley) Crags, before descending to Adel Beck and following it's course to the clapper bridge near Spring Hill.

 

Although the site of St Helen's Well on St Helen's Lane is now lost, the Slavering Baby Well in Adel Woods is still a water source. Although greatly worn now, even since my childhood when we made Sunday pilgrimages to the Victorian tea rooms in the woods, watching as the water oozed from the mouth of the sulky looking "baby," this is reminiscent of wells associated with the Celtic head cult.

 

Further through the woods you pass the Seven Arches viaduct, which carries water from the Eccup reservoir across the valley towards Leeds, before continuing through Scotland Wood to emerge on the Ring Road at Bywater Farm.

 

 

Adel Norman Church

 

 Ornate Carved Norman Arched Doorway

 

Old Stone Gateposts and Clapper Bridge

 

The Slavering Baby Well

 

 

 

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