History of Gledhow Grange and Brackenwood

The Brackenwood Estate is part of the historic suburb of Gledhow. Brackenwood is bounded by Lidgett Lane to the north, Borough Avenue to the east, Gledhow Valley Woods to the south and Allerton Grange Avenue to the west. Moor Allerton is located to the west and Chapel Allerton to the south.  The name ‘Gledhow’ is derived from the Saxon words signifying ‘The Hill of the Kite’ (which has been the inspiration for our logo).

The word ‘bracken’ is of Old Norse origin, related to Swedish ‘braken’ and Danish ‘bregne’, both meaning fern.
Did you know… bracken is one of the most successful fern plants in the world and is found on all continents except Antarctica and in all environments except deserts, though their typical habitat is moorland scrub.

Old map of Gledhow

In the 12th century, the Cistercian monks of Kirkstall Abbey opened their farm at Allerton Grange (on what is now Larkhill Green immediately south of Lidgett Lane Parade of shops). In the following century Kirkstall Abbey became a major landowner in the Allerton area. See map from 1875 showing the Brackenwood area.

1.  In 1899, Allerton Grange Farm was run by Charles Pollard and locally known as ‘Pollards Farm’ and Moor Allerton Hall (The White House) was the home of Lt. Col. Lambert and later of R.B. Hopkins. The Pollard family had many farming interests in this area with Charles Pollard at Allerton Grange and William Pollard at Gledhow Grange at the end of the 19th century. Photograph below shows Allerton Grange Farmhouse on the site of Larkhill Green taken on 5 June 1950.

Allerton Grange Farm house

2.   The late 18th century Moor Allerton Hall Estate (also known as “The White House”, and Grange House). This grand country house was once used for a Primary School (Moor Allerton Hall County Primary School) and was converted to luxury residential apartments in the 1990s after the relocation to Moor Allerton Hall Primary and Nursery School adjacent to the White House. The Grade 2 listed Moor Allerton Hall, The Lodge and the tree lined drive from Lidgett Lane to Moor Allerton Hall is of local heritage and cultural value.

3.   Lidgett Farm was located on what is today Lidgett Lane Allotment (formerly known as North Park Avenue Allotments) which is one of the largest and most successful allotment gardens in Leeds.

Gledhow Grange and Allerton Grange area is of historic significance as it was the site of the ancient Allerton Grange Farm which was a Cistercian monastic farm of Kirkstall Abbey. The Brackenwood area was predominantly large open grassland with a woodland area running along Gledhow beck (4) to the west and south and Lidgett Farm and Allerton Grange Farm to the north and Gledhow Grange (5) to the east (as shown by photo below). The ancient Allerton Grange Farmhouse and out buildings were located near to the site of two converging becks which flow into Gledhow Valley Woods.

Distant view of Gledhow

Country estates surrounding Gledhow Hall were Gledhow Grange and Hawkhills, Gledhow Lane – both the homes of solicitor William Middleton Esq. Ann, the wife of wealthy wool manufacturer William Lupton, died in 1865 at Gledhow Mount Mansion

Gledhow Grange
Gledhow Grange, a large property in Lidgett Lane (see photograph on the horizon, left). The estate was once owned by solicitor William Middleton Esq. By 1900, Gledhow Grange was owned and farmed by William Pollard.

Extensive areas of Gledhow Valley Woods is recognised as ancient woodland and is designated as a Leeds Nature Area because of its wildlife value.

Did you know…The south east corner of Gledhow Valley Woods is designated a Regional Important Geological Site because of Elland Flag exposures of Carboniferous age rock (about 300 million years old).

The Brackenwood Estate is built on a large, open, grassland hillside. On the summit of the hill was an old WW2 anti-aircraft gun site which consisted of a large concrete base with metal attachments for the guns and concrete pens for the ammunition.

Brackenwood is a predominantly a late 1960s housing estate made up of high rise blocks of flats, medium rise blocks of maisonettes and short terraced town houses and small semi-detached houses in the ‘Garden City’ suburban style. Brackenwood was formerly a Leeds City Council owned estate, but now has a mixture of tenures from owner occupation, private rented accommodation through to social housing.

Photographs courtesy of Leeds Libraries Leodis archive