Situated on the site of former Kirkstall Power Station, Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve is a fantastic example of nature restoration. The reserve now supports large areas of wildflower meadow and young woodland. Formed on a plateau of fly ash deposits and later landfill, the site was capped and seeded with native wildflower species in the 1990s, while shrubs and trees were planted around the edges. The area was noted for orchards in medieval times, Kirkstall now supports a good number of fruit trees including medlar, quince and five apple varieties, with recent additions of cherry, greengage, damson, pear and plum.
A variety of habitats have emerged; meadows sustain a myriad of insect life including the small copper butterfly, young woodland is rich with fruit bearing shrubs attracting feeding birds, ponds and ditches ensure robust populations of toads, frogs and newts.
Over 130 plant species have been recorded on site along with 65 species of birds including kingfisher and a number of mammals such as fox, as well as pipistrelle, noctule and Daubenton's bats. Otters may be seen by the old ford, which is generally impassable for most of the year.
Sixteen butterfly species have been recorded including comma and small copper and also six species of dragonfly.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust manages the meadows through cutting and raking in late summer. The woodland is coppiced and thinned on rotation in the winter.
There is a bar at the City Golf club house and toilets used with their permission.