Woodlesford is a village in the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England, six miles south-east of Leeds city centre. It is in the City of Leeds metropolitan borough. Woodlesford was formerly part of the Rothwell Urban District
The name is first attested between 1188 and 1202, in the form Widlesford, with other medieval forms including Wryd(e)lesford(e). These other forms are closer to the likely origin: Old English *wrīdels 'thicket' + ford 'ford'. The ford in question must have been on the road from Tadcaster to Wakefield, crossing the River Aire.
Woodlesford is now a residential part of the commuter belt that services the city of Leeds. It has a diverse history. It once had a number of industries, including its own pottery, match factory, quarries, and Brewery. It was divided into two parts "Old Woodlesford" and "New Woodlesford". The old part of the village is situated to the north of the park up on the hill and contains the school, the chapel and former church. New Woodlesford related to the area on Aberford Road which is now dominated by 19th century terraces, the CO-OP store and "Howgate and Farrar" Butchers - the most recent business to open in Woodlesford (20 May 2010).
It was the home of Bentley's Yorkshire Bitter, until the brewery was acquired by Whitbread plc in 1968 and closed down four years later. The Bentley family left their mark upon the landscape building not only the brewery, but also Eshald Mansion & All Saints Church. The Church opened in 1880s and closed in the 1990s. It has since been redeveloped as a house  and the Mansion divided into flats.
Originally Woodlesford was clearly separated from the neighbouring village of Oulton but this is no longer the case due to the residential expansion of both villages. An official border runs between the two villages running through the centre of the Midland Hotel Pub and along Midland Street and then across to Holmsley Field Lane. Ironically, this places Oulton Library in Woodlesford and Woodlesford Post Office in Oulton. Woodlesford, however, is much larger than Oulton. Woodlesford also extends as far as Bowers Row, formerly the St Aidan's Colliery, and across to the M62.
Much of Woodlesford's expansion took place from the nineteenth century as a mining village. Woodlesford boasted four operational pits at Bower's Row by 1896 all owned by T & R W Bower Ltd, managed by W S Blackburn. There was also mining at Rothwell Colliery. When coal production ceased in 1983 the area went into decline though quickly recovered in large part due to its ideal position for commuters. This is because many major roads are located nearby including the M1, M62, A1 and a newly constructed M1/A1 link road. There is also a small railway station to the north-east of the village which provides frequent trains to Leeds, Barnsley, Sheffield and Goole from which services can be caught to all major cities throughout the country.
Most young children in the area attend the local Woodlesford Primary School. The school dates to the nineteenth century and has steadily expanded the number of buildings on site including a major expansion in recent years. Woodlesford Primary is currently one of the highest scoring schools in the Leeds area for English, Maths and Science and actively encourages pupils to participate in a wide range of sports. Many other young children attend the nearby Oulton Primary School. Most children between 11 and 16 attend the nearby Royds School located in Rothwell; others commute further to either Brigshaw High School, The Rodillian Academy or Garforth Academy.
At the centre of the village is a small park which contains a football pitch and recently constructed children's play area and skatepark. The closest sports facility is Rothwell Sports Centre located in neighbouring Oulton. Night-life in the village is provided by three pubs and other pubs and restaurants in the nearby area. Many people in the area often travel into Leeds or Wakefield especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The village also contains a post office, petrol station, convenience store, library, three newsagents and various other shops and food outlets.
The village railway station operates 7 days a week, with services running every 30 minutes Monday - Saturday (every hour on Sundays) on the Hallam Line (Leeds - Sheffield); and the Pontefract Line (Leeds - Knottingley (with limited services continuing onto Goole)). The service offers a fast connection to Leeds City Centre, with a journey time of 8 minutes. Train services to Leeds depart from Platform 1. Platform 2 (accessed via a footbridge over the Railway line) operates services outbound towards Castleford, Normanton, Glasshoughton, Pontefract Monkhill, Knottingley, Wakefield Kirkgate, Darton, Barnsley, Wombwell, Elsecar, Chapeltown (South Yorkshire), Meadowhall Interchange and Sheffield. Between quarters 3 and 4 of the calendar year, the Steam Powered Scarborough Spa Express train operates services to Scarborough on Tuesdays and Thursdays, calling at Platform 2 of Woodlesford railway station at 12:01 pm. Passengers are able to experience Scarborough for 3 hours, before the return journey stops at Woodlesford railway station at approximately 7 pm.
The village also boasts its own Army Cadet Force unit (part of Yorkshire North & West ACF) which meets on Mondays and Thursdays 19:00 - 21:00 which is situated next to Oulton Library and the playing field/skate park. The detachment is open to boys and girls aged between 13 and 18.
On 20 January 2010, one of the village's public houses, The White Hart closed to the public. The White Hart was located at 40 Church Street and was Woodlesford's largest pub. The demolition of the building commenced on 15 November 2010 and the land is to be used for the construction of 3 houses and 4 bungalows.
- Victor Watts (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. WOODLESFORD.
- "All Saints House, Woodlesford".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Woodlesford.|
- Local History
- LS26.org.uk - area website
- "The Ancient Parish of Rothwell". GENUKI. Retrieved 2007-10-29. - Woodlesford was in this parish
- - Yorkshire (N&W) ACF Website