Tea among the trees!

Sylva café, Oakwood, Leeds

Sylva café at Oakwood, Leeds is something of a statement building – a very striking design, but it looks at home nestled among the trees and close by the restored Oakwood Clock.

The clock used to be in Leeds Market, but was moved here in 1912 and after a campaign by local traders the restored clock was unveiled in 2015. The whole area was revamped, including flower beds and a community vegetable garden and a farmers’ market is held once a month.

The café is wheelchair accessible – there’s a bit of a steep little slope then a sharp bend to keep you on the plank slope up to the door, but nothing too bad. The staff were helpful – they had cleared away a chair so I could sit at the table and we had tea and rather good cake – all their cakes are gluten free and they all looked scrumptious. The tea could have been a bit stronger but I’m told the coffee was very good!

The carpark outside gets very busy – we felt lucky to get a space – there is at least one Blue Badge space and there is more parking at the nearby supermarket although that would mean negotiating a steepish slope.

The café was quite full and therefore quite noisy as there isn’t anything soft to absorb sound but in fine weather you could sit outside. You can see their menus on the website, sandwiches, salads etc and in the evening, the upstairs is a bar.

I would go again – it’s definitely a good addition to the area.

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Accessible woodland trails

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum is a great place to visit if you like woods and great views!

Amazing view at Queenswood Arboretum, Herefordhsire
Amazing view at Queenswood Arboretum, Herefordhsire

We came here after visiting Hampton Court Castle which has a lovely accessible walled garden but whose woodland trails required a bigger scooter than mine.

We picnicked in the car park surrounded by trees (parking is free with a Blue Badge) then moved to the main car park which has some designated Blue Badge spaces and set off into the woods with a basic map provided by the visitor centre. The trails are way-marked, including the route to the viewing point!

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire
Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire

The paths were earth and occasionally a little muddy in places (as it had chucked it down the previous night, it was actually remarkably dry!) and generally bump-free. We made our way to the viewing point for yet another wonderful view of the Herefordshire countryside.

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire
Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire

As it is an arboretum, many of the trees were labelled but we managed to identify a giant redwood even before reading the sign!

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire
Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Herefordshire

The visitor centre has locally made honey and preserves and some lovely cards and gifts and friendly staff. Accessible loo a little small but enough room for my scooter! Plenty of parking, including some Blue Badge spaces although it could possibly do with some more and I’m not surprised – it was a great place to visit not only for scooter-users: there were plenty of people with pushchairs as well. You can borrow an electric scooter for a suggested £5 donation if you book it in advance.

I thoroughly recommend this place if you fancy some fresh air, trees and a lovely view!

We visited while we were staying at Valley View, Thatch Close Cottages, Llangrove. Other accessible things to do nearby include Yat Rock and Hampton Court Castle, The Prospect, a modest park in Ross-on-Wye with yet more lovely views and the riverside paths down below – in fact the tourist office sent us a wheel-users route to get around Ross – it’s good to know more places are starting to think of these things.