Haw Park Wood is 73 hectares (180 acres) of ancient woodland adjacent to Anglers Country Park near Wintersett and is only a short walk from the car park, but access can be gained from other points. Just 6km (4 miles) south east of Wakefield in the heart of West Yorkshire, Haw Park Wood gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature at its best. The Countryside Services Team manages the wood for its conservation and wildlife value, and as a valuable recreational and educational facility, working in partnership with community groups, volunteers and environmental organisations and agencies. There is open access to the entire site though most people keep to the woodland rides and the all weather footpath network. Families and children can safely enjoy the woodland and find out about its wildlife. The Rangers patrol the site and together with the Friends of Haw Park Wood organise an events programme including Bat Evenings, Fungi Foray, and Historical Walks and Activity Days.
The woodland was designated as a Site of Scientific Interest in 1981 due to its diverse habitat and a Local Nature Reserve in 1992 to reflect its wildlife and educational value. Once part of the much larger forest of the 1600’s the woodland has changed greatly in the last 100 years. Corsican pines were planted in Haw Park Wood, sent by barge through a disused small canal, up to the now defunct Barnsley canal for use in the mines during the “age of coal”. However, the wood is gradually being restored back to predominantly native broadleaf species to reflect its ancient status and attract more wildlife.
In 2018 Haw Park Wood received the prestigious Green Flag Award again, managed by The Keep Britain Tidy Group. This is a national annual award scheme with stringent criteria – it is welcoming, accessible woodland. It is clean and safe (for both wildlife and the visiting public), well maintained and managed in a sustainable way with strong involvement from the local community so having a ‘Friends’ group was a definite point in their favour. The 5 year Management Plan and Biodiversity Report helped demonstrate the plans for improvement and importance of the site.