Todwick Ramblers Club Walks: 2023
23rd November 2023
South Anston – Chesterfield Canal – Hawks Wood – Spring Wood – Lindrick Dale – Anston Stones – South Anston. Approx. 5.27 miles
On a breezy November morning 10 Ramblers set off to walk from South Anston down to Chesterfield Canal Tow Path. After a short walk along the canal we continued into Hawks Wood where we took our first coffee stop with views towards Thorpe Hall.
We continued into Spring Wood, enjoying the walk through the colourful late autumn leaves. Making our way back to the canal we stopped for lunch. Our walk then took us across fields into Lindrick Dale, towards the A57 and Anston Stones.
On entering the Stones we came across a couple of swings attached to an old familiar tree. This gave us the opportunity of a photo stop and to give the swings a bit of a whirl!
Our walk was completed by returning across the railway line and A57 back to our meeting point.
With good and humorous company we enjoyed a colourful autumn walk.
Many thanks to all for supporting us as first time walk leaders!
Sue and Marek
7th November 2023
14 Ramblers, plus 2 dogs, met by the Shireoaks Marina for the first of our monthly rambles. Amazingly, the weather was really good, sunshine, no rain, a light breeze and not too chilly.
We followed footpaths into Shireoaks then had to change our planned route because of flooding near the Hewett Arms. I’d checked this spot the previous day as I knew the top lake was flooding into the lower lake across the footpath, I re-checked in the morning and the flooding was even worse. So, we used the roadway to take us to the bridge near St Luke’s Parish Church.
Here, there is a small village green and a notice board detailing that the row of cottages on Shireoaks Row was formerly called Tub Row. Barrels, or tubs, were used to collect rainwater as the local water was too hard for washing. The connected row of outhouses is wonderfully preserved and worth a look, I hope there is a preservation order in place as they look very unique.
The footpath took us to the canal then on to Turnerwood which has some excellent walling, perfect for the picnic stop.
Refreshed, we continued on the path, alongside the Canal feeder channel, to Brancliffe Grange and back to the Canal. Opposite the station the footpath leads through Wood Green to the old colliery site. here there is a climb to a lookout point and again good for another coffee.
We descended via a steep path and a flight of steps back to the Canal, then headed back west to the Marina. A scenic and interesting walk of about 5 miles which we all enjoyed in the sunshine.
18th October 2023
On a beautiful sunny autumn’s morning, 7 members plus Poppy the dog met at a lay-by on the A614 for a walk in the south east corner of Clumber Park. This always quiet area of the park is even less popular now that Clumber Bridge and the car park on the east side of the lake are closed.
A short walk on tree-lined paths parallel to the road took us into a field which until recently was used for growing cereals, fruit and vegetables by Clumber Farm, but which is now part of the National Trust’s controversial re-wilding programme.
Continuing, we came to the new foot bridge across the lake outlet. This new bridge is to replace the old one which was destroyed by horse riders crossing despite a notice saying no horses. Maybe the horses did not want to get their feet wet crossing the ford.
Following a short stop at Hardwick Village toilets we walked along the east side of the lake to our coffee stop overlooking the lake with Clumber Church and clock tower on the far bank.
Passing through the closed east side car park we continued up Beach Drive to reach our lunch stop in the woods, a large fallen tree giving plenty of seating.
A short walk then took us back to our starting point, an easy walk of just over 5 miles.
A very pleasant walk on an October morning in good company enjoyed by all, despite the poor attendance by members…
1st October 2023
This local, circular walk is sometimes referred to as “The 5 farms walk” which is a testament to how blessed we are in Todwick to be surrounded by countryside and so much open space. In actual fact we passed 6 farms, so perhaps we should update the name!
On a fairly dull day, with the threat of rain in the air, 9 of our happy stalwarts set off from Hardwick and were quickly into that open space, first taking the footpath across open fields down and across the A57 and then down to the first of our farms – Aston Common Farm.
Then we headed south across fields and some woodland along well known paths which bypass Todwick to the east and which pass Upper Common Farm en route to Wales. We arrived at Wales near the railway bridge with Low Laithes Farm adjacent and then turned west to head towards Aston. We soon passed over the M1 – very busy as usual, even on a Sunday – and were soon crossing 2 large fields that, only a few weeks ago were almost impassable due to shoulder high and spiky rape seen plants that were ready for harvesting.
After passing Nickerwood Farm on the left, the path sloped down to the Fiddleneck Ponds, where we stopped for our usual break on picnic tables courtesy of the Water Side Café.
Then we were off again, walking through a small woodland and up to All Saints Church at Aston. Then left along Worksop Road as far as the Beauty Salon where there was a footpath adjacent.
Down the footpath and past New South Farm and up the slope to the BT transmitter at the top of the hill. We were tempted to stop here for a coffee break and to admire the panoramic views back over Aston but it had started to drizzle by now and sitting on the wet embankment was not appealing. Graham put his foot down with a firm hand 😁 and made an executive decision that we should instead continue with the walk – which we did.
Then it was past the BT tower and the turbines of Penny Hill Wind Farm beyond and along well established paths, now heading west, to our last farm, Hardwick Lane Farm and back to our start point.
A lovely walk in lovely company.
7th September 2023
On the hot summer day of 7th September, 8 members of the Todwick Ramblers began their ramble from Cannon Hall, Barnsley.
Cannon Hall, a beautiful building with parkland, was bought by John Spencer in 1660. After living there and having had numerous additions and alterations, Elizabeth the last remaining member of the Spencer-Stanhope family sold it to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in 1951 and it was reopened in 1957 as a country house museum. The Hall, now with a garden centre and bistro, along with Cannon Hall children’s Farm, with its own restaurant, café and farm shop is a big attraction. The parkland with the river running through makes it all well worthy of a visit.
From the car park on Bark House Lane we walked up to and passed in front of the Hall, through the parkland and over a bridge. We then made our way via field paths so as to walk through the well-kept and attractive old village of Cawthorne. After admiring the village we traversed a few fields up to Banks Hall. Another of John Spencer-Stanhope’s Houses, which was lived in by two of his spinster daughters. From this high point with lovely country views our route took us down through an old wooded area and more fields to access Bark House Lane then over the small river bridge back to our cars.
An interesting ramble which all 8 walkers agreed they had enjoyed.
25th August 2023
Only five ramblers braved this walk. Val, Brian, Malik, Anne and Neil started out from the site of the now disused Millers Dale station. The walk took us a short distance down the road to a gate where we entered Cheedale. The River Wye flows down Cheedale and ultimately into Bakewell. We followed the river upstream almost to the end of Cheedale.
Initially the path was level, wide and well used but as we moved upstream and the dale closed in around us the path became narrower and at times only wide enough for one person. We passed a sign which warned us “the path ahead is difficult”, undeterred we moved on. The path was slippery and at times steep but the scenery around us made it well worth the effort.
We stopped for a short coffee break underneath a large overhanging buttress across the river from the imposing Cheedale Tor. Shortly after our stop we came across the first set of stepping stones, around 50 yards long, which took us around a crag forming one bank of the Wye. A little further up the Dale we came across the second set of stepping stones.
Near the end of Cheedale we had to climb out of the valley up a zig zag path to Mosley Farm. Our walk then took us into field where we stopped for lunch before heading to Flag Dale. We walked along the rim of Flag Dale in a westerly direction to a tiny unnamed hamlet. Here we turned due ease to Old Hall Farm in Wormhill. The route took us around the East side of Wormhill through more fields to the lane that lead us back to the car park where we enjoyed a well-deserved ice cream.
3rd August 2023
We met at Ulley Country Park on Thursday, August 3rd. The previous day was one of non-stop rain, for our morning ramble it was glorious sunshine, warm, no wind – perfect conditions. A good turnout of 17 including two guests and three members who just walked part way.
Starting from the car park we took the path to the Morthen end of the reservoir, this section is a nature reserve with a bird feeding station at the far end, albeit with no bird food and so, no birds.
We followed the path northwards past some wildflower meadow habitat which supported many butterflies including at least six Coma plus Red Admiral, Peacock and gatekeeper.
The footpath led to Upper Whiston, stopping for a snack on reaching the road, relaxing in glorious sunshine with a great view.
A short stroll along the road led to the bridleway back to Ulley, after the uphill climb we enjoyed another snack stop before reaching the village.
A walk through the village and a steep field footpath took us to the Ulley Holt entrance of the Reservoir and so back to base.
22nd July 2023
Ten hardy, determined (and possibly, slightly mad) walkers braved the wind and rain on Saturday, 22 July for the walk from the car park of the Travellers’ Rest in Brookhouse. Shunning the option of an easier route, we gently climbed to the historic church and site of Anglo Saxon hall and Norman motte and bailey castle at Laughton. Then we descended on field paths; over a single track railway line; a further couple of small fields, to join the Mineral Line – a former railway line taking coal from Thurcroft Colliery, but now a pleasant, tree-lined, multi-user trail.
We stopped for a coffee and snack break under a road bridge over the Line, making use of the large boulders handily placed there and glad for the shelter from the rain. From there, we continued into the large, open conservation area that was once the site of the Thurcroft Colliery. This is a pleasantly surprising area consisting of numerous tracks, rough grassland, small wildlife ponds, and young woodland. Climbing gently to the highest point of the nature reserve, we stopped briefly to enjoy the long distant views, helped by the fact that the rain had now stopped. Few people apart from locals (and some off-roaders) seem to know about this area, which seems a shame.
The final part of the route included walking downhill through the old woods (called The Terrace on the OS map) and then across the paddocks of the large equestrian centre of Thurcroft Hall. Then through Brookhouse village, we regained our cars with a few of us opting for the coffee and comfort of Travellers’ Rest before setting off for home.
9th July 2023
They say that the sun shines on the righteous and that was certainly true for us. After a previous night of thunder, lightning and very heavy rain, 12 smiling walkers gathered on a lovely summer morning for our walk near Woodhouse.
We started by crossing Flockton Park. According to the internet, the most notable story about Flockton Park is that it was a police crime scene in 2019 when the police were unsuccessful in searching the grounds for the proceeds of a robbery. Our walkers quickly agreed that, should we stumble across the goodies, then it would be equal shares for all. Needless to say, the only thing anyone stumbled across was a protruding tree root. Not a gold bar in sight!
Onwards and soon we entered Shirtcliff Wood and walked alongside Shirtcliff Brook for a while in dappled shade eventually curving round to the plateau above the wood. There we stopped for a short coffee break and admired the views to the south, over the wood and to the villages of Woodhouse and Normanton Spring beyond.
Turning north and through a hedged path between two fields to the other side of the plateau and we had excellent views over Handsworth.
Then it was back down into the wood along a series of paths to a glade in the wood where there was a bench and some felled tree trunks – perfect for our picnic, in total tranquillity with the only distractions being a lone blackbird and grey squirrels.
Then it was back through Flockton Park, taking the lower path this time, back to our start point.
Altogether a very pleasant walk, in lovely summer weather.
22nd June 2023
A group of 12 walkers met in the car park near the Bridge Inn at Ford, including several people who have not walked for some months. After hearing a little about the history of the valley, which was once a hive of industrial activity, with 8 water wheels along the river Moss, used mainly to produce scythes and sickles. We set off along the now peaceful, wooded valley.
The walk followed good paths within attractive woods and beside areas of meadow. After crossing the river by a wooden bridge, we visited the “Seldom Seen” Engine House, presumably so called because it is hidden by trees and could easily be overlooked. This once housed a massive winding wheel for the Plumbley colliery. The Penny Engine railway ran from here, so called because as well as transporting coal, people could pay an old penny to travel on it to reach the mainline station at Renishaw. Now the old railway line is a pleasant path. We were close to Eckington and at the halfway point of the walk, so stopped in a shady spot to have a coffee break.
This time we were walking on the other side of the river. When we reached the bridge where we had previously crossed the river, we noticed a rope swing had been fixed to branch over the river. After a bit of encouragement, the daring Brian White swung out over the water and safely back to the bank, no-one else was tempted to try it! We again crossed the river, so having walked in a figure 8 and back to the car park.
We were lucky with the weather which was dry and pleasant for walking, being cooler than on previous days. A fairly short walk of just over 4 miles, but a pleasant and sociable one as almost all the paths were wide enough for two or three people to walk abreast and chat.
13th May 2023
The walk began at the top of Waleswood Lane where seven of us, plus one very energetic dog, set off on a day that started off fine, although a little on the cold side. Just a couple of hundred yards and we were then on a path heading westwards to the top edge of Rother Valley Park golf course.
Skirting along the top edge of the golf course, we soon came to the entrance to the Rother Valley caravan and camping park where we met a raging bull. However one of our gallant walkers soon brought it to heel and got it to lie down. It helped that the bull was totally made of plastic!
Soon we were walking down towards the Rother Valley leisure centre which we by-passed heading up to the north lake where we stopped for our picnic.
Rother Valley is a remarkable place catering for all sorts of leisure and water activities as well as being surrounded be a myriad of paths for walkers to enjoy. I believe that it was opened to the public about 40 years ago, having been transformed from a major open-cast mining site. I've also been told that more money is likely to be spent on it soon to improve/extend the facilities even more.
Following our break, we crossed over the River Rother, then heading east, through a wood and onto a broad lane following the western boundary of Gulliver’s Kingdom. By this time, the day had become much warmer and we stopped at some well-placed boulders for a short tea/coffee break. Off again on a series of paths and two small woods coming back out onto Waleswood Lane and back to the cars.
The only downside to the walk was that, following the torrential rains that we have had in the last few weeks, some of the paths were a bit muddy. Needless to say, our intrepid walkers took them in their stride (pun intended).
All in all, a very pleasant walk of about 4.3 miles and with very pleasant company.
24th April 2023
Our walk began at the Car Park west of Youlgreave in Derbyshire just off a road called the Long Rake. Six of us set off on an overcast day which did not bode well for the day, but in the end we only got a couple of spots of rain.
Heading in a north westerly direction, we left the Long Rake, crossing a number of grassy meadows whilst gently losing height. Our walk then descended steeply down a series of steps into Cales Dale where we continued descending to the river bridge in Lathkilldale. Here we had a short stop for refreshments.
The river in Leatherdale has in recent times often been dry in its upper reaches emerging from a spring much lower down the dale. Today, however, the river was flowing almost full which gave great views of a number of waterfalls as we descended the dale. The Ash trees in the dale have suffered from Ash die back and there were many which had been cut down. Work was on going with numerous sapling having been planted to replace the diseased trees.
Following the river downstream we passed lots of evidence of the works of man with weirs created for the generation of waterpower. These works do not now detract from the beauty of Lathkilldale and a walk down this valley is highly recommended. Before we reached Conkesbridge the river slows and widens producing pools of deep blue clear water.
At Conkesbridge we stopped for lunch before continuing to the end of Lathkilldale. Here, at Alport rivers converge and we turned uphill to follow the River Bradford up into Bradford Dale. Gently climbing through another beautiful valley we passed ancient works of man that had produced a number of small lakes. Towards the end of Bradford Dale it was time to pay the price of all the descent we had made and we then had a steep and sustained climb back up to the car park.
This walk has to be one of the very best walks to be had in our area and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to pass through this amazing scenery.
5th April 2023
After two glorious Spring days, Wednesday was disappointingly grey and damp. However, 11 members, including one new potential member, turned up at the Elsecar Heritage Centre ready to walk. The centre is an interesting and attractive place with a variety of shops and a couple of cafes as well as historical and industrial heritage.
The first part of the walk was along the Elsecar Greenway, a wide path alongside the canal and now disused railway line that had been used to transport coal and iron. At the first bridge we turned back to walk through the village of Elsecar, passing attractive rows of miner’s cottages, this is a short walk of about a mile. All of the group continued past the Heritage Centre, and crossed the road into the park. There was a short climb up to the café and then onto the Timberland trail. This pleasant and clearly marked trail runs along the top side of the Reservoir. The reservoir provided a water supply for the canal, but later a beach was built, and families flocked from local towns and villages to “Elsecar-by-the-Sea” for swimming and boating.
Next a bit of road walking, along Burying Lane, then up Mill Lane to Wentworth. A steep footpath took us up to the little school and two churches, here there were some benches and we had our lunch break. We went to explore the grounds of the old, disused church, the building is attractive and the graves stones interesting.
Still on narrow pavements we crossed and made our way down Barrowfield Lane to the timber yard, besides which there is a farm track/ footpath. We followed this path into the woods and downhill back to Elsecar and our cars. Some of us chatted over a cup of coffee in one of the cafes before returning home, slightly damp but not wet and glad to have enjoyed a pleasant and varied walk with excellent company.
18th February 2023
The walk on 18 February was from the Grassmoor Country Park and onto the Five Pits Trail. Although only a couple of miles from the centre of Chesterfield, this area is a rural delight, with woodlands, nature ponds and a haven for wildlife.
As the name might suggest, the Five Pits Trail is based on railway links between former collieries. The Trail is used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders and there are benches and information boards dotted around.
Defying the threat of rain which thankfully never arrived, seventeen Ramblers enjoyed a leisurely walk passing Wolfie angling pond and stopping for a break at the Williamthorpe Ponds and Nature Reserve. We then continued to a picnic spot beyond Holmewood Woodlands for a lunch stop before turning north and returning on the Trail to our cars at Grassmoor.
The whole walk was under 6.5 miles, with some gentle slopes, a few passing cyclists and horse riders, and no stiles.
2nd February 2023
After the cold and strong winds of the last few days it was a relief to meet at South Anston on a mildish day with just a fresh breeze. The breeze was quite fresh as 13 of us plus 2 dogs took the path down towards the canal, once on the lower ground the breeze was no trouble for the rest of the ramble.
Hawks Wood was quite safe to walk through, huge numbers of fallen branches and a few trees were scattered around after the heavy winds of the previous days. Picnics were taken by the canal bridge at Toplocks.
We crossed the rail line, using the new metal stiles, the dogs squeezing through the wire netting, why no doggy door?
The route took us into Lindrick Dale, always an attractive spot, then over 2 more stiles to Anston Grange Farm. There is a farm shop here, mainly a butchers, the surrounding area is good bird habitat, Linnet, Fieldfare, Redwing, House Sparrow and Buzzard were some of the species seen.
We then followed the footpath alongside the old Tarmac quarry to the Cemetery near the A57, and so back to our start.
An excellent local refreshing walk of approximately 5 miles, more like 9 for walkers who had started in Todwick. Thank you to everyone for your support.
22nd January 2023
On a bright but crisp morning, 17 members plus 2 dogs meet at Todwick shops for a local walk of just over 5 miles.
A brisk walk down Storth Lane soon warmed us up and we arrived at Wales. Passing the Village Hall and the houses destroyed by the fire during last summer heatwave we continued down a short path to enter Kiveton Community Woodlands. Following the line of the canal on a path which can be very muddy, but thankfully today was still frozen we arrived at the stone circle to take our coffee break.
Refreshed we continued across Tony Flockton’s field turning sharp left on reaching the entrance to the canal tunnel to follow a path through scrub land to reach Kiveton Station.
A short walk up the road then through the park to the field path back to Todwick.
A very pleasant walk on a January morning enjoyed by all.
7th January 2023
The first walk of the year and it seemed that I had chosen the wrong day, rain was battering the car as we drove towards Retford, with a forecast of a wet and windy day.
The Idle Valley Nature Reserve is a large area of former gravel pits, now a network of lakes, grassland and scrub, attracting a wide variety of birds and in the last 18 months the home of beavers. The latter are in an extensive fenced area to the north of the reserve, well beyond the limit of our walk.
A surprisingly large group of 13 hardy (or are we mad) walkers met in the car park, dressed for a wet day. However, after half a mile of walking the rain stopped, hoods went down, and the weather improved.
The first part of the walk was around Belmoor Lake on a good, level footpath, though there were a lot of puddles. After a mile and a half we were back at the car park and visitor centre. We had a break here, several walkers decided this was far enough for them, so they finished their walk here with coffee and a chat in the café.
The remaining 8 set off again heading north into the reserve. We walked beside the fast flowing and ironically named River Idle. After about 2 miles we stopped for a break, an opportunity to have a drink and bite to eat. We then walked away from the river, a good wide path between fields and shrubland.
There was now blue sky with the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds. A welcome sight here were the many hazel trees with long “lamb’s tail” catkins blowing in the wind, a sign that Spring is just around the corner. A further short stretch besides the river and then a path through the woods brought us back to the visitor centre.
A walk of about 5.5 miles, and time spent in the fresh air with good company was then concluded with a welcome cuppa.