Wentworth Woodhouse, Nether Haugh, Hoober and Elsecar Heritage Village

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Start: Wentworth Distance: 8.0 miles (12.8 km) Climbing: 218 metres
Grid Ref: SK 38438 98261 Time: 4 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Wentworth
Start: Wentworth Distance: 8.0 miles (12.8 km)
Climbing: 218 metres Grid Ref: SK 38438 98261
Time: 4 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

Summary: A very interesting walk in the midst of the countryside surrounding Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley which visits a series of follies and sculptural landmarks, some within the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse and more on the way through villages and across country to Elsecar Heritage Centre, one of the most popular visitor attractions in South Yorkshire. With the man-made sights to enjoy on the walk and with the lovely South Yorkshire countryside throughout this eight mile circular is definitely on the favourites list of local and visiting walkers.

The Walk:

Holy Trinity Church, WentworthHoly Trinity Church, Wentworth
The village of WentworthThe village of Wentworth

Enjoying a long weekend away. My wife and daughter were on a shopping expedition in Sheffield; soft furnishings for the house in Walkley and clothes for each of them if the opportunity arose. My chance to do this walk which I had in my sights for quite some time. I arrived in the village of Wentworth quite early but a few groups of even earlier visitors were already milling around the grounds of Holy Trinity Church as I parked up, donned the walking gear, and set off on my way. Wentworth is a popular village in these parts. Lots of people choose it as the starting location for their particular walk, be it a stroll in Wentworth Woodhouse grounds or a longer one such as the one I was embarking on.

Clayfield Lane, WentworthClayfield Lane, Wentworth
Wentworth WoodhouseWentworth Woodhouse

From Holy Trinity Church I had the choice of starting my walk by heading south-east on the back lane by following the path of the Rotherham Round Walk or by walking down Church Drive to the main street and walking through the village. I chose the main street, passing some pretty cottages with lovely well kept gardens. Paradise Square a community of cottages standing around a communal green was particularly striking and at the eastern end of the village I came to first the Millennium Beacon and then I passed the Rockingham Arms which was looking pretty in the cover of Virginia Creeper. The climber was just about hanging on to its golden red foliage while lapsing into the darker days of mid-November day. Nearby trees were all shed of leaf and one next to the pub now revealed a number of substantial bird nests in the higher reaches. A rookery perhaps. Looking north across a field after passing the Rockingham Arms my eyes were drawn to a circular building with a castellated top on Clayfield Lane. I guessed it was a converted windmill. With that thought I turned from the road which had led me through the village and entered the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse by way of a lodge gatehouse. A sign told me that at this point on my walk I was following the Trans Pennine Trail as well as following the Rotherham Round Walk.

Wentworth Woodhouse Doric TempleWentworth Woodhouse Doric Temple
Rockingham Mausoleum, Wentworth WoodhouseRockingham Mausoleum, Wentworth Woodhouse

Not far into the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse I passed the Grade 1 listed house. Vehicles were parked nearby. Cars and vans. Scaffolding was up supporting parts of the imposing building too. Substantial restoration work was being done. After admiring the external view of the house myself and thanking the talents of skilled workers for saving the impressive house for us to enjoy even more I continued on my walk which now involved a walk in a south-east direction through Wentworth Woodhouse Park. First up was Temple Hill and once there I had to leave the path to get up close to the lovely Doric Temple. It was well worth it. Next I passed close to Upper Swallow Wood and past the Deer Shed. Being well into winter now I had no chance of seeing any Swallows. Nor did I see any Deer. If there are still Deer here they were playing at hiding. Next I followed a hedged lane to Roman Ridge Dyke, enjoying a good view of Dog Kennel Pond as I did so, before turning left and climbing up the side of a field to reach Mausoleum Plantation, site of the Rockingham Mausoleum. By following a tree lined avenue I got up close to the impressive structure, celebrating Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham. After admiring the three storey structure which has four columns on all sides I returned by the avenue which I had accessed the mausoleum and then I followed a couple of fields and a lane leading to the village of Nether Haugh.

Nether HaughNether Haugh
Roman Ridge, HooberRoman Ridge, Hoober

Take care walking through Nether Haugh. It is a notorious accident blackspot which would benefit from traffic calming measures. (None were in place during my walk, November 2017) I was glad to be rid of the main B6089 road when I had turned to walk the footpath of the quieter B6091 for the half mile along Cortworth Lane which took me back to rural affairs, walking the edge of a field leading to the village of Hoober. This approach to Hoober also reconnected me with the Roman Ridge Dyke which had led me to Charles Watson-Wentworth's mausoleum. Nearing the village I could clearly make out the dyke, much like Offa's Dyke, a ramped bank beside a low ditch. The Roman Ridge Dyke is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 but despite searching for more information about it I could find none.

Hoober StandHoober Stand
Hoober Stand WoodHoober Stand Wood

Following the short B6090 through Hoober, which is no more than a row of houses, led me to the next monument of my walk. I was bearing down on Hoober Stand. A tapering pyramid with a hexagonal lantern, named for the ancient wood in which it was erected, Hoober Stand was erected commemorate the defeat of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 which many of the edifices of Wentworth Woodhouse do. It was one of the finest hours of the family after all. Leaving their bloody creations aside the follies, mausoleum and stand, are quite impressive and very imposing structures on the landscape. Hoober Stand Wood was also super to walk through, a wood of carousel humps and hollows. Even in the sad fall of leaf to winter it had a grandiose appearance. I chose to enjoy my lunch in Hoober Stand Wood.

Row of cottages at StreetRow of cottages at Street
The Needle's Eye in Lee Wood near WentworthThe Needle's Eye in Lee Wood near Wentworth

After lunch my next objective was the village of Street. A wide open field led me from the woods to Street and this high elevation stretch of the walk provided me with excellent long distance views, most prevalent to the north where the M62 corridor and the cooling towers of Eggborough Power Station could clearly be seen belching out the last smoke of their lives before closure in the coming months. After the revealing views I left the field and joined the road to Street. Like the village of Hoober before it, the village of Street was no more than a single row of homes. In this case, nine cottages and a few individual houses added later on. After walking swiftly through Street I crossed Coley Lane and edged Lee Wood to reach the Needle's Eye. Built to win a bet about driving a horse and cart through the eye of a needle; those aristocrats and landed gentry were a pompous lot, the boasting had left us with yet another impressive landmark. Though I am glad I was not the object of their spite. Musket holes found at approximately head height on the needle are thought to have been made by a firing squad seeing off an undesirable.

The countryside walk to ElsecarThe countryside walk to Elsecar
Elsecar StationElsecar Station

While this walk is not exactly taxing in respect of big climbs I had practically done all the uphill work by reaching Hoober Stand and after Needle's Eye I began the big descent from the high ground of the park across farmland to the lower terrain of Elsecar, about 100 meters of landfall. Elsecar is a remarkable village, transformed by the Earls Fitzwilliam into a thriving centre of iron and coal. Nothing more than a series of farms up until the 18th century, coal transformed the village into a thriving industrial community. Unlike neighbouring towns and villages which were dependent on the black gold it rode out the decline of coal mining in the 1980's by transforming into the premier industrial heritage center of South Yorkshire. They have done quite a job.

Trains in Elsecar StationTrains in Elsecar Station
Elsecar Branch of the Dearne and Dove CanalElsecar Branch of the Dearne and Dove Canal

Of course I had to delay my walk and spend some time in the exciting environs of Elsecar Heritage Railway and Elsecar Heritage Centre. A troop of soldiers were busy working in the vicinity of the Elsecar Station Coalfield Line, cleaning and maintaining both railway lines and rolling stock. Nearby fishermen under large brollies were quiet, patiently waiting for a bite in the waters of Dearne and Dove Canal. A lovely setting, I watched the fishermen do absolutely nothing for around ten minutes while absolutely nothing at all happened. That's a fisherman's life for you I suppose. Lots of inactivity followed by a rush of blood. I slipped away back to the heritage railway and then to a visit of the heritage centre.

Elsecar Heritage VillageElsecar Heritage Village
Industrial relic in ElsecarIndustrial relic in Elsecar

There were plenty of people thronging about the streets and open spaces of the heritage centre. It is a popular place and rightly so. Like an industrial village stuck in a moment of time it provides a sight into the past. I was born and raised during my childhood in the sixties in a village with a weaving mill converted into industrial units. It looked then much like Elsecar Heritage Center does now and it took me back to those innocent times. The centre houses shops, businesses, galleries, art and craft studios and an exhibition hall. It runs craft workshops, special events, and holds a monthly antiques fair. There is examples of the industrial past displayed in the streets including valves, sluices and pumps. A surviving Newcomen Beam Engine can also be found. Do this walk and Elsecar Heritage Centre has to be a must do.

King's Wood, ElsecarKing's Wood, Elsecar
Old Holy Trinity Church, WentworthOld Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth

Stately Homes, Follies, Monuments, Roman Ridges, Ancient Woods and now Heritage Railways and Industrial Heritage Centres. This walk has it all and each encounter thrilled me. Leaving Elsecar behind I just had a couple of woods and the odd field to go before arriving back at the start and therefore reaching the end of my walk. The first objective, King's Wood, was a thrill to walk through. Much like Hoober Stand Wood it was gorgeous walking along the brown leaf fall carpet which made a light crumpling sound under my feet. Then after following Barrow Field Gate back into Wentworth I had the bonus of Old Holy Trinity Church to enjoy. A grand old soul of sandstone crumbling slowly away. I enjoyed being there, a fitting finale to a remarkable walk in South Yorkshire.

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