Walk: Worsbrough Mill Country Park (Owl Walk)

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Sculpture at Worsbrough Mill (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

After a busy, tiring 2-gig weekend, we woke on Sunday (eventually) to a bright and sunny afternoon. The poet woke with a “bit of a throat”, but he still wanted to try and fit in a weekly walk. So we plumped for somewhere nice and local, and somewhere we both already know quite well – he as a fisherman, me as a walker.

Worsbrough Mill Museum and Country Park is about 10 minutes from our house. It’s a local nature reserve and covers approximately 240+ acres. The working water mill grinds flour using UK-sourced organic grains. Every so often they run living history events where the staff and volunteers dress up in period dress and have demonstrations.

There are 3 colour-coded walks around the country park: the fox walk is a 2km-walk suitable for wheelchair and pushchair access; the badger walk is a 3½km walk following the reservoir; and the owl walk is a 5km-walk that looks at some of the local industry surrounding the park. The Trans Pennine Trail also crosses the paths.

In olden days, I would have gone for the shorter, 2km-walk. But as we managed over 4 miles last week at Clumber Park, we thought the 5km-walk would be the best bet. But, again, it was very muddy off the main path, and so when we got there, the boots and gaiters went on again.

It was a few degrees milder than last week and we didn’t need additional waterproofs.

The owl walk, the 5km-walk, runs parallel with the reservoir path for short periods, but as we also wanted to see the water and the anglers, we opted to start next to the water. This is a narrow path, though, so other people with other dogs coming in the opposite direction can cause problems. But below the path the anglers can fish relatively undisturbed. We watched one bring in a fish he’d caught too, and it was a fair size.

At the end of the reservoir path we rejoined the public path and climbed over a stile into the surrounding woods. The stile was one the dog could easily walk under, but very big dogs may need to climb over or have the big gate opened for them.

Only a few yards in is the entrance to an old quarry workings, now silted up and overgrown. Another few yards along and the path splits, with what was once the old tramway climbing up the hillside.

We continued on along the fairly level path, but where it does climb up hill gently (and it really does, which makes a change), we could have taken a diversion over to the Old Rockley Hall, which might have added a bit more distance to the walk. But we stayed with the walk and rejoined the path around the reservoir on the other side.

The last part of the owl walk avoids the dam head and instead runs along another parallel path. But again, this was very muddy and very busy, so we walked along the dam head instead.

At the mill we bought 4 bags of flour: white flour; wholemeal flour; malted flour; and sour dough flour. We were given a loyalty card, which is stamped every time you make a visit and buy some flour. When you have 8 stamps, you get a free bag of flour! As we had a white loaf baking at home, while we were out, I’m sure this flour will be used very quickly.

The owl walk is a nice, easy walk. It warns of being muddy in wet weather, and it was quite muddy. But it wasn’t really impassable, and it’s very level most of the way around. Only a handful were also on this walk, and some of those only joined it in places.

Parking currently costs £3 for the day and entrance to the mill is free. We think Worsbrough Mill Museum and Country Park is very good value with more than sufficient facilities and the opportunity to join longer walks or visit other local places of interest. I’ve even parked up at Locke Park before now, and walked down to the country park. But long distance walkers on the TPT can build it into a longer walk too.

We were there for an hour and a half, we walked for 2.34 miles, and we burned around 360 calories.

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