Walk: TPT Thurgoland

We are very fortunate to be living right next to the Trans Pennine Trail, a national route that runs from coast to coast and up and down a bit.

I’ve been walking the dog up towards where our path joins the trail, but I’ve been turning around at 15 minutes as I’m trying to gradually build up stamina and fitness.

The driveway to the farm upon which is our house, alongside the River Don. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

During the last bank holiday weekend, we finally did a full circuit of the smallest circular section, and we were surprised at how quickly we did it.

We already have a fairly good walk from the farm to the road, but we don’t stay on the road for long. We just cross the River Don and then turn up onto a farm track that’s subsequently crossed by the TPT.

The farm track up to the TPT from our driveway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the top of the track you can see in the picture above, the TPT crosses both ways. We turned left and went behind that farm you can see.

From the TPT we had a very good view of the ground-art recently installed for the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, which went past the end of our driveway.

Ground-art for the recent Tour de Yorkshire race, which went past the end of our driveway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There were a few pleasure cyclists on our route, some of whom you can just see (in red) in the picture below. These weren’t taking part in the race.

There were also a few pedestrians, but this was a “busy” day in our neck of the woods.

The Trans Pennine Trail. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

From the viaduct there are some great views, including the one below towards Penistone.

In the far distance you might just be able to see a field filled with cars, to the immediate left of that sticky-up thing. This field is usually green and empty – the cars were here for the cycle race.

Up on the hill you can just see cars parked. These were here for the Tour de Yorkshire. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The picture below is one of my favourites, as you can see our house and, hopefully, the reason we chose to live there. It really is a beautiful, peaceful setting, and it really is some distance from any roads.

That’s our house in the centre of the picture, with the cream walls. We could see this from the viaduct too.

Our house nestled in our valley (centre of pic), from the TPT. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Because it’s an old railway line, there’s a tunnel on this section of the route that we haven’t explored yet, but I think my sister did last year when she was house-sitting for us.

Instead, we left the TPT down a small path that goes downhill towards the river again. From this path there are some good views of the viaduct.

The TPT goes over this viaduct now, but it used to be a railway line. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Then we were beside the river again, at the place where the poet usually gets in to go fluff-chucking (fly-fishing).

Apparently, the River Don is one of the fastest rising and the fastest dropping rivers in Europe. This is why we have flash floods along the driveway and in the surrounding roads.

Isn’t it pretty?

The River Don. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the end of our walk we returned across the main field that has a few young cows and two horses in it in this picture below. But until just a week or so ago, it was full of expectant sheep. That’s our house again, with the cream walls. The farm buildings are just below it to the left.

This circular walk is about 1.6 miles long. It took us 50 minutes as the poet kept stopping to take pictures, but I’ve done it since with just the dog, and it’s about 40 – 45 minutes.

Enjoy the pictures!

Heading back home, beside the River Don. That’s our house across the field, with the farmhouse and outbuildings to the left. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Walk: Worsbrough Mill Country Park (Owl Walk)

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.



Fantastic bank holiday weekend

Friday was Good Friday and off we tootled to the Pocklington Canal in Bielby for a nice walk. The weather was kind to us, it was an easy walk to help break in my new walking boots, and I’ve shared some of the photographs at the bottom of today’s post.

On Saturday we were supposed to be doing the garden – cutting the grass, raking the leaves, creating a couple of borders, etc – but we went for a drive instead and stumbled upon Wentworth Lakes in Greasbrough, Rotherham. This is a private fishery belonging to the old Wentworth/Fitzwilliam estate, but it also makes for pleasant walking and joins the Trans Pennine Trail. We didn’t take any pictures because we needed to be back, but we will go again, probably for a longer walk as the poet doubts he’ll buy a fishing pass there.

Saturday night the poet had a gig over in Doncaster, and he needed to get off early to help set up. I drove over a couple of hours later (we don’t like to leave the animals for hours and hours on their own), and we had a very nice evening. The band, Monkey Dust, played well, the sound was good, the crowd were friendly.

We didn’t go out anywhere on Sunday because there was another afternoon gig over at one of the best venues I’ve ever been to – Upton Rugby Club (ARLFC) near Pontefract. It wasn’t due to start until 4pm but the band needed to be there by 2pm, so it cut the day in half a bit. They’re a fantastic crowd at that club, though, and we all really enjoyed it. Even the gig buddy and her hubby joined us, who had planned to leave after the first set but stayed until the end anyway.

Back home for a swift tea, shower and change, and then it was off to see my old friends Infinity, who were down from the North East, play in Barnsley. We’d missed the first song or two, but the rest of the first set was great. So we were really surprised to learn that the lead singer had fallen swiftly very poorly and had spent the whole of the interval with his head in a bucket. Ian (the poet) had been drinking since 2pm and was quite tired after two gigs of his own, so when the guitarist said they might need him, we both thought he was joking … but he wasn’t.

They had 3 choices: pull the rest of the gig; muddle through between them without a lead singer; or jam with their friend, a fellow “chanter”, from the audience. They did a couple on their own and then chose the latter. And while the poet was very nervous (he hardly knows any of their songs), he got up and joined them anyway, and they managed to do more than an hour for the second set.

The club gave them a great reception, Barnsley East Dene is such a lovely club anyway, and we tootled back to West Yorkshire while the band tried to head back to the North – but I understand there was a nasty accident, a head-on collision, on the motorway, and they were stuck in the van, and with a very sick singer, for many hours more. They had a rubbish night, but hopefully we eased things a little for them, and we hope Trevor feels better very soon (he was still feeling quite rough yesterday, apparently, poor thing).

On Monday we were both very tired and we decided on a shorter walk. We went to Sprotbrough in Doncaster for lunch, and then walked around Sprotbrough Flash. When we got back to the car park, we had an ice cream each. Again, we don’t have pictures this time, but we do intend to go back.

So that was our weekend – and this is already more than 850 words. So time for me to crack on with some work while you enjoy some pictures (more later in the week):

The start of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The start of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The Pocklingon Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The Pocklingon Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Mute swan on nest. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Mute swan on nest. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Bridge over the Pocklington Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Bridge over the Pocklington Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Diane sitting on restored lock. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Diane sitting on restored lock. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Ian looking thoughtful. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Ian looking thoughtful. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

More on Wednesday.