Walking: Cheese Bottom’s ‘grate’

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Starting in Oxspring, this short walk takes you on the TPT, through woods, close to the River Don and over the Rumtickle Viaduct. The Trans Pennine Trail (TPT), is a route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders linking the North and Irish seas, which passes through the Pennines, alongside rivers and canals and through historic towns and cities in the North of England.

1. Leave the car park, turning right onto Sheffield Road. After 30 m, turn right onto the marked path and proceed across the field to a tunnel under the TPT. After passing under the tunnel, take a sharp left up steps onto the TPT and turn left towards Penistone.

2. Continue along the trail for ~800 m, then, at the second road bridge, take a sharp right to leave the trail.

3. Turn left and follow The Willows until you meet the main road, the B6462. Cross and then pass through the kissing gate which is 25 m to your left.

4. Cross the field, descending steeply towards a stile on the far side. Cross the stile and bear left onto Willow Lane. You will then cross Willow Bridge Packhorses were first used ~1200. Willow Bridge was on the packhorse route from Unsliven Bridge (Stocksbridge) to Silkstone and onto Leeds. It was built in 1734 and is just wide enough to let a line of ponies cross.

5. Continue, onto Holly Lane, passing between two stone walls as you climb. You will reach a TPT sign post. Follow the sign, right; ‘Silkstone Common.’

Bear left at the next sign, ascending between two rows of trees. Then right, ‘To ruins of Oxspring Lodge’

The adjacent bench has the words: ‘WORTH, Sveinn has 2 carucates of land taxable: 2 ploughs possible there. Value before 1066, 20s. Woodland pasture, 6 furlongs long and 3 wide.’

This is a quote from the 1086 Domesday Book. At that time, the manor of Oxspring (then Ospring) was owned by Lord Sveinn, who also owned (Rough)Birchworth.The combined manors had the (small) value of 2 gelds.

A carucate, derived from the Latin word caruca, meaning plough, is a measure of land area used in Danelaw. It is the amount of land which a plough team of eight oxen could till in a single annual season.

Grade II listed, 29 arch Penistone Viaduct is away to your right. This was built by Sir John Hawkshaw in 1850.

6. Cross the stile and walk along the edge of the field. Oxspring is on to your right. At the end of the field, bear right then left, into the next field. Then, with the wall on your left, follow the edge of another field.

At the bench, cross the stile.

On your left, you pass the remains of Oxspring Manor House, also referred to as ‘The Lodge.’ This was built in a half-timber, half-stone ‘post and truss’ style by Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite Hall and completed in 1580. The Hall became a hunting lodge and meeting place of the Oxspring Manor Court in addition to being let out to tenant farmers.

The Hall fell into ruin in the first decade of the 20thcentury. It is the site of the original settlement of Oxspring, as mentioned in the Domesday Book.

7. As you reach the buildings , keep to the left of the track. Pass through a marked stile, walk between two walls, then after another 30m, turn right over a marked stile, adjacent to the wall of a building.

8. Descend across the field, then turn left onto the track. When you reach the main road, go straight across and follow the marked path. This is roughly parallel to the River Don which is across the field to your right.

9. Keep following this path, initially parallel to a large pipe (diameter ~ 1 m). After 500 m, you will cross the road at Thurgoland Bridge, entering ‘Cheese Bottom.’ Ignore the stile on your left and cross the cattle grid which is a few metres further.

10. Continue following the path, passing Cheese Bottom Water Treatment Works on your right. At Cheese Bottom Farm bear left, ascending as you pass the farm on your right. After the farm, take the stile on your right, then cross two fields, descending towards the River Don. Cross the next stile and continue. On your right is Rumtickle Viaduct.

Barnsley Council sign-boards call this Romticle Viaduct, local newspapers call it Rumtickle Viaduct and 1940s LNER plans call it Romptickle Viaduct. Built in 1844 from local faced Ashar Stone, it formed part of the Sheffield to Manchester Railway which opened on 22nd.December 1845.

Engineered by Barnsley native Joseph Locke, it was built by the Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Manchester Railway.

In 1847 the railway merged with the Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway, the Great Grimsby and Sheffield Junction Railway, and the Grimsby Docks Company, becoming the ‘Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway.’ In 1897 it was renamed as the Great Central Railway (GCR). Ownership passed to The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923, and finally to British Railways Eastern Region in 1948.

11. Continue along the path, ascending, cross the stile and you reach the TPT.

12. Turn right towards Penistone. You will cross over the Rumtickle Viaduct. At the next crossing (the ‘Backmoor Crossing’) turn left.

If you wish to shorten the walk short at this point, continue along the trail leaving at the next main exit, down the steps, to return to your start point.

13. When the track bends to the left, cross the stile which is ahead of you and continue keeping the wall on your right. Continue across three fields (600 m), climbing stiles as you slowly ascend. You will finally reach a field which ascends over the horizon. At this point turn right for less than 10 m, and take the stile.

14. Follow the field boundaries in the direction of the TPT. You will reach the tunnel which you used at the start.

Then return to your start point.

* This walk is described in detail on Stocksbridge Walkers are Welcome Stocksbridge Walkers website.

Oxspring Circular

• Length – 4.25 miles (6.75 km).

• Grade – Country lanes, woods and fields with well-marked paths. Includes a mix of both gentle and steep climbs. Can be very muddy in parts.

• Start – Car park at Sports Ground, Sheffield Road, Oxspring S36 8YQ.

• Grid Reference – SE 271 019

• Maps – OL1 Dark Peak, OS Explorer 278.

• Parking – start.

• Refreshments – Wagon and Horses (Oxspring).

• Public Toilets – none on this route.

• Public Transport –21 and 21a bus routes (Barnsley/Penistone) pass through Oxspring.