Walking: Bradfield times two

editorial image

Starting in Low Bradfield the route goes around the lower parts of the village before it climbs steadily across fields to the village of High Bradfield.

After a short exploration of the churchyard the route returns down to Low Bradfield by a path on the opposite side of the road to the ascent. The route affords excellent views across the countryside of the northern Peak District.

At the entrance to the car park go left out to the main road, Fair House Lane. Turn left again and go down past the bus stop towards Smithy Bridge Road.

Do not go over the bridge, instead continue down Mill Lee Road, towards Dungworth.

Pass the Bradfield Parish Council Offices on your left and the derelict water works on the right.

At the Plough Inn turn left and go along New Road.

At the last house on the left turn left down the footpath along the drive of the house and then to the right of the house down the old path.

Notice the old paving slabs which have been worn down by many years of use. Take care as the slabs are uneven and may be slippery.

Continue across the bridge over the stream and at the junction with the road turn right.

On the opposite side of the road, to the left, are steep stone steps going between bushes into the field. Take this path.

Keep to the left of the oak tree.

Go up the hill over the stile. The path aims towards the church and runs parallel to the electricity supply poles.

As the path nears the road keep the wall close on your right. The path turns at the corner of the field and crosses a stone stile onto the road.

Take care on the road.This road is steep and has tight bends limiting visibility and can be busy. Go up the hill for a short distance and then cross the stile on the left, taking the footpath into the field below the church.

Go straight up the field, aiming for the left-hand end of the retaining wall in front of the church.

Go through the black metal gate and cross in front of the church on the top of the retaining wall. Follow the path left up through the large metal gate onto the lane.

In front of you is the watch tower.

There is a footpath just beyond the watch tower. The path leads through the churchyard and to the woods. Just above the church are the earthworks of a motte and bailey castle.

Having explored the St Nicholas’ Church and churchyard, and perhaps paid a visit to The Horns public house, the route returns to Low Bradfield.

Go back through the large black metal gate and take the path back across the retaining wall to the small black metal gate.

Instead of going down the hill and back the way you came, go through the gateway ahead and follow the wall gently down the hill.

Go through the next gateway and head down towards the bottom corner of the field, keeping the wall on your right.

Drop down through the trees to the metal gate.

Go through the gate, watching out for traffic, cross the road (Smallfield Lane), and go down the footpath opposite.

Continue down the path, down the stone steps and over the narrow wooden bridge across the stream.

Turn left and follow the path back to the car park. Take care as the path is uneven and can be slippery.

Points of Interest:

1. Low Bradfield. The village probably grew up as a farming community where Agden Beck and Dale Dike meet to form the River Loxley. Indeed, the name Bradfield first appeared as ‘Bradesfeld’ in 1188 and means a ‘broad stretch of open countryside’. Today the name is used to refer generally to the two settlements of High and Low Bradfield, and the civil parish of Bradfield is the largest in England, covering over 50 square miles.

2. Bradfield Parish Council Offices. The Parish Council Offices are housed in the former Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1817, and used as a temporary school between 1864 and 1867, until a new school was built to replace that washed away in the Great Sheffield Flood. The former Methodist Chapel, on the opposite side of the road, was built in 1899 and closed in 1993. It is now a private house.

3. Water Works Filter Station. On the right is the Filter Station, built in 1913 and extended in 1954, to purify water from the Strines, Dale Dike and Agden reservoirs. In 1930 it had the first telephone installed in Bradfield. The premises closed in 1994 following the completion of the new Water Treatment Works in the Loxley Valley.

4. The Plough Inn. This was originally a farmhouse before being converted to an inn in the mid 19th century. The archway was used to take cattle into the auction yard at the rear of the building, but was blocked in during the 1960s.

5. School Lane. Although no trace remains today, the original Low Bradfield School, built around 1706, stood near here. The building was completely destroyed in the flood in 1864 but Mr Nicholls, the headmaster, and his family managed to escape to higher ground by running up the steps opposite the end of the bridge.

6. High Bradfield. Was formerly known as Kirkton. David Hey notes that an ‘open field by the church’ was known as ‘Kirktonfield’ in 1416. The village probably originally grew up around the church and motte and bailey castle.

7.St Nicholas Church. The parish church, St Nicholas Church, is in the Gothic Perpendicular style and dates from the 1480s. It incorporates elements of an earlier church that may have been built in the 12th century. It contains many interesting memorials, including green man roof boss, brasses and an Anglo-Saxon cross found in Low Bradfield in 1886. The church hosts a number of events, including a week long Festival of Music in June each year. Simon Jenkins mentions the church in his book ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches’, and says “the view is glorious, enjoyed by the weather-beaten gargoyles peering from under toppling pinnacles.

A short walk from Low Bradfield to High Bradfield and back.

• Length 1.8 miles

• Time – 1 hour

• Grade – Steady ascent and descent across fields. A short section on roads. The paths are well defined. There are stiles, steps and gates.

• Start – Car park, The Sands, Low Bradfield

• Public transport – Buses 61 and 62 from Hillsborough stop at Fair House Lane / Smithy Bridge Road, Low Bradfield

• Refreshments – Old Horns Inn, High Bradfield; The Postcard Café and The Plough Inn, Low Bradfield.

• Public toilets – Low Bradfield.

• Grid Reference – SK 2626 9204

• This walk is described, in detail, on Bradfield Walkers are Welcome Bradfield Walkers