Walking: Riverside rambling

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The walk begins in the local authority owned car park, adjacent to Cusworth Hall & Grounds in Doncaster, and for which there is a daily parking charge. Walk to the rear of the car park with the Hall to your left then pass through a perimeter fence, and out onto the grounds which were laid out at the rear of the Hall itself.

Walk diagonally down the hill to the bottom right hand corner of the park, and to the right of this lake. Pass through the open barrier and turn right along a farm track, heading in the general direction of the A1 Motorway to the west. The farm track bends to the right after a time but the walker should take the left-hand path near to the bend, and walk towards a row of trees, with the motorway evident in the distance.

The path bends to the left and then open to the right, following which you should take the diagonal path across the field and then arrive at the tunnel which passes underneath both major carriageways of the A1M itself. Emerge from the tunnel and walk on, eventually approaching a barn structure in front of you. Turn left on the path before the barn, walking then towards Melton Road, Sprotbrough, and the sight of housing. The path immediately emerges onto the busy Melton Road, and care should be exercised here. Cross the road, and walk to the right, where after a few hundred yards, you will come across The Ivanhoe Public House on the left.

Walk through the car park and exit onto the road, turning left, at some stage crossing to the other side, and having done so you will see the the impressive building that is the 900 year old St. Mary’s Parish Church. On the right you will see a parade of shops, walk through the parade, exiting onto the road to the right of the church, at which time you should cross over to the other side. Walking to the right you will then see Boat Lane, Sprotbrough, which drops away and eventually takes the walker down to the canal basin. Stay on the left hand side footpath as you walk down this road, and after a few hundred yards you will see a walled garden on the right.

Continue walking down the lane, when you reach the bottom of the lane, the main road continues over the canal bridge, but you should take the right hand road – Nursery Lane, on the corner of which is the old Toll House. You will then come across a parking area on the left, with steps dropping down onto the main canal quay. Go down the steps and turn left, walking in the direction of the canal bridge, under which our path will continue.

Having walked under the bridge you will see various barges and pleasure craft moored to the right of the basin, and then the impressive Sprotbrough Lock. The path continues along the left-hand bank, and then bends to the right at which time the basin ends. Continue along the path with a stone wall on your left, catching sight now of the River Don itself through the trees on the right. After a few yards on the left you will see what remains of the Sprotbrough Hall Pumping Station over the wall on the left.

Continue walking along the footpath and along the path which opens to the right across the river, and there is a lovely picturesque view of the south bank of the Don. Eventually the path leads you to the flyover across the Don Gorge, which carries the busy A1M – walk under this impressive structure and pass though a revolving gate, the path continuing to skirt the river itself. In front of you will will see the old derelict railway bridge which once carried coal from the former Edlington Main Colliery.

After a few hundred yards you will see a series of ponds on the left, the main one of these known locally as The Isabelle Pond, or Belle Pond.

Continue walking along the embankment, climbing over a further stile, then look across the river to a building housing the Doncaster Rowing Club, built near to Hexthorpe Park. Continue along the path which eventually bends to the left and then peters out on the approach to woodland. Drop down the embankment and climb a further stile at which time you enter the wood. This is a lovely pathway, adorned in the spring and summer by Bluebells, Wild Garlic and Celandine and which runs very close to the river to your right. Climb a further stile at which point the path rises to join another more substantial cart track. Turn right and In front of you there is a gate with a stile on the left, climb same and continue along the track at which point you will see the small hamlet of Newton Village.

Pass through the vertical barriers on the left of the gate and into the farmyard which is a public right of way. At the end of the old barn turn left and walk along Newton Lane, taking notice after a few hundred yards of the Category ‘B’ Doncaster Prison which is about half a mile away on your right. Pass under the railway bridge and keep to the left-hand footpath next to housing, and walk to the end of this lane where it then merges with the busy Sprotbrough Road.

Cross the road, turn right and then immediately left into Allendale Road, walk down this road which then bends to the right and then left. Stay on the left-hand path until the housing finishes at which point there is a grassed area, and a path that lead directly onto The Trans-Pennine Trail. Access the trail and turn right. Walk along the trail until you reach a crossing point, and you will see the sign marked Cusworth Hall Cycle Trail. Turn left there, keeping to the left-hand path with the farmer’s field to your left, and continue walking, the area to your right opening up to football fields. Continue along the path which eventually bends to the left, keep walking and you will pass through a gate with the 18th century building that was Keeper’s Cottage to the right.

Keep to the main path, passing by the gable end of the cottage, with the lower, third lake, on your left. You will then come to the perimeter fence of Cusworth Park and you should pass through the gate, entering the park on its Eastern end. Walk along the path with the second of the lakes to your left, and remain on the path which then bends to the right, passing over a hump in it and under which there is the grotto cave on the left.

The path then slips into three, take the left hand one which leads back into the main park area, with the largest lake to your left. To your right you will once again behold the south facing end of Cusworth Hall & Museum. Walk up the hill, walking diagonally to the left, and you will then emerge at the top, and see the car park from where you first set out on your walk.

Cusworth, Sprotbrough & Newton Circular Walk

• Post Code: DN5 7TU

• 5.5 miles

• Grade - easy

• Take time to consider a visit to Cusworth Local History Museum, open on selected days and free to all. Disabled parking is available near to the main entrance, and there is a fine Tea Room/Bistro where good food/drink is available to all.

* This walks was written, produced and walked by Tony and Stephanie Swaby of Dearne Valley Ramblers. For more interesting walks please visit Dearne Valley Ramblers