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View from the hill top by High Hoyland church
View from the hill top by High Hoyland church

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Route No 150 - Monday 25 July 2005
Skelmanthorpe, Barnsley Boundary Walk, Cannon Hall, Dearne Way -17km
Barnsley

Maps: OS Explorer 288 Bradford & Huddersfield at 1:25000
OS Explorer OL1 The Peak District, Dark Peak area at 1:25000
Route Map for this walk from OS Open Space Service

Route Map for Barnsley Boundary Walk from OS Open Space service
Open Barnsley Boundary Walk in Google Earth


Jowett House farm
Jowett House farm
At the weekend we visited a friend of my wife's who lives in Skelmanthorpe between Huddersfield and Barnsley. This area is not what I would normally associate with good walking country. However my prejudices were challenged and to cut a long story short, this morning my neighbour Jim and I ended up driving to Cannon Hall (map ref. SE 272083) just off the M1 at junction 39 (it's nearer J38 but J39 seems to be a better route). We parked in the Cannon Hall public car park next to the lakes where there are hoards of geese of various species grazing and on the lookout for bits of bread. Opposite the car park is a garden centre with a cafe so we had a coffee before setting off and like most garden centres there was all manner of things on sale including maps. So I took the opportunity to buy a OS Explorer map of the area. Then we set off along the road for about 200m and on a bend turned left up the lane to Jowett House farm. At the farm we turned right on a track down the side of the farm and out into the fields. The route on the public footpath keeps to the bottom of the field next to a tiny stream at the foot of a steep slope up to the right.
Looking back from the edge of  Deffer Wood
Looking back from the edge of Deffer Wood
The path through Deffer wood
The path through Deffer wood

There is a tractor track going away to the left that it would be easy to follow by mistake. The path crosses the stream and goes through a gate to continue to Deffer Wood. We walked up through the woods for over a kilometre to a road at map ref. SE 255092. There was a very nice view over the valley as we emerged from the woods on to the road.

View from the road at the top of Deffer wood
View from the road at the top of Deffer wood

We turned left to walk along the road for about 200m. Here we turned right onto the Kirklees Way following a path across the fields to another minor road at map ref. SE 253096. We came on to the road close to a bend and at the bend we turned on to a path on the left. After a few hundred meters we came to Hay Royds Colliery where the machinery and conveyors were working at full pelt. Quite an interesting place and not something we usually see on our walks. From the colliery the path took us through a small wood and along a track to join the Dearne Way route which we followed for about a kilometre heading roughly south west.

Hay Royds Colliery

Hay Royds Colliery
Above & left: Hay Royds Colliery
We were chatting away and almost missed the turn at map ref. SE 243092 where the path turns right off the wide track we were on to cross some fields to a strip of woodland. Just through the woodland we stopped for a break. It was very pleasant as we watched the swallows skimming the field catching insects. We had just reached the top of the slope after our break when I realised I had left my glasses on the grass so Jim, who is much fitter than me volunteered to jog back and get them. I was very grateful as I find slopes of any kind are a bit of a struggle these days. Just over the top of the slope there is a large farm house being redeveloped and the path skirts the front of the building site along a narrow path overgrown with nettles. About 200m beyond the farm house we turned right down a track at the edge of some woodland and continued down to the stream at the bottom close to the A636. The path followed the stream for about 100m before we crossed on a track up to the main road.
We found ourselves walking beneath cattle feeding on the bank above the lane
We found ourselves walking below the cattle on the bank above the lane
Jim jogging back up the slope with my glasses
Jim jogging back up the slope with my glasses
Track down to the stream below the A636
Track down to the stream below the A636
Track down to the stream below the A636
Track down to the stream below the A636
Patch of Balsam by the stream
Patch of Balsam by the stream

We crossed the road and about 20m further on turned left up a track behind the houses to a farm entrance where the path goes in to the fields to pass down the side of the farm. This part of the route is along another bit of the Kirklees Way. It's a very pleasant wooded track that brought us to the edge of Skelmanthorpe.

View from the Kirklees Way approaching Skelmanthorpe
View from the Kirklees Way approaching Skelmanthorpe

Emley Moor TV transmitter seen from the Kirklees Way
Emley Moor TV transmitter seen from the Kirklees Way

We walked down the hill though the town to the Methodist chapel at map ref. SE 235106. We continued passed the chapel along the lane following the Kirklees Light railway for almost a kilometre. At Cuckoos Nest Halt on the railway we turned left to cross the railway and continue along the other side of the track for another 2km to the A636 in Clayton West at map ref. SE 258115.

Horses waiting by the river Dearne
Horses waiting by the river Dearne

Pack horse bridge over the River Dearne
Pack horse bridge over the River Dearne

We turned left to walk in front of the pub along the main road for about 250m to Kiln Lane where we crossed the main road and walked over an old pack horse bridge to the entrance road to a factory.

We followed the road a few metres into the factory and turned right to walk down the side of the factory with the offices on our left and a row of parked cars on our right. After about 200m the factory road ends at a fence and we crossed the stile onto a track. We turned left and walked along the track for 150m to a fork where we took the right hand fork. After another 100m the track made a left turn. About 40m further on the track appeared to turn right to a gate, but this was just a well worn entrance to some fields.

Willow Herb and Hogweed by the path  below Hoyland Bank
Willow Herb and Hogweed by the path below Hoyland Bank

Wild honeysuckle below Hoyland Bank
Wild honeysuckle by the path below Hoyland Bank

Our route was straight on along a grassy track between hedges which ended at a rail across the entrance to a field. The rail had a footpath sign on it but we had to limbo dance under the rail (not easy with a rucksack). We followed the field boundary up the hill and at the top we turned left towards Clayton Hall farm. Just before the farm the path came on to a track leading to the farm but we turned right to walk along a field boundary. There is a stile of sorts into the field but it's hidden behind some hedging on the right of the gate.

High Hoyland church
High Hoyland church
Path through Margery Wood
Path through Margery Wood

We continued down the slope and then up the other side through the woods on Hoyland Bank to come out on to the road in front of High Hoyland church at map ref. SE 274107. The last 50m of the climb are quite steep. We sat on the wall opposite the church for a break. Then we crossed the road and took the path down the side of the church for about 350m to the Barnsley Boundary Walk (BBW) route. There was a fine view from the hill top to the north and east. We followed the BBW all the way back to the car park, about 3.5km, but first to the road in High Hoyland. We followed the road round the bend and turned right to take the path down the hill to Margery Wood. Alongside the path down to the wood was a fenced track with a trap beside it at the bottom which looked as though it was a training track for greyhounds or whippets.

Footbridge and ford approaching Cannon Hall park
Footbridge and ford approaching Cannon Hall park

Lilly pond at Cannon Hall park
Lilly pond at Cannon Hall park

The route turned right at map ref. SE 284085. We had not walked in this area at all before today so we had to be careful with our navigation and almost ended up in Cawthorne instead of crossing the little footbridge at the ford to skirt the cricket ground and head into Cannon Hall park. We crossed the bridge over the lilly ponds and made our way across the park back to the car park where our walk had started about 5 hours earlier.

Cannon Hall
Cannon Hall
Geese at Cannon Hall park
Geese at Cannon Hall park

The whole route had been about 17km. We finished off our day with another coffee and a toasted tea cake in the garden centre coffee shop before our drive up the M1 back to Easingwold. We had both been very pleasantly surprise by the fine scenery and excellent walking in an area that we had never considered before.