Places

Paul Steele 

Paul Steele (also known as The BaldHiker) is a walking expert and travel writer. He shares his expertise and thoughts far and wide so that everyone can embrace walking and enjoy the great outdoors. Here, he shares some of his favourite walks in South Yorkshire.

Greno and Wharncliffe Woods

To the north of Sheffield, near Grenoside, lie Greno and Wharncliffe Woods. These are some fabulous woodlands to walk through and this 7-mile circular takes it all in and more.

These ancient woodlands and forested areas stretch for miles around and you can easily spend a whole day walking through them.

Starting in the middle of Grenoside on Penistone Road, it is just a minute or two before you are suddenly inside the thick green woodland of Greno Woods.

One minute you are in a housing area by a main road, then the next you are suddenly transported into calmness and nature.

This first section of the loop walk takes you deeper into Greno Woods, not realising you are going gradually upwards. Then there is a gradual upwards path that brings you out at a trig point. This is the summit of Greno Knoll.

This trig point is, of course, a remnant from a time before the high trees. Over time, the trees have obscured any line of sight to and from the trig point from elsewhere.

From there, you drop down the other side and across Woodhead Road into a car park. This is where you enter Wharncliffe Wood.

The pathways here are very wide and, as I found, a little more busy than Greno. Dog walkers, joggers and horse riders all enjoy the surroundings this place offers. Even though there were more people there, it did not feel overly busy at all. These woods cover a huge area, so there is plenty of space for one and all to enjoy.

Of course, you don’t even need to take the route we took. Paths lead in all directions from this place of real exploration. The locals are truly blessed.

The path takes you all around and through the woods before you suddenly emerge into the open and onto Whalejaw Hill. You do not realise how high you have gone and there are spectacular views from here of Sheffield, the Peak District and beyond.

The path from here winds round and back into Greno Woods for a gentle walk back to Grenoside. The dogs absolutely loved this walk too, with so much to stimulate them and space for them to run about safely.

This is definitely one of those walks that may be 7 miles long but certainly does not feel that long or hard in any way. You can take all the time to enjoy it as you wish.

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve Walk 

This is a glorious walk amongst nature. Potteric Carr Nature Reserve is a beautiful area of wetland, woodland and wildlife that is a joy to explore. Discover the marvel of nature on this 4-mile trail around the nature reserve.

The nature reserve is an oasis of nature that is nestled between a busy main road and a railway line, not too far from inner Doncaster. You will forget about all of the industry in the surroundings once you are in and exploring.

There is a small fee to enter the reserve. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust do an amazing job here and they will give you a great briefing to help you on your way along the trail.

This walk covers a 4-mile figure of eight around much of the reserve, taking in the marshes and through the meadows and woodland. There are, of course, shorter routes as well for those with little ones or those that maybe do not have as long to explore.

You can get a route map at the entry kiosk which explains the differing routes and what to expect. On the routes, there are plenty of colour-coordinated signs to keep you on track.

From the kiosk, I followed the red route off to the right and wandered through the glorious woodland before coming across the first of many great hides, where you can watch the birds and nature on the water.

The path then passes through tall grass meadows, full of colour, before heading out for a full circuit of one of the larger marshes. There are more hides dotted all along that are great for bird spotters and nature lovers alike.

Along the paths, you are surrounded by dragonflies and the dazzling blue damselflies going about their business in great number.

It is so peaceful all the way around. You would not believe how close to the city you are, nor how close to a main road.

It is a fabulous walk for all standards and ages.

Barnbugh and Barnburgh Crags Walk 

This is a joy of a 3-mile walk that starts and ends in the pretty village of Barnburgh, 7 miles west of Doncaster. You will find views, rocks and open countryside to enjoy.

The best place to start is right in the middle of Barnburgh, by St Peter’s church. Across the through road from there is a side road, which heads along with the quaint looking Coach and Horses Pub on your right.

At the end of this road, follow the bend to the left. After a few hundred metres, there is a signposted bridleway track off to the right.

This track then carries straight on, gently going uphill to the top. There is nothing too strenuous here, though the climb allows the views to get bigger and bigger all the time.

As the path at the top swings right, you head into the woods. These woods have a secret inside. To your left is a wall of rock, Barnburgh Crag, that you follow all the way along.

If you look closely at sections of the rock, you will see mysterious faces that have been meticulously carved into the stone at some point in time. Some look like grumpy old men, while others resemble cartoon characters.

If you look closely at sections of the rock, you will see mysterious faces that have been meticulously carved into the stone at some point in time. Some look like grumpy old men, while others resemble cartoon characters.

With the crag on your left, you mustn’t forget to look right with the huge views over South Yorkshire towards Derbyshire.

Upon reaching the end of the crag, you turn right down a road for a couple of hundred metres before turning off right onto another track.

Here you get a fantastic view back down towards Barnburgh. Crops sway in the breeze over the land before you.

There are a few paths from here that all meander back to the village. The one I took was less of a road and more around the edges of fields, but you can easily keep on the main track and along the road to the village and your start and end point.

This is one of those short walks and climbs that really surprised me. I hardly met a soul en route, yet what it offers is absolutely stunning for a walk of this length. The secret crags and faces add a whole new interest too.

A Circular Walk from Roche Abbey

This is a beautiful walk near Maltby, to the east of Rotherham in South Yorkshire. It is full of history, nature, woodland and vast views, with no need for any big climbs.

It starts from Roche Abbey and takes you through woodland, past waterfalls and through the village of Laughton en le Morthen with its great church and spire.

The walk starts with splendour immediately. Walking by Roche Abbey, you are surrounded by history nestled in the valley floor.

Following the path beside the fence, keeping the abbey on the right, you turn right at the end and into the wonderful King’s Wood.

Here, you will find yourself in an old and beautiful woodland with waterfalls and greenery everywhere. Then, after about half a mile, you come to a fork in the path. Take the left path that goes gradually uphill for a short time.

As you step out of the woods, you will meet fabulous views along the path. There are miles of crops and fields to the left and the woods appear below to your right.

As you walk straight ahead, you cannot miss the village of Laughton en le Morthen and the huge 185ft spire of its church. This is a perfect halfway place to explore.

After passing through Laughton en le Morthen, you head down to the valley bottom to begin the walk back. Here, you will gain a whole new perspective of this very pretty area.

The pathway you headed out on is now above you to the right and the woodland is ahead of you. From this area’s angle, you really do see why they placed Roche Abbey where they did. The valley gets narrower, with the woods nestled in the valley bottom.

When you get back into the woods, you come in on what was the other path in the fork mentioned earlier and you can make your way back to the start.

Canklow Woods Heritage Trail 

This is a 2-mile circuit walk through ancient woodland and a historical archaeological site on the outskirts of Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Canklow Woods is an oasis of ancient woodland that takes you immediately away from the hustle and bustle of the town and roads in the near distance.

The woods are very important archaeologically, as it has been found that our ancestors lived here at least 3000 years ago.

This 2-mile loop path does not just take you around the woods, but it also gives you a lot of information about its history and the wildlife along the route. You will learn about the people who lived here and how they used the land, as well as the nature in your surroundings and how important it is.

The walk starts at Boston Park car park. Head through the little park, past the old bowling green and into the woods. 

From here, if you want to walk the heritage trail itself, we have the GPX and it is exactly 2 miles around. You will just need to follow the old looking arrowed pathway. Please note that some of the arrows have gone missing over time.

The path takes you through time, with information posts telling you how the land and these woods led over centuries to the steel industry of the area. They also tell you about how the people lived in the woods many centuries ago, using wood crafts to create all manner of tools and other objects.

Finally, you can find out about how the woodland is managed today. I know that so much more work than you might expect goes in to keep these areas special and safe from invasive species.

The middle section of the walk takes you to the very oldest parts of the ancient woodland. As old gnarled oaks surround you, you can’t help but imagine the age of them and all the things they could have witnessed over the centuries.

This route is wonderful for a family walk but it is also perfect for a short escape walk to clear the mind in the midst of nature. Dog lovers will certainly love it too.