BARRIE TUCKER of The Dearne Valley Ramblers takes us on a scenic walk through picturesque villages in the east of the borough
The walk I have chosen for this issue is a well marked scenic walk in the east of the borough of Rotherham. It passes through ancient woodlands, limestone gorges, picturesque villages and examples of Rotherham’s agricultural and historical heritage. It is one of my favourite walks which I will always remember. The first time I led this walk was when I took over as leader due to illness. I pre-walked it one day and took the group the next day. I actually walked 30 miles in two days as we did the full walk round the perimeter.
This is a circular walk but it gives you a choice of three walks as you will see from the map.
Distances: Full length of circular––15 miles.
Western section––7 miles.
Eastern section––11 miles.
Useful Map––Explorer 279
You can start this walk at any suitable point. Maltby, Laughton-en-le-Morthen or Firbeck are the most suitable places to park safely. The walk takes you through the lovely villages of Hooton Levitt, Carr and Brookhouse with the stream running down the side of the road and the Cartwheel Pub. Next there is Laughton- En-Le-Morthen where there used to be a castle behind the church and there is a pub called the St Leger which is a good refreshment stop. From here you go across to Letwell through lovely fields past the old church and past the Dovecote on the right hand side down the lane which leads to Firbeck past the old racecourse which can be seen on the Ordnance Survey map. This is where the first St Leger was run. On to Firbeck, Stone, Roche Abbey and return to Maltby. For the walk I am giving directions from parking at Maltby. After parking the car on the road to Blyth near the steps to the top road you will find the road is very wide and suitable to park.
1. After parking the car cross the road carefully and make your way down the road on the left to the church, passing through the Lych Gate take the path to the right through the churchyard and make your way down to the gate out of the churchyard. Follow the path to the left over the stream and up the hill to Hooton Levitt. Following theroad to the junction with the main road, cross the road and carefully follow the path which goes behind the barn on your right.
2. Follow this path and climb over the stile into the field. Take the path on the edge of the field and take inthe view on your right which looks across towards Rotherham Road at Maltby and beyond. As you follow this path over the rough path through the gate into the next field the path splits in two. The right fork goes to the bottom end of the field over a stile and straight on. The left fork goes up the hill into the left hand corner of the field. You will find the easier route to the left but you finish up in the same place. Taking the left route go over the stile and keeping to the edge of the field you come to a bridleway to your right. Turn right and follow this to the bottom of the hill where it turns left. This is where the other path meets. Turning left follow the bridle way into Carr.
3. At the main road turn right through the village and follow the road round to the left, keeping straight on past where the road turns to the right. On your left there is a footpath. Take this path up through the fields and turn left. This brings you to a wood, where you turn right and follow the path to the bottom corner. Follow the path over the stile and make your way down the field which contains some horses to the Thurcroft Hall Riding Stables. Follow the tarmac track down to Brookhouse.
4. When you reach the road turn left through the village with the brook on your right hand side and follow the footpath. On your left hand side you pass The Cartwheel Restaurant which is notable for its good food. Carry on down the roaduntil you get to The Travellers Pub on your right. Turn right before the pub and you will see a footpath on the right of the pub which leads over a stile into the field. Take this footpath up the field and eventually you come to a road which leads to Laughton- en-le-Morthen. Turn left up the road. Just before you reach the village there is a footpath to the left. Climb over the stile and follow this path, crossing over the first road you come to with care. Keeping on the path you eventually come to a path to your right which leads to The St Leger Pub a good refreshment stop.
5. At the road turn left and follow the footpath and road round to the right, past the houses, until you come to a footpath on your left. Take this footpath and follow it straight on until you come to a wood. Take the footpath to the right following the edge of the wood. This leads you to the road which you cross with care and on the left is a good spot to stop for a coffee. Keep straight on at this point until you come to the second footpath on your left which you take. This is a long straight path which brings you out by the church at Letwell.
6. When you enter the village keep your eyes open and take in the beauty of this area which is off the main area of hustle and bustle. Keep straight on where the road bears to the left down the main street. As you walk down take note of the lovely cottages. On the right you will see the round Dovecote in the farmyard near to the barn, a little way from the road. Follow the road through the village and keep straight on where the road bears round to the left. Follow the lane until you come to the wood, turn to the left following the foot path up the side of the field. As you approach the wood, this is where the old race course was on which The St Leger was run. Take the path through the wood to the road, and crossing carefully proceed down the bridleway, bringing you into Firbeck. At the pub turn left along the footpath until you come to a footpath sign on your right which takes you down the side of some cottages.
7. Following this path across the fields you eventually come to a right fork which takes you across a field past a cottage down a slight incline into Stone, over a little bridge. If you look carefully at the stream you can see that once upon a time there used to be a water wheel which was used for local industries. There were a few in several places on this stream. Turning left at the road you will eventually come to a stile on your left. Going over this brings you into a field. Follow the path to the road and turn right up the hill for a short while until you come to another stile on your left. After going over this style you carry on the path which brings you to Roche Abbey.
8. On your left are the ruins of Roche Abbey. Keeping straight on you come to a cottage on your left where, when open, you can get a ticket to go round the grounds of the Abbey. Passing through the old gatehouse keep on the path which leads you to a road which gives you a choice of two ways. There is a path straight on which goes through the Nor Wood which is known as the bottom path which can get very wet and muddy in wet weather. The other one is to the right up the road until you come to a path on your left which takes you through the wood on the top path. Both paths bring you out in the same place which takes you under an old railway bridge and on to Maltby. Here you can take the bottom path which takes you back to the church. If not, take the path to the right which brings you up to the road where you turn left back to the car. Note - At the time of going to press watch out for the path at the barn at Hooton Levitt. Due to a barn conversion, there is a fence up at the barn but the path is still open by the stone gatepost on the right.
The short cut
This goes between Laughton-En-Le-Morthen and Roche Abbey, giving you scope for three walks. From the St Leger Pub there are two ways.
1. Follow the footpath down the field at the back of the pub with the hedge on your right until you come to the stile on your right. Go over the stile and follow the path over the fields until you reach the bridleway. Follow this along the ridge on the edge of the fields.
2. From the front of the pub turn left and follow the road to the left and take the left fork until you come to the bridleway. Follow this along the ridge. This is were you meet with the first route. At the end you come to King’s Wood where there is a path down through the wood on your left. Follow this path bearing to the right and you will eventually come to Roche Abbey. I hope you still enjoy your walking and find these walks interesting, giving you the chance to learn some of the historical heritage of the area and keep healthy at the same time.