41 Yorkshire Rivers Way – South West Corner
OK I get it. 65 miles from Sheffield to Rotherham via Barnsley doesn’t sound like the most attractive way to spend 5 days of your life. However, for the most part, it’s a surprisingly scenic route with the first couple of days skirting the foothills of the Pennines and dipping into the Peak District in places It isn’t until Day 4 that the more industrialised and densely populated parts of the regions being to assert themselves on the eyes and ears (maybe even the smell and taste as well) of the walker. The most built up part is the final section of Day 5 as it heads straight into the centre of Rotherham to the confluence of the River Don and River Rother.
Over the course of the five days the Way links Rivers Sheaf, Rivelin, Loxley, Little Don, Don, Dearne, Dove, Don (again) and Rother. It navigates through woodland, pasture, over some surprisingly remote hills, around and across reservoirs, taking in quiet remote villages, hill towns, steam railway and country houses before hitting the more populated areas on Days 4 and 5.
The overnight stops on days 2, 3 and 4 are all situated on the Barnsley to Huddersfield railway line which stops at Denby Dale, Penistone, Dodworth and Elsecar which is convenient for travel between start and end points.
Day 1 starts on the south west edge of Sheffield on the River Sheaf near Dore and Totley railway station and climbs up the Limb Valley before picking up the River Rivelin and River Loxley and finishing at Low Bradfield.
Day 2 heads from Low Bradfield to Bolsterstone taking in a couple of reservoirs on the way then on to Midhopestones where the first river of the day – the Little Don River – is crossed. Then its pretty much a direct route northwards to end the day in Penistone.
Day 3 leaves Penistone and a very youthful River Don and travels north to Denby Dale where it meets the River Dearne and also connects with The Pennines section of the 41 Yorkshire Rivers Way. We turn south east now and head towards Cawthorne where we see the first country house of this section in Cannon Hall. From Cawthorne the track takes us across fields to Dodworth and our destination.
Day 4 sets out from Dodworth to meet the River Dove at Worsborough Dam before continuing along the southern edge of Barnsley towards Wombwell. From here we cut back to the south west following canal side footpaths to Elsecar. The Elsecar Heritage Centre can be explored en route and the day ends at Elsecar railway station.
Day 5 takes us from Elsecar south eastwards towards the stately home of Wentworth Woodhouse. from here it’s a gentle day of field, plantation and the occasional pond before entering the more built up area short of Rotherham. Even so, the path remains fairly green as it squeezes between Greasborough and Kimberworth Park to find its finish at the confluence of the River Rother and River Don near the centre of Rotherham.