Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hickleton, Harlington, Mexborough, Old Denaby, and Hooton Roberts

I had quite a late night at Rotherham Civic Theatre last night, singing, clapping and stomping my feet along to a Queen tribute band; so...only a local walk today, taking things easy but still taking advantage of one of the last days of summery weather this year.

Hickleton was looking resplendent in the morning sunshine as I took some photographs of the church and churchyard. The first one shows the 'Hickleton Skulls', displayed in the lychgate - they have a macabre message from beyond the grave for all of us. The Gothic style lettering is difficult to make out, and my photograph isn't very clear either, but it reads, 'Today for me, tomorrow for thee.'

I left the churchyard and went to try and get some photographs of Hickleton Hall, but it's all blocked off because of building work to convert it into executive apartments.

Slightly disappointed, I walked down Barnburgh Lane and then turned left onto the bridleway which leads to Barnburgh Crags, or Barnburgh Cliff as it they are also sometimes called...not by locals though.

Although it was still quite early I settled down at one of my favourite spots, overlooking Barnburgh, and ate my sandwiches; I was hungry, having skipped breakfast earlier.

Barnburgh is a pretty village, but is best known for the gruesome legend of Sir Percival Cresacre and the wild cat ...a salutary lesson for us all to bear in mind after a night out on the town.

There a far-reaching views further along this path, of the Dearne Valley and as far as the Pennines over to the right, and as far as the Vale of York and the Aire Valley power stations to the left. The photograph shows a rather photogenic burnt-out tree stump and the distant view of the Pennines. 

Looking in the other other direction are four recently constructed wind turbines. Some people think they are beautiful...some people don't.

The track through the Crags ends at Hangman Stone, the location of another gruesome local legend. I walked down Hangmanstone Lane for a few yards before joining St. Helen's Lane, a broad track running along the bottom of the cliff, then dropping down into Harlington, where I had a Diet Coke, sitting outside in the warm sunshine at the Crown Inn.

Next, I walked through the village and along Mill Lane to arrive at the River Dearne. I was walking on the top of the levee by now, and a bit later on along the embankment of an abandoned railway. Since this section is part of the Trans Pennine Trail, a long distance cycleway, it was busy with cyclists weaving their way in and out of the walkers.

I arrived at the road, and followed it for about a mile into Mexborough, nowhere near to the town centre though. I remembered that there was a way down through a housing estate to the canal lock and a footbridge over the railway. I hadn't printed out a map, but wished I had; I got lost in a series of fiendish cul-de-sacs - I backtracked and found another route I knew which required me to pass through a very low access tunnel going underneath the railway embankment ..I wasn't on some sort of urban exploration expedition now though - it is the definitive route of the footpath. [Because of the rucksack on my back I had to bend even lower than expected.]

It's a pleasant walk to Old Denaby, mainly through woodland. The village is quite long and it took me few minutes to walk from one end of it to the other, where the footpath leading up the hill towards Hooton Roberts starts. It's quite a steep climb, but the views from the top are good; but I think those on the other side of the hill, going down the track towards the valley just before reaching Hooton Roberts are even better.

My bus didn't turn up at Hooton Roberts, and the following one was five minutes late; as I was waiting three buses went in the other direction to Sheffield.

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