Get Walking with Doncaster Ramblers – Cannon Hall & Silkstone Circular

It was certainly a case of  “Norman’s Invasion” as 48 members of the Doncaster Ramblers gathered at Cannon Hall Farm on a gloriously sunny and crisp morning for our first Tuesday walk of 2019.

By Dave Binnington
Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 11:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 11:52 am
Cannon Hall Park and Silkstone Circular
Cannon Hall Park and Silkstone Circular

After a brief introduction and some background history we were soon on our way on this surprisingly undulating circular anti-clockwise walk across mainly grassy fields and along well defined footpaths with clear views emerging on all sides as we gained height.

During our coffee stop Norman kindly provided everyone with a piece of his homemade fruit cake (and even an accompanying chunk of cheese) which was much appreciated.

Norman kindly provided everyone with a piece of his homemade fruit cake (and even an accompanying chunk of cheese)

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Our lunch stop was in Silkstone with the choice of the village pub or the welcoming Pot House Cafe.

The sun continued to shine as we completed our circuit back to Cannon Hall, passing the distinctive tower of Cawthorne Church towards the end. This was a great walk to start the new year and everyone enjoyed chatting and soaking up the warming rays.

Thanks Norman for being a thoughtful leader (and baker) and to Chris and Lee who shared the backmarking.

Points of interest on the walk included these attractions below:

Cannon Hall Park & Silkstone circular

Cannon Hall - Although there was a house on the site when the Domesday Survey of 1086 was conducted, Cannon Hall picked up its current name from the 13th-century inhabitant Gilbert Canun.

By the late 14th century Cannon Hall was in the ownership of the Bosville family of Ardsley, now a suburb in south-east of Barnsley.

In 1660 the estate was purchased by John Spencer, a Welsh hay-rake maker.

The Spencer family had arrived in Yorkshire from the Montgomeryshire in the Welsh borders, a safer place than Wales for those with Royalist sympathies such as those of the Spencers.

Cannon Hall Park & Silkstone Circular

The Spencer family became active in the local iron and coal industry - notably under John Spencer (died 1729) who took advantage of the death of his partners to establish control. The family built a huge empire and funding the rebuilding of Cannon Hall.

The core of the present Cannon Hall was built at the opening of the 18th century for John Spencer Stanhope, and was enlarged with the addition of wings in 1764–67 by the premier mid-Georgian architect working in Yorkshire, John Carr.

Subsequently the wings were heightened, giving the rather high-blocked mass seen today.

The last member of the family, Elizabeth, sold the house to Barnsley Council in 1951.

On Saturday February 16, the Ramblers are enjoying another walk entitled ‘Near to the Cuckoo but you won’t hear it.’

This is an easy 10 mile walk in an attractive area. The route follows the Chesterfield Canal past Wiseton and south around Clayworth, then, after leaving the canal, it turns north to Gringley on the Hill and returns to Drakeholes along the Cuckoo Way.

Meet, ready to start, at 10 am. 

On Tuesday February 19 there will be the Elsecar Round,  a pleasant winter walk starting and finishing at the Heritage Centre in Elsecar. And on Saturday February 23 walkers will take on the Loxley Valley Circular,  a moderate eight mile walk that takes the rambler along the Loxley Valley through open countryside and villages. For more information about the Doncaster Ramblers visit