Doncaster Ramblers: Tickhill Stump Cross Lane

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The story how an ancient footpath was reclaimed.

Thursday 14th March, twenty-four of us set off from the Buttercross in Tickhill, walking to the Mill Dam to find a quiet place for the briefing.

Introductions were made and the back-marker appointed. A very brief history of the castle was given, it being built after the Norman invasion of 1066.

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The first castle was built with wood, but later versions used stone. It had a chequered history until 1648, when it was razed to the ground. We walk around Mill Dam to Lindrick. Lindrick, along with Dadesley, to the north of Tickhill, were Anglo-Saxon settlements before Tickhill was establihed.

Stump Cross LaneStump Cross Lane
Stump Cross Lane

We crossed the Worksop Road and entered Friars Lane, adjacent to the old friary - now two houses. We branched off Friars Lane, passing junior football pitches and onto Crooked Lane Head and followed this track over the railway bridge, which once crossed the South Yorkshire Junction Railway.

This line opened to passengers in 1910 but had been built mainly to carry minerals. The passenger service finally closed in 1929.

After a bend to the right this track becomes Stump Cross Lane, which we followed to Blyth Gate Lane, which we crossed. After about 300 metres we entered land owned by the Sandbeck Estate.

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In 2010, a notice appeared stating the the route was not a public right of way. This was correct, but people had been using this track for hundreds of years. The name, Stump Cross Lane, indicates the likelihood that there was once a medieval cross on the route. Also, consider that the route follows the high ground in a direct line with Tickhill Friary.

Doncaster Rotherham border plankDoncaster Rotherham border plank
Doncaster Rotherham border plank

Bearing those facts in mind, and wondering why the Sandbeck Estate would want to deny access, I began the process of claiming the route as a public right of way. This involved getting over twenty witnesses to state that they had used the route, ‘without interruption’, over a twenty year period.

One witness remembers using the route in the 1950s. This was done and the claim was made by Doncaster MBC. The Sandbeck Estate appealed, which led to a public inquiry, held in December 2012. The consequence of all this was that the inspector concluded that the Order, to create a public right of way, be confirmed.

Upon reaching Sandbeck Lane we turned right for about 800 metres until reaching a footpath on the left. We took this footpath down to the A631, crossing a plank bridge which took us out of Doncaster and into Rotherham.

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We crossed into Limekiln Lane where there is a memorial to an explosion at Maltby Colliery in 1923, which is where we had our refreshment break.

Further along there is a big field on the right, with many many hollows in the surface, where lime would once have been dug out. Hence, Limekiln Lane. After about a kilometre along Limekiln Lane we took a footpath off to the right. This is a delightful path through light woodland, and across fields to the strangely named Denaby Wife Bridge.

Then we had a gentle climb to Hindley Lane, which is an enclosed ancient trackway. To the Anglo-Saxons ‘-ley’ meant a forest clearing. These days there are more alpacas to be seen than deer on Hindley Lane. Near the end of the lane we took a very short path to the left, alerting some noisy but secure dogs on our right, descended some steps to Apy Hill Lane and then ascended the steps away from the lane.

We turned right and crossed a disused railway line, the site of an overnight stop of the royal train, carrying our late monarch and her husband, passing a small industrial estate and then left into a narrow footpath which reached houses in a cul-de-sac.

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We turned right and then left and walk towards the church and Buttercross, ending the walk just before 1.00. Thanks to Glen for back-marking.

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Remember while out observe the Countryside Code and give way to other walkers.

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