Disregarding adverse weather and traffic reports, 31 of us met at the RSPB Old Moor Reserve for a leisurely 9.3 mile stroll through this now lush, post-industrial landscape of lakes, rivers, trails and woodland.
As we left, the skies brightened for our return journey along the Trans Pennine Trail which was bordered by blossoming blackthorn trees and the green haze of fresh leaves bursting out of their buds on the ash, alder, birch and chestnut trees. We reached our cars with the sun sparkling on the reserve lakes and peewits ducking and diving above the swaying reedbeds.
Dearne Valley RSPB Reserve. This is an 89-hectare (220-acre) wetlands nature reserve near Barnsley – Old Moor. Old Moor is managed to benefit bitterns, breeding waders such as lapwings, redshanks and avocets, and wintering golden plovers. In 2000, the reserve had only 10,000 visitors annually, but by 2018 the 89-hectare (220-acre) reserve had about 100,000 visits per year
The Trans Pennine Trail This is a long distance footpath, which can be accessed within towns and cities on route and then walk into the countryside. The Trail is largely purpose built using canals, riversides, disused railway lines and urban cycle paths – More than 70 percent of the Trail is traffic-free.
The Trail is a multi-user route designed with walkers in mind and provides a great way to explore the countryside whether that’s just an afternoon stroll or a journey across northern England. Most of the Trail is relatively flat, so it provides easy walking, and the route is comprehensively signed. For much of the route, walkers share the Trail with cyclists and horse riders.
The Dunsville walk did not disappoint, coming in at exactly two hours, and about five miles. So on a chilly morning John welcomed ten of us, before giving a short briefing then leading us through the magnificent Quarry Park – an extensive area of grass, trees and shrubs with several play areas, some for adults too. We then walked to Dunscroft and into Hatfield. After rounding the two big bends on the A18 we set off along Carr Side Lane and walked past the huge Ruane Potato establishment alongside the M18.
Walking in groups has such a therapeutic effect as people discuss subjects as diverse as aging parents latest ailments, current soap opera plots, even the weather, while getting a bit of exercise, and enjoying the open air. What we don’t like to see or discuss is fly tipping. Coming across this was a real shock, though we shouldn’t have been surprised. Footpaths and bridleways are there for everyone to enjoy and we don’t want them spoilt by the senseless act of a few.
Anyway the final section of our walk was more exposed and a few hoods went up before we turned into Park Lane and returned to Dunsville. A thoroughly enjoyable walk, probably the first time Doncaster Ramblers have started a walk from Dunsville. Thanks to John for planning and leading this walk.
For more information about the Doncaster Ramblers and future activity please visit the Doncaster Ramblers’ Home Page and download a full copy of their walk programme. Visit www.doncasterramblers.org.uk/walks/walks-programme-printed-version.html site.
And follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/doncasterramblers/ where GPS Maps of many of of the group’s past walks can also be found.