It was a winter wonderland wander in the latest ramble by Doncaster Ramblers group.
Despite a forecast of wintery weather it didn’t deter 34 hardy Ramblers from meeting in Greno Wood car park for this 9 mile circular woodland walk. As it turned out the conditions overhead improved as the day went on. Conditions underfoot were less favourable and someone suggested this was the muddiest Ramble yet, and that’s going some.
The walk began with a gentle uphill through woodland before emerging onto the expanse of Wharncliffe Chase (Deer Park) which felt a little exposed in the wind and light snow, and hence no deer to be seen today, but we were soon enjoying coffee in a sheltered lane out of the elements. After a section of field walking, some of it off piste, with a clamour “Tony are we on the right track?” We climbed up into Low Hall Wood and back into Greno Wood for a good woodland stretch before reaching the haven of the Old Red Lion in Grenoside for our lunch stop. A look at the route map (available on our FB page) shows just how many twists and turn today’s walk took, and a credit to our leader, Tony that we found the pub at all! Anyway we were made very welcome and invited to eat our picnics inside which was much appreciated.
It was fine when we emerged and set off into Wheata Wood for the short, hour long trek back to our cars. There were a lot of muddy stretches to contend with and this is to be expected on a February woodland walk but it was also great to be out in the fresh air and there were some surprisingly expansive vistas to enjoy along the way - along with the usual good company. Tony was his usual self as a helpful and considerate leader and was always there with a helping hand at tricky sections and over stiles, helped by Pete as an efficient backmarker.
There is nothing more reassuring when out walking than seeing in the distance a bright fingerpost, or crossing a safe well built stile. You’re on the right track. And those tracks and paths, become more user friendly for every age and ability, when they are cleared of brambles, nettles, and other hazards.
So for over 6 years members of Doncaster Ramblers have worked alongside DMBC’s Rights of Way Department to maintain the footpath network in the Borough. It is a huge network, with over 300 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways on 588 separate routes. Ramblers walk all these footpaths annually, reporting any issues which they encounter as well as carrying out the essential repair work and maintenance. That’s an awful lot of vegetation that needs clearing, stiles and bridges that need repairing, way-marks that need re-erecting, etc.
About 30 members, all retired, agreed to carry out this voluntary work and work parties are arranged in conjunction with the Rights of Way Department on a monthly basis, usually on Wednesday mornings. Some 70 sessions have been held since the scheme began in 2011. Recently, three work parties carried out repairs at Armthorpe, at Hatfield and at Sykehouse. The Doncaster Ramblers enjoy using skills they’ve learnt over a lifetime, and maybe learning a few more. They enjoy a job well done. Doncaster Walking Festival May 26 to Jane 3 – an outdoor extravaganza for all the family. For more information about the Doncaster Ramblers and future activity please visit the Doncaster Ramblers’ www.doncasterramblers.org.uk or follow them on www.facebook.com/doncasterramblers Facebook site.