Circular wildlife walk from Denaby Ings
It just goes to show how much tramping Doncaster Ramblers do around the area, as there was an immediate sense of déjà vu driving into the car park, and this only increased as we began wondering the fields and byways between Mexborough and High Melton.
We had in fact been here in 2019, expertly guided by one of our club’s veteran walk leaders Tony M.
As a novice I try my best to follow in his footsteps, but not today as we deviate slightly from his original route to include a circumnavigation of the Nature Reserve. But that is for later, first we have the climb to High Melton.
Exit the car park and turn right taking care when crossing Dearne Bridge as there is no pavement. At the bend in the road, continue through a gap in the hedge and begin the slow climb to 300ft after 1000m reaching High Melton, at the road turn right then opposite the collage entrance left passing through the tiny hamlet to continue onwards and upwards for another mile or so to reach Hangman Stone Road.
Navigation is made easy because the path is wide, solid underfoot and visible for miles ahead, a Ramblers dream. On reaching the road turn left and after 160m turn right onto a bridleway which swings left after a qurter of a mile becoming St Helen’s Lane.
Stay on the downhill path, 1200m passing the Crown Inn, then at a junction follow the path left as it weaves its way south for a mile ending on Melton Mill Lane. Here the footpath runs neatly along side of the road all the way back to Dearne Bridge.
At this point you can retrace your steps back to the start, at a small gap in the wall take a path around the nature reserve. There was little ornithological action when we walked round, but later in spring and summer there might be more activity. The circuit adds about a mile onto the walk with a tricky crossing by the sluice gates.
The ruins of St. Ellen’s Chapel lie in St. Ellen’s field, the most easterly of the open fields in the village.
The ruins lie close to what was part of the Roman Ricknield Street now Hangman Stone Road, they are preserved in a copse a few yards away from a dried up well.
It is believed that the Chapel was dedicated to Ellen, the Celtic goddess of armies and roads and was later re-dedicated by the early Christians to Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.
Respect – this is an ancient site, please respect it. Do not remove anything, do not dump your rubbish there. The site is reputed to be haunted by a ghost of a white lady who walks from Barnburgh Hall to the Chapel, so go there at your peril.
Courtesy of Doncaster Ramblers
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