Monday, 16 June 2014

Railway ramble

Something we're blessed with here in the southern part of West Yorkshire is an abundance of former railway lines, a lot of which are now official and unofficial walking routs.  Many of the old lines served now closed collieries, and some were left-overs from the days when each railway company had its own lines, regardless of whether they followed a very similar route to that of a rival company.

Our walk, outlined in purple
You can see the walk we did today outlined in purple in the picture above.  It's quite a contrast between this bit of map, with all its dismantled railway lines, to one from 1947 when they were all extant.  All the mines are also shown on the 1947 map, although there's very little, if anything, on the ground today to show where they once were - which is a good thing, as the landscape has been restored nicely.

The section of line we walked seems to have been part of the Dearne Valley Junction Railway, which itself was part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and went on to be part of the LMS post "big four" grouping.  This line ran for just over 7 miles between Shafton Junction to a junction just beyond Crofton, crossing over the current east-coast mainline between Doncaster and Leeds, via Hare Park bridge.  The only station on this line appears to have been Ryhill Halt, which was closed to passengers in 1951.  Another old map of former railways in the area can be seen here.

I love my railway rambles, and I love rambling about railways!  Time for me to shut up and let the photos do the talking.

We start at Havercroft, where the line crossed Cow Lane
Cross Beachill Drive and on up the old trackbed
Approaching a footpath intersction, where the path from Upper Hatfield Place, Havercroft (to the right),  goes to Ryecroft Avenue, Ryhill (to the left).  Our railway ramble goes straight on.
It can be quite muddy!
Cross Nostell Lane. Looking back towards Havercroft
Small, sitting on an old sleeper that's been made into a bench
The path is great for an educational nature walk
We talked about various species of plants
and we talked about nesting birds and hatching eggs
Cross Back Lane. Looking back towards Havercroft
I shall pause here, and post the rest of the photos from our walk tomorrow.  Buses pass along Back Lane, heading back towards Havercroft/Ryhill and Hemsworth, and in the other direction towards Walton and Wakefield, so the walk is accessible by public transport.

The route is walker, bicycle and horse friendly.  Local lads use it for motor-biking so watch out for them.  I'd say the route from Havercroft Beechill Drive as far as Nostell Lane is certainly suitable for motorised mobility scooters, but beyond that some of the inclines, where the former railway bridges have been removed, are rather steep and the scooter might not make it up.  It can also get extremely muddy.  Small loved it though, taking delight in wading through the muddy puddles.  Thankfully he had his wellies on!

Until next time. x

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