Oxspring Walk - October 25th

Posted 25/10/2020
Here is Keith Fox’s report of today’s DVWG Walk.
This was a 'mile stone' walk for me as it was the first time I had been a walk leader for DVWG or indeed any walking group. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
We started at 9.30am from the public car park sited on Sheffield Road found just to the left of the Wagon and Horses Restaurant. The Pinfold is a small point of interest immediately to the right of the public car park. Now maintained by volunteers it includes steel sheep sculptures and a quiet place to sit and rest a while...
The weather was very kind to us being mostly sunny with just a light breeze.
We began on a rough track passing diagonally between farm fields to the side of the car park and under a bridge that carries the Trans Pennine Trail.  Continue to where the track turns left crossing over Black Moor. From here we had excellent views on the left over the moors, woodland and farms towards Wortley, Thurgoland and Silkstone.
 A short walk down hill through mixed woodland known as Black Moor Common took us to the stepping stone crossing at the River Don. The path through the woods presented us with our first autumnal views with fallen leaves in various shades of brown and russet but the best was yet to come...
I must admit feeling a little nervous about crossing the River using stepping stones. It seemed everyone loved the view there and enjoyed the crossing with no reports of wet feet.
We continued along the short path via the stile and on to Old Mill Lane  turning right and  taking in the views. To the right is Trunce Farm and Green Moor with views of moors and mixed woodland. To the left behind the houses is the occasional view of Huthwaite Woods and Common.
It wasn't long before we turned right crossing back over the River Don on a foot bridge. This is the beginning of a steep hill climb passing through meadows and woodlands. As you begin to climb the views back accross the valley are fantastic.
A quick check at the top of the hill and I was unable to secure any runners for The Trunce Run where the entrants sprint up the hill we'd just walked, haha! To be fair I'll not be volunteering for that run either. 
Our journey then took us right on Green Moor Road, passing through the village of Green Moor and provided time to recover from the rewarding hill climb.
As we left the village our walk passed what was once Green Moor School. Now converted to,dwellings it's still looks impressive and bears the original school name to the front. What was once the school yard now serves as a pretty and idyllic play area for the local children of primary school age.
We now had a decision to make. Continue straight on using the public or take a right turn adding about one mile to the walk. The weather was great and everyone was enjoying the views and so we opted for the slightly longer walk.
We began to drop downhill and then turned right using the public path to the edge of the farm fields. This time it was a much gentler and shorter incline. However, we did notice a small but rather impressive herd of cows to our right. A second luck and I was pretty certain there was huge bull! They were all sitting and quite some distance from us. We decided they weren't bothered about us and so we continued bravely on passing over the fields of Green Moor Self towards Holly Hall.
As we turned a corner to our left and crossed to stiles that were positioned just a short distance apart, we found ourselves at the top of a ridge with spectacular views back accross the valley. In the distance Stocksbridge was to our right and Middlwood was to our left.
We then had a very pleasant walk down hill through the mixed woodland of Tim Mill Rocher looking resplendent in it's various shades of russet through to yellow and green.
At the  bottom of the hill we crossed the River Don for the third time. This time we had a choice between a footbridge and stepping stones. It would seem the latter had been a hit on the earlier crossing with some of our group choosing to use the stones for a second time.
We were now firmly on our return to the start as we crossed a field and on to the Trans Pennine Trail. Our walk now provided us with views of earlier parts of the walk before passing through the Thurgoland Tunnel. This was the first and most significant reminder on our walk of the trails original use as a rail line providing transport between Sheffield and Manchester. The tunnel was built in the late 1940s and finally closed as a rail line in 1981. Originally two tunnels, one of them is now blocked. The one that remains open and forms part of the trail measures 282m in length. From the side that we entered, look up,and you can see two key stones. The upper one is marked LNER 1947 and the lower one BR 1948.
Shortly after leaving the tunnel behind us, we took the path to our right. This time passing through a mix of moorland and undulating woodland that was never far from the banks of the River Don. As we left the woods we rested a short while in a farm field. It was an opportune moment then and now for me to mention Paula Martin. It was during this walk that Paula completed 100 miles with DVWG and we marked the occasion with a round of applause to mark this milestone occasion in Paula's history with the club. This is also an opportune moment for me to thank David Kirk for providing me with that information and thus enabling me to ensure the occasion was recognised.
We continued downhill and bared right passing through mixed woodland and farmland, again never far from the river. 
It was not long before we were beside Cheese Bottom and crossing the road a Thurgoland Bridge. This presented us with our last walk through mixed woodland with the River to our immediate  left.
As we left woodland, we turned left, with the public road of Bower Hill to our right. Our journey took us over Oxspring Bridge. A grade ll listed building. It's a single span bridge that serves as one of the last reminders of the original village. It was then a short walk uphill back to the car park where our walk began.
All in all, a very pleasant walk with a few hills, one in particular that was quite steep and long but with the reward of some amazing views. In fact, the walk in general provided us with some great views. My thanks go to the group who joined me on this walk and made my job as the walk leader easier.
We got back to the start of our walk at 1.05pm and so finally a confession and an apology from me. Having never walked this route previously as one single walk, I had to estimate the final mileage. I had two options giving either a 6 or 7.1 mile walk, hence the walk was announced with an estimate for a 6.5mile walk. A final check of the OS mapping used for the walk this morning in real time gave a final distance for the route of 7.8 miles. So, a little longer than estimated. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the company,  I hope you did too.
Footnote, (from David) I’m sure everyone will agree how thoroughly Keith approached his first lead and the excellent walk which resulted. On behalf of us all, well done and thank you for today’s lead, Keith Fox.