A walk from Mortomley to Thorncliffe Woods

Distance: 2 miles
Time: Allow 1 hour

A moderate walk through mature woodlands. Mostly surfaced paths with steep up and down hill sections. Sections of the walk can flood so boots or stout shoes are advisable when wet.

Refreshments: Packhorse Inn, Packhorse Lane. St. Saviours Church sometimes offers drinks and cakes but it is advisable to enquire in advance.

Walking from Mortomley to Thorncliffe Woods
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The Route Points of interest are shown in bold
  1. From Ecclesfield Parish Council offices go down Packhorse Lane and continue straight down the public footpath to the right of High Green Development Trust. Turn left after passing through the A-frame gate at the bottom of the hill.Follow the green metal fence enclosing the pond round to the right.
  2. At the end of the green metal fence take the wide surfaced path which goes up the hill to the TPT sign (Transpennine Trail).
  3. Turn left and continue on the TP trail through the woods to an A-frame gate beside a metal gate at the end of the woods. Continue straight on, ignoring a wooden style on your left, to follow the path around the outside of the grassy field, keeping the fence on your left.
  4. When you reach the woods take the path on the left leading steeply down the hill. Follow the path down to the bottom of the hill, turning right at the bottom to join the road (Greaves Road) at Westwood Bottom. Please note: This path Is very slippery when wet. An alternative is to go straight down Greaves Lane and follow the road next to the footpath . This alternative route may still be muddy depending on the weather.
  5. Turn left onto the road and almost immediately left again onto a public footpath by the side of the stream. Follow the path through the woods
  6. Westwood Dam appears on your left. On reaching the houses on the right take the path which leads beside the fence to a gate into a car park area by the dam wall. Cross the car park to the path opposite and carry straight on through the trees. At a junction with another path turn right and follow the paved public footpath up behind St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School to emerge on to Mortomley Lane. Turn left to return to the starting point.

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 278 Sheffield and Barnsley

Start: Ecclesfield Parish Council Offices, Mortomley Lane, High Green S35 2HS

Public Transport: For information on public transport ring the South Yorkshire Traveline on 01709 515151 or visit www.travelsouthyorkshire.com

Car Parking: Limited street parking. Please park sensibly.

Public Toilets: None on route

Refreshments: Packhorse Inn, Packhorse Lane. St. Saviours Church also sometimes offers drinks and cakes but it is advisable to enquire in advance.

Points of Interest
Mortomley Hall

Mortomley Hall was situated almost opposite the Parish Council offices; apartments now stand on the site. The hall was built in 1703 and demolished in the 1960’s. It was known locally as the doctor’s residence.

Tankersley Pit

Les Sansam used to work at Tankersley Pit and described his job working with pit ponies underground. He said the work “...consisted of fetching full tubs of coal up a steep slope from where the fillers or trammers had pushed them and taking back empty tubs from the upper level… the small tubs contained about a third of a ton. For a full six shift week you received the princely sum of exactly £1 take home pay.” Quoted in J. & M. Jones (1993) “..A most Enterprising Thing…” (p15-16).

Westwood Country Park

The park, managed by Sheffield City Council, was created on the former Tankersley Colliery site.

Westwood Dam

The dam, now a fishing pond, was created by Newton Chambers & Co. to supply water to Thorncliffe Ironworks.

Westwood Rows

Until they were demolished in the late 1960’s, a double row of cottages and Methodist chapel once stood on the far side of the dam. They were built by Newton Chambers & Co. to house non-union workers during the 1869-70 Miners’ Lockout.

Thorncliffe Wood

Thorncliffe Wood may be part of the ‘pasturable woodland’ referred to in the Domesday book as belonging to the manor of Tankersley, although it is first mentioned by name in a document dating from around 1600, listing the woodlands belonging to Gilbert, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury. At this time the wood was used for the production of charcoal and other products.

Thorncliffe Wood today is recovering from the devastation caused by coal mining and iron working and is described as a semi-natural ancient woodland. Although it is now dominated mainly by sycamore, it also has significant numbers of oak trees as well as a few beech and ash. The shrub layer consists mainly of young sycamore, and ash, plus a few willow and birch trees. It is one of the few local woods where elm forms a significant feature and indeed there are some larger mature elms which seem to have escaped the ravages of Dutch elm disease.

Westwood Riots

The 1869-70 Miners’ Lockout occurred because Newton Chambers & Co. had decided to reduce the miners’ wages and refused to negotiate with the union. 850 workers who refused to accept the company’s terms were locked out, although several hundred continued to work. The company recruited new non-union workers and built houses for them at Thorncliffe and Westwood Rows.

The riots took place when striking miners attacked the non-union men. On 21st January 1870 a crowd, estimated at between 300 and 1500 armed with picks, pistols and bludgeons, attacked the cottages on Westwood Rows. The police could not contain the situation and it was only when reinforcements arrived from Barnsley was the violence, damage and looting brought under control. Although no-one was killed, one miner and at least one policeman were seriously injured. 23 men were sent for trial at York assizes and 11 received prison sentences. The dispute continued for another 7 months. Miners returned to work but had to accept the company’s terms, including lower wages. For more information see J. & M. Jones (1993) “..A Most Enterprising Thing..”