Walk 2717 - printer friendly version
Wentworth Woodhouse and its follies Walk
Author - Peter Schofield
Length - 7.5 miles / 12.2 km
Ascent - 575 feet / 174 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SK385999
Lat 53.494403 + Long -1.4211503
Postcode S74 8HJ (approx. location only)
The towns of Barnsley and Rotherham may not be amongst the first places to spring to mind when planning a walk. However the area has many attractive rural locations including one of the country's finest houses, Wentworth Woodhouse, which is passed on this walk. The house featured in the TV series "The Country House Revealed" which visited stately homes not open to the public.
The walk starts at the Heritage Centre at Elsecar (Grid ref. SK385999). Go down the path to the side of the Market Hotel PH for 150m before bearing left at a finger post just beyond some derelict cottages. The path climbs gently through woodland to a stile at GR SK388997. From here take the right hand of two paths as it continues to climb before levelling out. The route continues along the ridge before arriving at the first of the estate's follies known as the Needle's Eye. This rather curious pyramidal structure was built during the mid-18thC although little else is known about it.
Continue along the path to arrive at a stile at Coley Lane, turning right and then immediately left into Street Lane. Just beyond the attractive hamlet of Street, go over a stile to the left and cross a field to another stile on the edge of woodland. Follow the path through the wood to reach the second folly, the triangular lighthouse-like Hoober Stand. Much more is known about this building as an inscription on the front explains the reason for its construction. Built for the first Marquis of Rockingham in 1746-8, it commemorates the defeat of the Jacobite uprising of 1745 (referred to on the inscription stone as "a most unnatural rebellion"). The building is occasionally open to the public.
From here, go right and descend along a field boundary to arrive at a stile on Street Lane. Turn left to shortly reach the B6090 at the attractive village of Hoober. Continue straight on along the road for 300m before bearing right through woodland at a finger post. At the far end of the wood, cross the stile and turn immediately right along the edge of the woodland to reach another stile. Cross over and bear left along the field boundary down to Cortworth Lane.
Turn left along the lane for 700m to reach a junction with the B6089 in the village of Nether Haugh. Go right at the junction and right again at a finger post after a further 100m. The path across several fields to arrive at a stile at grid ref. SK408965. Looking back above the trees, you will see the third of the follies, the Rockingham Mausoleum. Built in 1788 for the first Earl Fitzwilliam as a memorial to the second Marquis, it's not accessible to the public although it's occasionally open at weekends via a private road from Cortworth Lane.
Cross the stile and turn right on to the broad estate road to reach a cattle grid after 800m. Going straight on through a gate, you enter typical deer parkland and the next folly appears to your left. Many English country estates boast a Doric Temple and Wentworth was no exception, this one being built c1745 for the first Marquis. The road gently climbs but nothing can prepare you for what's coming next. As the road reaches the top of the rise, the breathtaking sight of the Wentworth Woodhouse mansion appears before you. Built in the second quarter of the 18thC for the first Marquis, it contains 365 rooms and over a thousand windows and its vast 185m frontage is one of the longest in Europe.
The path bears right off the estate road and continues to the right of the mansion to arrive at an impressive building which visitors to the park can mistake for the house. These are in fact the stables built in 1768, which in their prime accommodated up to one hundred horses in some style. Continue along the road past some derelict buildings to arrive at the estate entrance.
Turn left along the road for 300m, turning left again at a junction and then right after a further 50m where an attractive tree lined avenue leads to the 19thC Wentworth parish church. Continue past the church where the ruins of an older church can be seen on the right and turn right on to a lane next to the village school. After 50m, go straight across the main road and continue down the lane for 300m to Wentworth Sawmills. Turn right down the concrete track where a walk of little over 1.5K through woodland will take you back to the start.
This walk is very accessible for those without their own transport. Stagecoach bus 66 operates frequently to the start point from Barnsley while Elsecar station is a short walk away from where trains run hourly to Sheffield, Barnsley and Leeds. Full travel details can be found on www.travelsouthyorkshire.com.