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If you’re not from South Yorkshire, you probably don’t immediately think of it as an area that is rich with places to walk and things to see. But, whilst it can’t compete with the likes of North Yorkshire, it certainly has a lot to offer. South Yorkshire includes places like Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham – it also includes a little bit of the Peak District.
Features of South Yorkshire include:
A bit of a National Park – the Peak District (As mentioned above) Conisbrough Castle Howden Moors The rivers of Don, Dearne and Rother
Abbeys and Priories in South Yorkshire
If you’re looking for an abbey to visit in South Yorkshire, then check out Roche Abbey at Maltby and is in the care of English Heritage. The abbey itself was founded in 1147 and the first monks to live there came from Newminster Abbey in Northumberland. The dissolution by King Henry VIII led to the abbey becoming little more than ruins.
As part of a short, or long walk, you could also explore Monk Bretton Priory – located in the village of Lundwood, Barnsley. The name derives from its close location to the village Bretton, the village itself is now called Monk Bretton. It was again closed by the dissolution.
Country Houses in South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire also has some fantastic country houses to enjoy, such as Cannon Hall in Barnsley which offers an excellent museum and large, open grounds which don’t require a fee to roam, unlike many other country houses. There’s also Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster, which is a Victorian Country House that is virtually unchanged since 1860.
Wentworth Castle & Gardens in Barnsley offers really extensive gardens, as well as a beautiful house and a deer park. It even includes a sham castle – something put there as decoration which really gives you a feel of how differently people lived.
Also worth a mention is Cusworth Hall, again near Doncaster – which underwent extensive renovations between 2002 and 2005. The work included protecting the integrity of the hall, as well as the restoration of landscapes based on what archive material they had to hand to match what it used to be like.
Castles in South Yorkshire
There are quite a few castles in South Yorkshire for you to take a look at, such as Conisbrough Castle in Doncaster which is one of the main tourist attractions in South Yorkshire.
Some of the castles in South Yorkshire wouldn’t immediately jump out at you as being castles – what’s left of them is largely indicated by the shape of earth such as mounds and boundaries, such as the sites of former castles at Bradfield near Sheffield. Other castles, like Hickleton, have been unfortunately destroyed by human activity.
History in South Yorkshire
Much of South Yorkshires most significant history is very recent, and very much not forgotten for many people, with the overall deindustrialisation of the area, including pit closures, having a large impact on the shape and culture of the area.
When you think of the word ‘battles’ in history, you think much further back than 1984 – but in that year there was the Battle of Orgreave between police and picketers during the miners strike. Though, if you’re looking for a battleground that goes a bit further back then South Yorkshire can take you all the way back to 633 for the battle of Hatfield Chase, which was fought between the Northumbrians and a Gwynedd-Mercia alliance.
Hatfield also has some neolithic history with a corduroy trackway, the oldest one known in England.
Finally, no history section would be complete without mentioning some sort of mark left by the Roman’s. Northeast of Sheffield there is a series of earthworks which are known by many names, such as Roman Ridge. There is mixed opinion on what the original purpose of it was, but it is generally believed to be some sort of defensive feature.
Geographical Features in South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire finds itself largely sat on the coalfield which formerly created many jobs in the area. This coalfield creates a mixture of landscape features including hills and broad valleys. The spoils of industry also create mock geographical features, with tips now being turned into nature reserves and former wasteland being reclaimed by nature.
Rivers, Reservoirs, and Canals in South Yorkshire
The major rivers in South Yorkshire are the Dearne, Rother and Don, it also has lots of shorter rivers such as Dove, Loxley and Rivelin. Unfortunately these rivers do not give us any dramatic waterfalls to enjoy.
There are plenty of reservoirs in South Yorkshire, particularly around the Peak District area, such as Langsett Reservoir which includes the ruins of North America Farm which were used as target practice during world war II. Other reservoirs include High Bradfield, Broomhead Reservoir and Worsbrough Reservoir.
The canals of South Yorkshire are known collectively as the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, which includes the River Don navigation, Sheffield Canal and New Junction Canal – it also connects to nations larger network of canals.
Wildlife in South Yorkshire
With much of the former land of industry and tip sites now being reclaimed by nature South Yorkshire has many nature reserves that you can enjoy, such as RSPB Dearne Valley – Old Moor. This place is a bird watchers paradise, but also offers enjoyable tramping grounds for the more casual bird watchers amongst us.
If you’re more in the Doncaster area, then check out Potteric Carr Nature Reserve which attracts a large number birds, as well as butterflies.