Cusworth, Sprotbrough, Newton circular '“ by Tony Swaby; pictures: Chris Greig
The walk begins in the local authority owned car park, adjacent to Cusworth Hall and grounds, and for which there is a daily parking charge.
Walk to the rear of the car park with the Hall to your left then pass through a perimeter fence and out onto the hall grounds.
Emerge onto the grassed area and then walk diagonally down the hill to the bottom right hand corner of the park, and to the right of this lake. Pass through the open barrier and turn right along a farm track, which bends to the right after a time, but the walker should take the left-hand path near to the bend.
The path bends to the left and then open to the right, following which you should take the diagonal path across the field and then arrive at the tunnel which passes underneath both major carriageways of the A1M. Emerge from the tunnel and walk on, eventually approaching a barn structure in front of you. Turn left on the path before the barn, towards Melton Road, Sprotbrough. The path immediately emerges onto the busy Melton Road. Cross the road and walk to the right, where you will come across The Ivanhoe Public House.
Walk through the car park and exit onto the road, turning left, at some stage crossing to the other side. On the right you will see a parade of shops, walk through the parade, exiting onto the road to the right of the church, at which time you should cross over to the other side. Walking to the right you will then see Boat Lane, Sprotbrough. Walk to the canal basin. Stay on the left hand side footpath and after a few hundred yards you will see a walled garden on the right.
Continue walking down the lane where you will then see further evidence of Sir Walter Scott’s presence in the form of Scott Hill to the right. When you reach the bottom of the lane, the main road continues over the canal bridge, but you should take the right hand road – Nursery Lane. You will come across a parking area on the left, with steps dropping down onto the main canal quay. Go down the steps and turn left, walking in the direction of the canal bridge.
Having walked under the bridge you will see various barges and pleasure craft moored to the right of the basin. The path continues along the left-hand bank, and then bends to the right at which time the basin ends. Continue along the path with a stone wall on your left. After a few yards on the left you will see what remains of the Sprotbrough Hall Pumping Station.
Continue walking along the footpath and glimpse once more up to the left where the keen observer will see further evidence of the hall’s previous existence. Continue along the path which opens to the right across the river. Eventually the path leads to the flyover across the Don Gorge – walk under this impressive structure and pass though a revolving gate, the path continuing to skirt the river itself. In front of you will see the old derelict railway bridge. Walk under the bridge, then under a further bridge before crossing over a stile at the other end, which exits onto the footpath and continues along the floodbank. After a few hundred yards you will see a series of ponds on the left
Continue walking along the embankment, climbing over a further stile, then look across the river to a building housing the Doncaster Rowing Club, built near to Hexthorpe Park. Continue along the path which eventually bends to the left and then peters out on the approach to woodland. Drop down the embankment and climb a further stile at which time you enter the wood. Climb a further stile at which point the path rises to join another more substantial cart track. Turn right and in front of you there is a gate with a stile on the left, climb same and continue along the track.
Pass through the vertical barriers on the left of the gate and into the farmyard which is a public right of way. At the end of the old barn turn left and walk along Newton Lane, Pass under the railway bridge and keep to the left-hand footpath next to housing, and walk to the end of this lane where it then merges with the busy Sprotbrough Road.
Cross the road, turn right and then immediately left into Allendale Road, walk down this road which then bends to the right and then left.
Stay on the left-hand path until the housing finishes and a path leads onto The Trans-Pennine Trail. Walk along the trail until you see the sign marked Cusworth Hall Cycle Trail. Turn left. Keep to the main path.
You will then come to the perimeter fence of Cusworth Park and you should pass through the gate, entering the park on its Eastern end. Walk along the path. The path then slips into three, take the left hand one which leads back into the main park area. Walk up the hill, walking diagonally to the left, and you will then emerge at the top, and see the car park from where you first set out on your walk.