Route of the walk
1 The walk begins at the Goldsmith centre, Sprotbrough Road, Sprotbrough. From here, cross the road, turn left and walk towards the old railway bridge. Look for this waymarked stone on your right.
Go down the steps and turn right onto Linear Park, a former railway line in use from 1908 until the late 1960 and now part of the Trans Pennine Trail from Liverpool to Hull.
The Linear Park is managed by Doncaster Council’s Countryside Service for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
2 The housing estate on your left was the site of Fowler’s tank factory. Roads in the estate are named after World War II tanks.
4 Look out for Gamekeeper’s Cottage – once part of the Cusworth estate – and Lower Fishpond. The pond is one of three in the parkland and used to be stocked with trout for the Hall. Pass Middle Pond on your right to find the next waymark stone on your left. Carry on beside Upper Pond, a popular spot for local anglers. The ponds are currently being developed as part of major renovation project for the Hall and country park which is being funded by the National Lottery.
When the ponds are refilled, look out for coots (with a white bill) and moorhens (with a red bill) on the water.
6 Continue right at the bottom of the hill. Long Plantation is on your left. It once stretched as far as the ponds – sadly it is much smaller now. Walk diagonally across the field under the motorway; notice the land begin to rise. At this point you are climbing the limestone escarpment that stands above coal measures to the west.
7 As you pass the lone hawthorn tree situated next to the waymark stone you are 175 feet (53m) above seal level. Looking east you can see another view of Cusworth Hall and the panorama of Doncaster. Look out for impressive St George’s Church, which was designed by Sir Gillespie Scott and built in 1803. Then cross the field until you come to Melton Road.
8 Turn right, cross the road and turn left just before the Ivanhoe public house. Skirt the cricket pitch to reach the stile. Turn left onto Thorpe Lane towards 800 years old St Mary’s Church, containing a wealth of interest for historians.
9 Turn left at the church along Park Drive. The area used to be the gardens of Sprotbrough Hall. Built in the 18th century, the Hall was demolished in 1926 for development. Keep right at the fork in the road.
10 At the kissing gate follow the footpath to Brompton Road; cross and continue along the path. You’re now standing on old parkland; once part of Sprotbrough Hall’s grounds.
11 Follow the waymarked path to the footbridge across the A1(M). At the other side, take a moment to enjoy excellent views over the Don Valley. Carry on past the woodland and through the field, passing houses to your left. Follow the edge of the field towards the Linear park, passing a reclaimed former landfill site on your left