Ordnance Survey Explorer maps No.279 (Doncaster), No.280 (Isle of Axholme), and No.291 (Goole & Gilberdyke)
The Peatlands Way logo is the Nightjar, and this is the waymark sign for visitors to follow. The Nightjar logo was chosen as the symbol for the Peatlands Way because Thorne Moors is the most northerly stronghold in Britain of this mysterious and elusive bird.
To follow the route please also refer to Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:25000 scale) maps 279, 280 and 291. On the Moors a map and compass are essential. Please follow normal procedures for safe walking and follow the Country Code.
The Peatlands Way is a 50 mile Circular route designed to link the communities of the Humberhead Peatlands and traverse the raised peatlands of the Thorne, Crowle and Hatfield moors. The route is
linked to the Trans Pennine Trail at the New Junction canal. This guide describes the route in a clockwise circuit from The Delves in Thorne (adj. Thorne North Station) but the walk can be undertaken for various distances in either direction from a number of access points around the route.
Although the route is generally way-marked, ordnance survey maps are absolutely essential. Some parts of the route are remote so take food, water waterproofs etc. The full 50-mile circuit is not recommended to be undertaken in a single day without organised back-up because of the danger of being on one or other of the moors after dark.
Even if you are an experienced walker take great care if you depart from or
lose the waymarked route on the peat moors - especially in poor visibility.
Large areas are trackless apart from (often misleading) animal tracks. Water
movement can render apparent routes (such as old bunds) hazardous or
impassable. Although the soft, springy peat can make for easy walking, mistakes can be very tiring.
The Peatlands Way Route was devised by:
The Humberhead Levels Green Tourism Forum
Hale Hill Farm
email Walk Registrar: I. Harrison
Rev. 20 / 08 / 2014
Only the organised challenge walks start / finish at TS Gambia.
The route for which we have done the new directions starts and finishes at the Delves.
Thorne to Crowle
From the Delves Fishponds (GR681 137) where there is a cafe and toilets cross the A614 to Thorne North railway station.
Keep to the right of the station yard to a cinder track and, shortly before a fenced compound go right on a narrow pedestrian-only footpath dropping slightly downhill behind apartment blocks and turning right to a road end.
Ahead to the end of a row of terraced houses on the left to turn left on to a signposted footpath. Keep ahead, hedge on right, across fields, crossing (right, then left) a tree-lined track. Then, with a dyke on the right, ahead again over a footbridge to a path alongside the dyke.
At a footbridge (GR689152) over the dyke on the right and with a pedestrian rail crossing on the left turn right onto the lane (Bloomfield Road) and into Moorends. Turn left at the road end northwards along Marshland Road, turning right after about 500m onto Grange Road on the right. At the end of Grange Road the entrance to the Moorends Recreation Ground is reached (GR699 158). Take the barred former pit road, now a footpath, on the left of the gate and follow it left then right to the main pit entrance road. Cross to the signposted track bearing right to Thorne Moor.
Follow first the track around the former pit tip then a signed footpath to the pedestrian footbridge onto the moor. Straight on an alternative route passes a viewing platform (GR733156) but this is subject to flooding. For the main route turn left immediately after crossing the bridge then after about 500m turn right onto a long straight track. At the end turn right then left then right again. Follow this through to the grey-roofed English Nature store and turn right on to the wide green lane with the Swinefleet Warping Drain on the left and the flooded Will Pits on the right. Cross the metal Bailey Bridge (GR745149), then bear immediately right onto the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve and take the slightly raised path through birch scrubland. After about 400m turn left then right to continue to a gate onto more open land. Continue eastwards towards Crowle over rough grassland. After the next gate you might be lucky enough to see some of the rare breed sheep and goats used by Natural England to control unwanted plant and tree species. On reaching the car park turn left onto the metalled road and immediately right ( GR759141) towards Crowle which can be seen in the distance.
Shortly after entering the village turn right along Commonside and then left at the end on to Cross Street. After the one way "pinch" in the road look for a lane on the right leading past the bowling green to a gate to the church-yard. Follow the path through the church-yard and turn right at the exit gate and immediately left into Vicars Walk. Go left at the end and follow the street into the market square. This can be your focal point for the shops cafes pubs and other attractions in Crowle.
Crowle to Epworth
To continue on the Peatlands Way cross the Market Place in front of the former Cross Keys hotel and cross the High Street to a narrow pedestrian passage through to Fieldside. Turn right and go to Field Road (GR774126) which is on the left (bridleway sign).
Keep ahead as the tarmac lane rises and turns into a farm track, taking the second path on the right at a signposted junction of tracks and continuing towards a large farm on the lane into Ealand. Turn right then left down Main Street (there is a useful local store half way down on the right) and towards Crowle railway station.
Where the road swings right before the station approach follow it round to the A161 and turn left, cross the main road and after crossing the railway, canal and drain take the footpath on the right descending from the bridge embankment to the A18.
Cross with care from the grass strip in front of the white painted company offices to the traffic island and then to the disused stone bridge over the drain opposite. Cross the minor road and follow the line of the old road to the A161. This is a busy link to and from the M180 motorway and unfortunately there is no footway so continue ahead with care for around 500 yards to Kingfisher Nurseries on the left and immediately beyond turn left down the signposted broad track (GR783097) between the River Torne and the Folly Drain.
Turn right through the arches of the disused railway viaduct, then left towards the farm entrance and quickly right on to the green lane running alongside a wood. The green lane gives way to a track and where this forks (at Three Cocked Hat Wood) continue slightly right to the motorway fence (GR791085) and turn left on the track alongside the motorway.
Go right over the motorway bridge and then right again to follow a parallel track on the other side of the motorway to a clearly signposted left turn. Where the track enters the village of Belton turn right and look for the footpath (signed Jeffrey Lane GR788073) on the dismantled railway line on the left. (Continue straight on for short detour through the village with its peaceful church, two pubs and a very good local store/PO rejoining the disused railway behind 'the Steers' pub).
The line skirts the eastern side of Belton and meets the A161 by the entrance to the Old Belton Brickworks. Cross the main road and go left for 50 yards to the parking and picnic area (with useful public conveniences), continuing diagonally across the car park to pick up the gravel track on the line of the dismantled railway.
Between here and Haxey are some of the best preserved medieval open fields in the country and there is an informative example with an explanation board on the right hand side.
The track rises towards an old windmill up to a crossing of tracks at the top of the rise. Continue straight ahead following this footpath on a sharp left turn and take a smaller footpath off the main footpath left and follow the field edge path by the mill and take the track ahead to another converted windmill on the A161 (GR781043). Cross and take the signed track almost opposite, following it via a sharp right turn to the lane leading into Epworth. Follow the road uphill and round a right hand bend to take the turning on the left (Greengate). After a short distance the main route turns left taking a prominent well established path across open fields towards High Burnham.
To visit the Historic community of Epworth, home of the Wesleys, at the end of Greengate cross Rectory Street. Nearby is the Wesley Museum
www.epwortholdrectory.org.uk Continue bearing slightly right to the footpath sign and narrow pedestrian opening alongside a metal gate.
Epworth to Haxey
With just one minor left/right jink at the next field edge this well waymarked path heads south for well over a mile. After a short stretch of green track turn right on a track to Low Burnham and as it passes alongside a small copse (Holy Well) watch for the waymarked U-turn. (Those with mystical inclinations may wish to find the "secret well" which is tended by persons unknown).
After running along the other side of Holy Well the path bears right round the field edge to a waymarked right turn at another small copse (GR787020). Go slightly uphill to a field corner and small drain. Ignore the waymark to the right (Low Burnham) and continue ahead alongside the drain to a gap in the hedge and the (waymarked) left turn along next field edge. The path keeps to the field edge, turning right uphill past a small copse to High Burnham Farm
Turn right on to the road in front of the farm and around 100 yards past the farm take the signed footpath (GR780013) running alongside the right hand hedge of a long field. Towards the end of the field turn right and cross a short stretch of field to the hedge end almost opposite. Take the left hand side of the hedge and continue ahead to a broad track leading down to the A161 and the outskirts of Haxey. Turn left across the road and take the right turn a few yards further on. Shortly after the school on the left the dismantled railway line provides an easy path to the left for those who wish to visit Haxeys main street.
Haxey to Wroot
The Peatlands Way continues across the disused railway to a footpath on the right about 50 yards further on (GR771103). Follow this main path round to the left, past willow plantations (biofuel) on the right dropping down to cross a lane and continue ignoring all turnings to left or right (including an ancient sunken track from Haxey to the moors) for about a mile to a junction of tracks (GR758006).
At this point there is a choice of routes:
The original route turns right towards Haslams Farm, (a "retirement home" for combine harvesters) and follow it northwards to a kissing gate leading onto a farm road. Continue ahead to Turbary Road and turn left into an unmetalled section leading through to Turbary Nature Reserve. At the end of the wooded reserve turn right onto Greenholme Bank leading past Harvester Farm to the lane to Epworth (GR 738038).
However an interesting if longer alternative route continues straight on for another mile until with a prominent farm (Poplar Farm) ahead on the left turn right along the hedge (soon dike) side to a footbridge, Cross and bear slightly left to another footbridge and through a large turf-growing area so the path is surrounded by a perfect green sward towards the large new building at Star Carr (GR745015). Bear left towards trees and at the track turn left then right across an indistinct path across a turf field to the far corner where there is a new kissing gate. Turn right onto Greenholme Bank and then soon right through the Wood forming Haxey Turbary Nature Reserve. Continue ahead to Turbary Road and turn left over the waymarked footbridge at Skyers Farm (GR758015).
Follow the footpath round the rear of the farm and left on to the farm track. Continue ahead on this track and the footpath alongside Old Turbary Drain to short diversion round a large bungalow with its new steel footbridge on to the lane. Turn left along Turbary Road to the junction with Epworth Road and the entrance to Epworth Turbary Nature Reserve. Turn left along the road passing the end of Greenholme Bank (GR747038) on the left.
At this point the two routes re-join. Continue westwards along the lane, crossing a bridge and passing a parking place, then, at a second bridge, turn left
on to the flood bank path alongside the River Torne. At the T-junction of the
lanes (gr 734041), for the official route turn left and after about 600m turn right along Poles Bank. After about 1.2km turn left and after 500m bear right towards Wroot with its convenient pub. Turn right and follow the curved “main street” for about 900m before turning right (north) to the River Torne.
A pleasant alternative is to cross the road and continue ahead on the left bank of the Torne to a
footbridge. Cross to the right bank. The next bridge (GR708038) gives access to the village of Wroot on the left, while the Peatlands Way turns right along a bridleway to Hatfield Moor.The bridleway bears right past a gated farm track and ends at a left turn onto a fieldside path leading to a newly built footbridge on to the peat moor.
(This was the "last piece of the jigsaw" in the creation of the Peatlands Way, the thoughtful construction of which by Natural England allowed a permissive part to be created across Hatfield Moor).
Wroot to Hatfield Woodhouse
After crossing the footbridge turn left and you are now on Hatfield Moor which Natural England have designated as Access Land.There are now several ways to continue this section of the route as the Nature Reserve is developed. There may therefore be minor differences with available maps.
For the current way marked route turn right after approx. 400m and proceed to the edge of the of the industrialised peat workings. Turn left and follow the somewhat sinuous track around the edge of the workings. Do not attempt to cross the deep drainage ditch on to the worked area.
At the south eastern edge of the workings turn left along the track through the wooded area to reach a lake which has become a wildlife haven. The official route keeps left but a possibly more attractive alternative involves taking the right bank of the lake.
At the south east corner of the lake (GR695038) is the start of Moor Bank, a clear track which takes the Peatlands Way north through the Reserve for the next four miles. About half way along the route passes through the main car park and access road to the Reserve from the, A614. It continues northwards through attractive water filled workings and at (GR693069) joins a tarmac lane. Ahead is Ten Acre Lake with a lakeside viewing platform, to the right is a private road to Lindholme Hall, now a Buddist Centre, but walkers turn left ( the first part courtesy Lindholme Hall ) along the lane and follow it northwards where it becomes Remple Lane and enters the village of Hatfield Woodhouse.
Hatfield Woodhouse to Stainforth
Where Remple Lane meets the A614 turn left and just before the next junction and the Hatfield Working Men's Club (GR678086) go right at the footpath sign to the village recreation ground. Pass the new Village Hall on your left and keep on ahead along the track at the side of the football field emerging at a bend in a lane (GR676090). Go ahead, passing Slay Pitts Farm on the left, to reach a T junction. Go straight across Epworth Road to the wide clear track opposite. Follow this, turning left, right and then left on to a track to the A614 with the M18 beyond.
Turn right along the road and just before the prison on the right turn left to cross the motorway on a farm bridge. After crossing the bridge turn right on the track towards the M18/M180 intersection.As the track begins a left curve round the intersection turn onto the track coming in from the left and follow this to a crossroads of tracks (GR106664).Turn right and as the track approaches a pumping station with another track coming in from the right bear left alongside the pumping station. As the Stainforth pit spoil heap looms ahead.
PERMANENT ROUTE DIVERSION. Following a major slip in 2013 the tip has been reconstructed and the original route diverted. After crossing the railway bridge turn immediately right and proceed north-eastwards for about 500m then turn sharp left returning westwards for a further 500m before reaching Kirton Lane.
Turn left towards Stainforth.. The official route continues along the road into Stainforth. After passing St Marys Church on the left turn right towards the Stainforth and Keadby Canal and River Don.
A more attractive but unofficial alternative route starts after about 500m just after the bus stop on the left turn right past a short row of houses, then through a gate and across a recreational area taking the footpath on the far side. Turn left and after about 400m turn right onto a metalled lane which runs up to the Stainforth and Keadby canal. Turn left along the towpath and proceed into Stainforth passing a convenient watering hole the New Inn.
Stainforth to Thorne.
When Stainforth Bridge (GR121641) is reached turn right over the canal and the river Don. Here the Peatlands Way shares the route with Thorne Round Walk. At the far side of the river bridge take the road for a short distance before taking a footpath on the right up onto the embankment of the River Don turning north-eastwards towards Fishlake.
Approaching Fishlake watch out for the path to the left which runs behind the Anchor Inn on the outskirts of the village. The path then comes out on the village green. Continue on to St Cuthberts Church passing Fishlakes' other pub, the Hare and Hounds on the left. St Cuthberts Church, with its well preserved Norman doorway is well worth a visit if time permits. The route continues by turning right when facing the entrance to the churchyard and following the path back onto the flood bank. At the end of this stretch turn left along an ancient barrier bank top and cross Sour Lane. The route then bears left and right and left again still on the old barrier bank bear left then on to the junction with Wood Lane. At the end of Wood Lane turn right then left and follow the path through to Hangsman Hill and the Jubilee bridge over the River Don. This section, with its well preserved field system, is good for wildlife. Cross the river with care over the narrow road bridge and, whilst the official route goes up to the busy A614 and right into Thorne, crossing the roundabout and continuing back to the Delves fishponds, the official start/finish of the route with Thorne North station opposite.
For a much more pleasant finale turn immediately right over the stile on to the opposite bank. The path drops from the floodbank to the river bank and where it ascends left again cross the stile and turn right along the foot path (alternatively you can continue on the floodbank). Where the footpath meets a road continue ahead past the John Bull pub and a line of houses and, as the track bears left into a house driveway continue ahead on the footpath. After crossing two stiles turn left over a stile (the path from the floodbank comes in from the right at this point) and quickly right over another stile on to a track.The track goes under the motorway, bears left then right around the Sheraton factory and is waymarked across the industrial estate. Where it reaches a T-Junction turn right under the railway bridge and follow White Lane for about 300m before turning left into the Delves Fishponds, the end of the route.
Links to/from the Trans-Pennine Trail.
To Kirk Bramwith
After crossing the two Stainforth Bridges bear left on the flood bank or take the waymarked loop to the right to follow the old course of the River Don (before the famous Dutch water engineer Vermuyden straightened it). Both routes go to the bridge at Kirk Bramwith.
Kirk Bramwith to Fishlake
Turn right along the road and follow it past the turn to the village and church on the right, taking care round the bends, to the bridge over the New Junction Canal. Immediately after the right turn over the bridge gain the footpath on the canal bank (GR618120) and follow this through to the next bridge at Braithwaite. Here the route picks up the Trans Pennine Trail and the next stretch is on the walkers' equivalent of the M1 - a wide, arrow-straight surfaced path with the wide canal on one side and a wildlife haven of marshland and the typical countryside of the drained Humberhead Levels on the other. At Sykehouse Lock (GR638161) cross the swing bridge and go ahead on the short stretch of lane past the lock-keeper's cottage. At the road turn right and continue along it for approx. one mile to Fosterhouses. The road turns right into the village and as it swings left at the end of the village street go ahead on the footpath at the end of the cottages. Go slightly left and continue ahead at a track. At Field House Farm turn right and continue on the road into Fishlake.
Maps used with permission
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