I don’t know how long it is going to be available to us, but if Banks’ application to opencast the Moss Carr site for coal is successful, then you can forget this walk for up to five years thereafter. Banks’ say three years and three months with diversions to the perimeter rights of way, this on a site larger than their existing Methley South site.
It has always been THE walk in this village of many walks, so I commend as many as possible to make a final pilgrimage should the planning application succeed. For those who can’t make it you could follow this…..
We start at the cricket field and hoof it up Woodrow Hill to Oulton Lane, its the worst part of the walk with oncoming traffic, however there are compensating views, including Tommy Lane and the woods on the left and the fleet beck vista on the right.
Lost is the attractive gamekeepers cottage which is now access to the private hospital. Another feature to note is the intensive growth of the hedgerows which have now to be cropped mechanically, due no doubt to the increased use of fertilisers – good for the birds and the hedgehogs.
You could leave the road behind by taking the track to Clumpcliffe farm and following the footpath along the ridge.
However I choose the later left turn at the bridleway sign and push on up the hill along the side of the Hugh Calverley sports field created at very great expense by the coal contractor following a donation of the land from the Calverley family.
Near the top we negotiate a copse which appears to have grown around a stone outcrop cum quarry. The new signposts for the Leeds Countryside walk direct us on to a narrow footbridge across a drain and a direction sign indicating Newmarket Colliery on the right, and the route we take, Hungate to the left. Walking towards the treeline and on we skirt the woods which bring back memories of this peaceful sylvan walk which had the remains of the cast iron fence and also had a couple of stiles – long since gone. What is new is the view of the long stretch of the M62 from junction 30 and its associated noise.
A back look on reaching Hungate still provides an evocative view up the treeline which will be lost even to thousands of west bound motorists on the M62 should opencast planning be approved . Still to be appreciated is the gentle walk along Hungate lane with its farm and cottages showing little change over the years.
Into view is Scholey Hill (although the sign says Watergate) and the Mexborough Arms should you need refreshment. (Sadly the Mexborough Arms is no longer with us)
The last furlong is along Park Lane with the Lawn Pond and plantation in view to the left. Here the arable fields interspersed with park trees offer an unchanging view despite the many changes in farming that have taken place. Journeys end is the cricket field, a good time to commence the walk is Saturday afternoon offering the opportunity to spend a couple of hours enjoying the sound of leather on willow and murmur of intelligent cricket commentary from some of the watchers.
January 2006 – We have walked the course now in November and New Years Day 2006, and a word of warning to would be walkers. A 400 metre section of the walk has been relaid following mining operations and the land drainage is still far from working. My advice is to avoid the outer walk until, say May/June and some dry conditions.
Boxing Day 2009 – A good time to walk is on crispy snow laid on a carpet of ice. No mud on boots and really fresh weather conditions. An Irish whiskey with half of guinness in the Mexborough Arms makes it even more pleasurable. Beware compacted ice on the side roads.
February 2012 – Dry conditions enable the walker to make good progress starting at the Hungate entrance with just slight muddy sections. Footprints indicate plenty of usage.