Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bradfield: Damflask Reservoir walk

Saturday was another lovely sunny day and once again ideas for places to go were not coming to mind easily.  I'm more than happy with walking  but everywhere I found that I fancied took between 1 and 2.5h to get to on public transport (I hate not having a car sometimes).  Then Bradfield came to mind.  It's only half an hour up the road and not a place we've ever really been exploring at, we've had a quick walk one wet day and been to the pub for tea when we first moved up..... oh and we've  been round it on the bus when we went to Our Cow Molly Farm last year.  But making a day of it, never.

So I got to googling and there are loads and loads of different walks to printout and follow.  I choose the circular walk around Damflask Reservoir as at 3.8 miles it was about right for the boys to either stop for a rest half way or go all the way around in one go.   Another picnic packed and I told the boys we were off on a Famous Five adventure (that's really what it felt like) and even nipped to Morrisons for some Ginger Beer :)

The walk is level and easy to follow (detailed below), taking you through Woodland, around the reservoir and over the dam.  It features some great panoramic views and, aside from a tiny section, stays off the roads.  A lot of the dam is fenced off from the pathways but not all, it really is an ideal walk for children.

The main problem we encountered was it was not conducive to picnicking.  There are benches along the way but the route gets very busy.  We only really found one or two spots suitable for putting a blanket down on the way back but it is all woodland, no flat grassy areas.  We ended up sitting on the lawns outside the village hall watching the cricket, which was lovely.  We then headed to the farmers market (every 3rd Saturday of the month) to get ourselves some fantastic Our Cow Molly Ice Cream

There are public toilets opposite the village hall which, although smelling vile are convenient (and free which seems to be becoming a rarity in most places)

The Walk  (taken from Bradfield Walkers website)

1) Whether driving or taking the bus the starting point for this walk is easy.  Start from the main car park/ bus stop (61/ 62 bus) on The Sands, Low Bradfield.

Public Transport:  The number 61/ 62 bus, operated by TM travel go from/ to Hillsborough and run every half hour alternately.    A single adult ticket is £1.70.

2) From the car park head back along The Sands. The house on the right is Nether Farm built around 1820.

3) Turn left onto Mill Lee Road and then over the bridge onto Smithy Bridge Road, past the bowling green and Cricket Club.

Point of Interest:  Former School.
The houses on the right were formerly Low Bradfield School and the teacher’s house, built in 1867 to replace an earlier building near School Lane which was washed away when the Dale Dike dam burst.

Point of Interest: Ibbotson Memorial Field.
The sports field on the left was given to the village by the Ibbotson family who lived at Burnside House (the large house on the opposite side of the field), and is named after them. It is used today for cricket, bowling and tennis. The village hall is the focus for many activities, including a film club, local history, craft fairs, and farmers’ markets (3rd Saturday of the month).

4) Keep to the right onto Lamb Hill. Continue along the road for about 400 metres, past a track over the bridge on the right and the lane up to the farm on the left. Just before the road rises and swings to the left take the path to the right, through the fence, by the notice boards, and follow the route by the side of the reservoir.

Point of Interest: Smithy Garage.
This building was a blacksmith’s shop until the late 1930's. If you look over the wall after passing the garage, you will see the remains of Low Bradfield Corn Mill. This was a three storey building, built to replace an earlier structure which was washed away in the flood. It burned down in 1940. 

Point of Interest: School Lane.
Although no trace remains today, the original Low Bradfield School, built around 1706, stood near here. The building was completely destroyed in the flood in 1864 but Mr. Nicholls, the headmaster, and his family managed to escape to higher ground by running up the steps opposite the end of the bridge.

5) Continue along by the reservoir passing the sailing club.

Point of Interest: Damflask reservoir.
The reservoir takes its name from Damflask village which stood where the reservoir embankment is today. Early maps show that a corn mill, paper mill, wire mill, public house (the Barrel Inn) and a cluster of houses existed in 1850. The village was almost entirely washed away when Dale Dike dam burst on 11th March 1864, causing the Great Sheffield Flood. Nothing was rebuilt as plans were in place prior to the flood to construct the reservoir.
Damflask reservoir was constructed in 1867 as one of a group of reservoirs in the area built to supply both fresh drinking water and a guaranteed supply of water to the population and industries of Sheffield. It has a capacity of 1,123 million gallons and a maximum depth of 88 feet. Today it is also used by rowing and sailing clubs and for fishing.

6) The path rises up and meets Loxley Road. Turn right and go down the road until you reach New Road which crosses the dam wall. Go along the pavement of New Road across the dam wall.
After crossing the dam there is the dam keeper's house. Immediately after the house take the path on the right, through the hedge and down to the reservoir.

7) Follow the path along the side of the reservoir heading back towards Low Bradfield.
As you reach Low Bradfield cross turn right onto School Lane (take care as the flagstones are uneven and the path can be slippery.) Cross the bridge. Then turn left onto Lamb Hill and return to the Village. Retrace your steps back to the car park or bus stop.

Point of interest:  Great Sheffield Flood 1864.
Around 250 people lost their lives as the flood water from the Dale Dike dam tore down the Loxley Valley and into Sheffield, but there was only one fatality in Low Bradfield village. A one day old baby, the child of Joseph Dawson, the village tailor, was washed from its mother’s arms as she struggled to escape the rising waters. 


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