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Real ale ramble no 1

Whiston - Ulley Circular

Walking distances:
Short route: approx. 5 miles (allow 2 to 3 hours walking time )
Long route : approx. 7 miles (allow 3 to 5 hours walking time)
Whiston is reached by buses 100, 125, 126, 129, 150, 263, X6, X26, and X56 from Rotherham, and 208 and 287 from Sheffield.

Starting the walk on Pleasley Road (A618), the first pub encountered is the Chequers, a Mr. Q’s outlet selling Tetley Bitter. Mostly catering for young people, families are welcome in the garden. Lunch time food is served.

Just below this is the Sitwell Arms. Named after a local family, parts of pub date back hundreds of years. Tetley Bitter is also on here, but accompanied by a changing guest beer from the Tapsters range. A restaurant is attached, but good value bar meals are also available at lunch times. At the rear of these two pubs is the historic thatched Manorial Barn on Chaff Lane.

From Chaff Lane, turn left, then immediately right into Turner Lane, past the Post Office and the Golden Ball is on the left. The oldest part of this popular pub is said to date back 500 years. A Good Beer Guide regular and deserved winner of three Rotherham CAMRA Pub of the Season awards. The beer range consists of Tetley Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Draught Bass, and three changing guest beers. Bass is a recent addition following the pub’s sale to Bass Leisure. An extensive menu is available, though, as with the beer, it can be pricey. Both the Sitwell and the Golden Ball have gardens for families.

After refreshment, continue up Turner Lane to the T-junction and turn left at the Green, then take the right fork up Doles Lane. At the top of the rise you can follow the road around to the left to view the outstanding Church of St Mary Magdalene and the Old Rectory, now converted to offices. The walk continues straight ahead as Doles Lane becomes a track. Climb the hill skirting Great Royds Moor and, in about ¾ of a mile, cross over the M1 and continue to the road Morthern Lane. Turn left and, in about 200 yards turn right on to another track known as Stow Bridge Lane. Follow this across the valley until you meet another metalled road; Penny Hill Lane. Go right and follow the lane into Ulley. In about 500 yards turn left into Turnshaw Road, and the Royal Oak is on your right.

Stop here to sample a well earned cheap pint of Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter. This one-time small historic village pub is now much extended, with a separate restaurant. Bar meals are also available. There is also a separate family room, a children’s playground and a service hatch in the entrance way where drinks and food may be ordered for outside consumption. Useful if the conditions underfoot are none too brilliant.

Leaving the Oak, retrace your steps back to the junction, and turn left into Main Street, passing the splendid little parish church on your right. Just past the church take the signed track just before the bungalows. Go over the style and cross the fields and stream to reach Guilthwaite Common Lane, about ¾ of a mile. Turn right on to the road and then take the right turn at the T junction at Upper Whiston. In about 350 yards you reach Doles Lane again and return to Whiston. Alternatively, you can turn left at the T junction and go through Upper Whiston until you reach the A618, where a right turn brings you back to Whiston.

For a longer walk continue along Main Street until you reach a right turn known as Reservoir Road. Take this, and, in about 300 yards, turn right on to a track known as Green Lane towards the Stone Mason’s Quarry. Just before reaching the quarry, take the footpath to the left, cross the field, and link up with the Ulley Reservoir Country Park Trail. After a look around the park you can either return to Ulley via Reservoir Road, or take the opposite direction to the A618. A right turn takes you back to Whiston in about 1.5 miles. Alternatively, buses stop near the Country Park for Whiston and Rotherham.

Once back in Whiston, if you fancy another drink, walk up Pleasley Road to the cross roads and turn right on to West Bawtry Road (A631). After climbing the hill for about ½ a mile you find the “Hind Hotel, a typical 1930’s ‘Mock Tudor’ road house, now owned by Bass. The only real ale is a decent pint of Draught Bass. There is also an extensive, reasonably priced bar menu, and a garden, with children’s play area for families. It is advisable to check the opening times of the pubs before setting off, to avoid turning up at a closed pub, and remember, some of the field sections can be muddy in wet weather, so wear suitable footwear. Happy real ale rambling, Rambling Sid

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