Sally Outram walk: Enjoy a three mile walk around Rother Valley Country Park
Rother Valley Country Park is the perfect family day out, and offers something for everyone.
From action packed activities such as water skiing, kayaking and mountain biking, to a variety of walks for all abilities, and enjoying the vast array of wildlife, flora, and fauna.
The main walking routes are fairly easy to follow, and take you around the lake, but with extra time you can explore further by joining one of the many pathways and tracks which lead off from these.
Wildlife is in abundance where-ever you look, and the reserve provides a rich habitat for a variety of different species of birds, butterflies, and other insects.
If you have a keen eye, you might even spot a kestrel, and during the warmer months grass snakes have been known to make an appearance as they come out of hibernation.
Well-known long-distance multi user route, the Trans Pennine Trail, runs through Rother Valley Country Park, and you can join sections of this as you discover the area.
The trail is a super way to discover urban paths, river, and lakeside tracks with the majority of the paths being flat and accessible.
Water sports are a particularly popular activity at the park, and is also home to the members only, Sheffield and District Jet-Ski club.
However there are plenty of family orientated boating adventures to be enjoyed, such as rowing boats, pedal crafts, mini themed boats, and ships, you can even launch your own paddle board on the main lake, which looks great fun.
The park was officially opened in 1983 specifically to encourage wildlife to return to the area and to provide an oasis for recreational activities.
Most of the park was formed on land which was originally one of the largest open cast coal mines, known as Meadowgate, which was worked between 1976 and 1982, producing over one and a half million tons of high-quality coal.
The artificial lakes were originally filled from The Moss, a brook in North East Derbyshire, as the River Rother was heavily polluted at that time.
The river pollution was intensified as a result of the coal mining in the area during the 1800s and gradually became unable to nurture life.
By the mid-1970s it was one of the most polluted rivers in the region.
Closure of industries enabled the recovery of the river, and by the late 1990s the river was able to sustain life, and fish became plentiful once again.
Bedgreave Mill buildings are a delight to see, the original parts are said to date back to 1100 ad and was one of the very first water powered mills to operate on the River Rother and the River Don.
After many changes throughout its history, the existing mill saw significant changes during the 18th century and boasted a steam engine, which was to replace the traditional water wheel.
The mill became derelict by the late 1960s and was fully restored in 1983 as part of the park’s visitor centre, where you can find a lovely little craft centre, café, and a wonderful little dog bakery, filled with handmade treats galore for your four-legged friends.
Lace up those boots or blow up your water wings.
DID YOU KNOW?
Rother Valley forms an important part of the flood defences for the area, where a series of flood banks and spill ways are strategically placed so as the park can be flooded periodically in a safe and controlled way.
1.Start at the smaller car park behind the mill buildings, where the craft shop, dog bakery and coffee shop/café are located. Facing the lake side take the path to your right, which is directly by the side of the lake.
2.Follow the clearly marked pathway, keeping the lake to your left and woodland to your right, until you reach an intersection of paths. Turn to the right and proceed along the path, still with the lake on your left. You will soon see the full view of the lake and the townscape in the far distance.
3.Continue along until you reach a T-junction in the paths, take the track to the left and follow it along, passing Meadow Gate Lane to your right (there are other routes available to explore from here).
4.Proceed along, following the clear route around the lake. You will see water sport activities to your left, look out for the sailing club, skiing, kayaking and pleasure boating.
5.The path loops around the bottom of the lake, follow this until you reach a wooden fence and gate across the path. Go through the gate, you will see the water sports centre and bar to your left.
6.Continue straight along until you reach the bicycle hire shop, just passed the shop the path forks, cut across to the left and head towards the old mill buildings. Here you will find he dog bakery, café, parking ticket machine and public toilets. I’d suggest enjoying the facilities at the mill before purchasing your car park ticket on exit.
7.The car park and start are directly beyond the mill complex
Distance: 3.2 miles / 5.1km
Gradient: Mostly level
Approx time to walk: 1hr 30mins (allow extra time for exploring)
Maps: OS Explorer 269
Path Description: Clearly marked paths
Start point: Small car-park SK 4534 8281 (behind Bedgreave Mill)
Parking: Various locations around the park – charges apply
Dog friendly: Yes, keep on the lead
Public toilets: Yes, in public service areas