This is a description of a walk around Darton and the surrounding area, including the village of Haigh, illustrated by photographs.

To see larger versions of the photographs, just click on the thumb nails.

The town of Darton and the village of Haigh, including Bretton Hall and the course of the River Dearne can be seen on the old map which dates from about 1854. There are also links from this map to the various photographs.


The walk starts at the station ; not far from which is the old school house, not easy to find now, as it is located at the end of a private drive and not very well known. It dating from 1673, the year before Robert Roebuck emigrated to America, but was demolished and rebuilt in 1870. It has recently been converted into a private house, but still has the 1870 inscription and date over the door.

Going under the railway bridge South towards the river you pass the Park on your right . This is where you return from Haigh, via the footpath alongside the river.

Just over the bridge is the old Sunday School built in 1818.

At the end of the road on the right hand corner is the 'old' Vicarage built in 1716 , but now converted into offices.

Across the road from the Vicarage is the magnificent Parish Church of All Saints founded in 1154. Within the Churchyard you will find some Roebuck headstones, but not of Robert the emigrant's ancestors. His father and grandfather were buried there, his parents were married there and he was baptised there, but that was over 350 years ago, and the headstones have not survived.

Mr Percy Featherstone has kindly donated some more photos of the interior of the Church.

From the Churchyard looking North you can, however, still see the hill of Staincross where they lived.

Across the road you pass the 'modern' Council Offices and looking back you can see the main entrance to the Churchyard .

Going up the hill towards Kexbrough you soon cross the busy M1 motorway . Unfortunately the Darton Parsonage, Braithwaite hall, Braithwaite Park and Fox Hall have all had to sacrificed in the name of progress. About 1 mile farther on is the ancient village of Haigh, the ancestral home of Robert's mother Catherine haige's family.

Walking up the hill you get good views over Darton, the Church and Staincross . At the top of the hill, beyond Kexbrough you come to High Hoyland, with more fine views over Cawthorne village and the surrounding countryside .

A public footpath from High Hoyland, to the right takes you across the fields and down to Bretton Hall, with its Sculpture Park and two lakes , which lie in the Dearne valley. Below and at the end of the lower lake the River Dearne cascades down a series of wiers. .

This takes you to the village of Haigh. Before arriving at Haigh, a nice surprising discovery, is a grand old Well, hidden in an overgrown quarry , now with a locked door and a difficult to read inscription above it, dating from 1680. Robert the emigrant may well have played in this quarry as a boy or lived in a house built from its stone, as might his mother's family.

The footpath from Bretton Park soon emerges on Jebb Lane at the village of Haigh. A short distance up the hill is Haigh Hall . Walking down the hill takes you into the ancient village of Haigh located on the River Dearne.

From Haigh the walk follows the river downstream (towards Darton), on the other side of the M1 motorway. The footpath follows the course of the river, between the river and the railway. Along its banks is evidence of the past. The river here is fast flowing and there are ruins of what would have been watermills and bridges. This is the last leg of the walk which brings you back into the village of Darton through the Park .

The walk, itself is about 7 miles in length, but the farthest point of the walk from Darton Parish Church is High Hoyland, which is only about two and a half miles up hill towards the pennines. The village of Haigh is only about 1 mile upstream. The source of the River Dearne is near Denby, in the Pennines on the edge of the ancient graveship of Holme and marked on the Graveship map.

In the 17th century, this area would have been woodland, rich in flora and fauna including wild boar and deer.

Today, refreshments are available, ready cooked, at pubs in Darton, High Hoyland and the 'Post Office' now an Inn just off the M1 motorway junction 38 at Haigh situated between the old and new villages, and not forgetting the award-winning fish and chip shop at the side of the road in Kexbrough (very difficult for hungry walkers to walk past).

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