Packhorses once crossed high moorland to bring salt to Yorkshire from the brine springs of Cheshire. This circular walk following part of their route starts at the village of Bolsterstone, nearly 1,000 feet above sea level between the Stocksbridge and Ewden Valleys.
1. Mysterious stones
Park carefully in Bolsterstone (the name may refer to two pillow-shaped stones in the churchyard). From the church, take Heads Lane, to the right of the village hall. The lane is one of the routes by which salt was carried across the Pennines; it links with other routes running both north and south.
2. The old quarry
At a gate, go through and continue along the track, which bends left in a walled section by a waymarked post and right to pass Salt Springs Farm. The name refers to the salt route and also possibly to mineral springs in the area. As the track bends left, turn right over a stone stile into Millstones Wood; millstone grit was quarried here and some of the circular shapes can be found in the wood, abandoned before they were dressed. A meandering path emerges at a surfaced track; turn left to a gate on to a road.
3. Follow the toll road
Turn left and follow the road to a T-junction. Turn right on the former toll road, constructed in 1771 on the line of former pack routes. Go straight on at a junction, signed Midhopestones. After a rise, go left on a bridleway; before the second gate turn right, down a walled track, through two gates and bending right, to a road in Midhopestones. Turn right.
4. Reservoir views
After the church, take a stile (footpath sign) to the right; go through a second stile and beside the cottage to a gate. Cross on to Oaks Lanes, signed Bolsterstone. Pass a sign for Underbank Reservoir and continue uphill. Go right on a signed track, winding through a farmyard. Go through two gates and straight ahead, following the wire fence, going through two ‘Access Land’ gates. At a track turn right, then left at the lane.
5. Mucky by name…
At a junction, turn right on a signed track, Mucky Lane, leading to moorland. Follow the wall on the left, then bend left, going uphill to farm buildings. Turn left through the gate and follow the lane back to Bolsterstone.
Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.
HOW TO GET THERE
Start at Bolsterstone, 9 miles north-west of Sheffield on a minor road off the A6103. Stagecoach bus 21 (Barnsley to Penistone) runs twice hourly (once an hour on Sundays).
FIND OUT MORE
0114 221 1900
Ye Olde Mustard Pot
Midhopestones S36 4GW
Traditional country pub with flagged floors, oak beams and open fire places, with restaurant and bar meals with rooms available, too.