Walton and the Barnsley Canal: Part 9 – Canal and Reservoir

First Posted at Waterton’s Walton.

Video Transcript:

We begin this part of our Barnsley Canal walk at Blue Bridge, which is the last stone canal bridge before we reach Cold Hiendley Reservoir.

As we turn, we can see that like so many other parts of the canal, this stretch has silted up. As we move the short distance towards the reservoir, the remains of the canal are now on our left.

When the canal was first built, Cold Hiendley Reservoir did not exist. At that time water levels were regulated a bit further away via Wintersett Reservoir.

The canal was fed from Wintersett via a channel on what is now the north side of Cold Hiendley. The upper dam at the Wintersett Reservoir can be seen here, as viewed from the lower dam of Cold Hiendley. The channel would have ran to the left of where the water ends now.

I believe that the position where that channel entered the canal is represented by this structure here. To get to it, instead of crossing the footbridge to the reservoir you turn left. The structure is just up-ahead next to the railing. As we can see, it’s made of stone.

If this is indeed where the channel emptied into the canal then we should find evidence of a channel up ahead. Let’s go take a look. There, lo and behold we have the channel, and it runs parallel to the reservoir that’s just beyond the bushes on the far bank. Looking back down the channel towards the canal we can once again see the railing.

We now move on towards the reservoir itself.

The bridge to the reservoir crosses a point where water still flows out of the reservoir towards the location of the old canal. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s the concrete channel running from the reservoir. Water runs downwards to the canal level. The canal would have run somewhere down there.

We’re now on the bank that acted as the reservoir’s dam. This also separated it from the canal which would have been located behind the dam just beyond the line of trees and bushes on the right hand side.

Up ahead, next to the car, is a concrete circle. We’ll move perpendicular to that towards the location of the old canal. We then come to some steps. You can see some water ahead in the place where I would have expected the canal to have run. Here we find another structure from which water empties in the direction of the canal route.

We’re now looking towards where the canal would have flowed. It’s approximate position would be the point where the grass meets the brown soil of the field beyond.

We then come to another point where water once again flows from the reservoir towards the location of the canal. Again there is clear evidence of a channel. And now back to the canal side, where the canal once again becomes clearly evident.

We finish this section of canal on Cold Hiendley Common Lane. The green signpost points to where the canal route continues


Walton and The Barnsley Canal – The Early Industrial Transport Network Meets Nature’s Village (Part 3)

First posted at Waterton’s Walton.

A video retracing the route of the Barnsley Canal as it made its way though Waterton’s Walton – Nature’s Village, where nature confronted the Industrial Revolution.

The canal that passed through the village has been filled in so you don’t get to see an actual canal in this video. Instead, you get to see the approximate route it took. You do, however, get to recognise the evidence that the canal existed, be that bridges or embankment.

The purpose of this video is to give people an idea of the canal’s course. Hopefully it will help people to visualise it within the contemporary landscape.

You might be wondering what happened to parts 1 and 2. The answer is that they have not been made yet. I plan to make about 10 videos about Walton and the Barnsley Canal and have much of the footage already. That and additional footage still needs to be put together.

This is a provisional outline of the plan:

  • Part 1: Canal and Fish (Introduction and the use of the canal for fishing)
  • Part 2: Canal and Coal (Walton Pit)
  • Part 3: Canal and Village (No Canal Anymore)
  • Part 4: Canal and Soap (Industry in Soap House Yard)
  • Part 5: Canal and Contours (The Lock System)
  • Part 6: Canal and Wall (Charles Waterton’s Nature Reserve)
  • Part 7: Canal and Cutting (Stoneheaps)
  • Part 8: Canal and Barges (Canal Traffic and Cargo)
  • Part 9: Canal and Water (Cold Heindley Reservoir)
  • Part 10: Canal Beyond (Beyond Walton, Towards Royston and the greater network)

Video Transcript:

Part3. In this part I’ll outline the route of the canal as it passed through Nature’s Village. I will point out features that are still there. I will refer to features that have been lost. But what we won’t see is any water. The section of canal that once ran through the village is gone, filled in and, in many respects, forgotten. Some people will be living near it, others on it – perhaps they don’t even know.

We’ve just been looking at our starting point for this section. That’s the location of the bridge that allowed the canal to go under the railway line. The line of light coloured vegetation is useful, because it gives the approximate route of the canal from the bridge. The bridge was about there. Lock 4 was just in front of it.

Here we’re looking down the canal – the canal bridge is behind us. Manor estate, that was just fields at the time of the canal, is on the right. The building on the left is the Lock House.

Lock 6 would have been just on the other side of the fence up ahead. Just in case you were wondering lock 5 was about midway between locks 4 and 6.

This is the Lock House before it’s more recent extension and renovation. This gives a better impression of the ‘Lock House look’. This was, effectively, the lock keeper’s home. There was another lock house, since demolished, further up the canal just before Waterton’s Wall. The role of Lock Keeper involved operating and maintaining the lock and enforcing company rules on canal users.

Here’s the Lock House as it appears today. The canal ran right in front of it and followed a line in front of the fence. It continued to the right following the hedge into the distance before turning towards the left and moving up towards School Lane.

Here’s a view of the canal from the opposite side.

You can see the back of the lock house on the right. From this side the canal was behind where the fence is now. As we pan left the canal banking can be seen just below the line of bushes. Lock 7 would have been situated behind the line of bushes to the right of the yellow slide. As it turns left you can see the next canal bridge, with School Lane in the background.

This is the view from the bridge looking back down our route. Here, you can see the line of bushes running back down towards the Lock House, giving an indication of the canal’s route back towards the railway.

This is the location of lock 9. The canal then ran behind the Village Hall which you can just make out here. Behind the allotments, you can once again see the canal embankment just in front of the red coloured houses. The canal followed the line of houses, curling round towards the Walton Club playing fields. Here’s a look from a slightly different angle. Lock 9 would have been located somewhere in the vicinity of the white triangle.

Just behind the white hut you can once again see the canal embankment. Here’s a closer look from Walton Club playing fields. And once again from behind Walton Club itself. The stone houses in the background are built on top of what was once Lock 10.

We now move on to the next canal bridge – Soap House Bridge. This was the bridge that took the canal under Shay Lane. Looking up Shay Lane we can see the location of the bridge that took the canal under the road. And the same looking down Shay Lane. Here we can see the location of lock 11 after which the New Inn restaurant is named.

That concludes part 3. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video, and can now visualise the position of the old Barnsley Canal when you are out and about in Walton.

Oh, is that the New Inn, I think I’ll just pop in for a pint….

Walton – Nature’s Village – Where Nature Confronted the Industrial Revolution


A Rail Journey Through Walton

The following video is a rail journey (Class 31 cab ride on 27 September 2000) from Oakenshaw North to Royston Station going through Walton, including the location of the old Walton Station (also called Walton and Sandal Station). Thanks to Michael Kaye for drawing my attention to this amazing footage. You might want to also view my earlier post about Walton’s railway infrastructure.

As a person from Walton, watching this was amazing. It was like travelling on a fairground ride that went through familiar locations.

It was hard to see things out of the peripheral vision, but did notice the following (time stamps included so people know approximately when to look for key features):

  1. Oakenshaw Viaduct (2:09)
  2. Chevet Terrace near the old Walton Pit (can see it on the left from about 2:10-2:40)
  3. The bridge down near Chevet Terrace / Woodyard (2:55)
  4. Manor Estate (first glimpse on left around 2:56, can see houses on Manor Crescent at 3:33)
  5. School Lane bridge (3:58, can see, on the right, the black wall between the newer and older bridges at about 4:01)
  6. The new(ish) Stables Estate next to the recreation ground/Walton Park (4:10 on left)
  7. The old Walton Station location (around 4:11, with some of the Greenside building on the right from 4:22)
  8. Shay Lane Bridge (4:38)
  9. “Tin Bridge” (5:02)
  10. Spoil heap from Chevet Tunnel (5:10 on right)
  11. Chevet Tunnel area (from about 5:31)
  12. Chevet Tunnel Foot Bridge (6:32)

It is great to see familiar locations from such an unfamiliar angle.

Michael informs me that the number of tracks on the line was reduced due to the collapse of a viaduct within the embankment (buried at the time of widening the route). As rail traffic tailed off by that time (1982) there was no attempt to remedy the situation.

There are also some interesting comments with the video on YouTube. If you liked the video you might want to go to it on YouTube and give it a thumbs up.

Walton – The Village Where Nature Confronted The Industrial Revolution


Which Way Now! Walton’s Historic Fingerpost Sign

In Walton at the intersection of Shay Lane and The Balk there is a small piece of our local historical heritage that often goes unnoticed – the black and white cast iron finger post.  Wikipedia describes these signs as follows:

“The posts have traditionally been made from cast iron or wood, with poles painted in black, white or grey and fingers with black letters on a white background, often including distance information in miles. In most cases, they are used to give guidance for road users, but examples also exist on the canal network, for instance. They are also used mark the beginning of a footpath, bridleway, or similar public path.” (1)

It appears from the article that these signs are related to an important invention of the early 20th century – the motor car. The car transformed villages like Walton, increasing their size and changing their economic basis.  Before cars the people of Walton were employed on local farms or in the coal mine at the edge of the village. Today, the mine is gone, agriculture is much less labour intensive and Walton is a village in which most of its inhabitants commute many miles to earn their living. To a large extent the car made all this possible. Here is what the article says about the impact of the car and other aspects of our history impacting on the signs:

“The Motor Car Act 1903 passed road sign responsibilities to the relevant highway authority, although no specifications were set. Guidance was given in a 1921 circular that road direction signs should have 2 1⁄2-or-3-inch-high (64 or 76 mm) upper case lettering on a white background and white supporting poles. It also recommended that the name of the highway authority be included somewhere in the design.

Mandatory standards (The Traffic Signs (Size, Colour and Type) Provisional Regulations) were passed in 1933 which required poles to painted with black and white bands and lettering to be of a different typeface. Signposts were removed during World War II, lest enemy forces use them for navigation, and replaced in the late 1940s.” (1)

I’ve not measured the letting on the Walton sign, but it is all upper case, the sign is certainly black and white though the poles do not have alternate black and white bands described – perhaps this has been overlooked in any post war maintenance. The sign does appear to be missing a finger, the one that should point down School Lane. Perhaps they lost this during the second world war while the signs were supposedly in storage – amazing that they did not get melted down!

I am assuming that the highway authority in the case of this sign would be Wakefield RDC (Rural District Council) displayed in the white circle at the top of the sign.

According to another Wikipedia article suggests that were quite unique, though the Walton sign bears no evidence of this:

“Fingerposts erected in the West Riding until the mid-1960s had a distinctive style. At the top of the post was a roundel in the form of a hollow circle with a horizontal line across the middle, displaying “Yorks W.R.”, the name of the fingerpost’s location, and a grid reference.” (2)

There is not “Yorks W.R” and no grid reference on the Walton sign.

At the bottom of the post it says “Royal Label Factory Stratford on Avon” which according to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History (3) was established in 1874 to make signs for Queen Victoria’s Sandringham Estate and later made signs for local authorities across the country. Wakefield Rural District Council was obviously one of its clients. The company survives to this day as Leander Architectural based in Buxton which says the following about the current work of the Royal Label Factory:

“The Royal Label Factory, also based in Buxton, concentrates on traditional signage and retains many of the casting patterns it developed in the 1930s for county and town council signposts and fingerposts. Major elements of the workload also include blue plaques for civic trusts and societies throughout the UK and signs of all kinds for heritage agencies – particularly the National Trust, Historic Scotland and Cadw-Welsh Monuments.” (4)

Royal Labels Factory 2

It is good to see that there is a market for these attractive types of signpost, it would be good to go back to them at least in villages across the county.  They look much better and fit in with their surroundings improving the feel of a place.

Anyway, I’m glad the sign survives as it adds to the character of the village. Here are some more photos of the Walton Fingerpost.

Walton Finger Post Closeup


Walton Finger Post

(1) Fingerpost https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingerpost

(2) West Riding of Yorkshire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Riding_of_Yorkshire

(3) Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Royal_Label_Factory

(4) Leander Architectural http://www.leanderarchitectural.co.uk/about-us.html

Storm Damage

Written on 5 December 2013

Storm damage

Damage from last night’s storm in the UK. A branch from an old horse chestnut tree in the village of Walton, near Wakefield crashes into a car on Shay Lane.  I spoke to one of the chaps trying to clear up the mess – apparently the tree has a tree preservation order on it.  It would appear that Mother Nature thinks otherwise!


Poppy Fields View, Yorkshire

Written on 17 October 2013

I am quite a keen photographer, the following are some photographs that I took a few years ago in my local area.  The fields are different every year according to what crop is grown, etc.  The particular year when these photographs were taken seemed to cause poppies to grow.  I have not seen anything similar either before or since. I thought I would take this opportunity to showcase these vividly colourful photographs on my blog.

Poppy Field 1

Poppy Field 2

Poppy Field 3

Poppy Field 4

Poppy Field 5

Poppy Field 6

Poppy Field 7

Poppy Field 8

Poppy Field 9