Saturday, 14 November 2020

A Walk to Spa Farm

An escarpment of Mexborough Rock at Spa Farm

Starting my exploration of the Mexborough Rock in Treeton at my house on Wood Lane, which is one of a terrace built in Rotherham Red sandstone for employees of the colliery, I walked along Front Street past St. Helen’s church, which is at the centre of Treeton Conservation Area, until I reached the T-junction with Station Road and Well Lane.
My Rotherham Red sandstone house

To the left, Station Road winds down the escarpment of Treeton Rock but I instead turned right into Well Lane, which runs down the dip slope of this geological formation and the overlying Middle Pennine Coal Measures Formation strata, and carried on down until I reached a shallow vale, where the railway line from Treeton Colliery once crossed.

Views down Well Lane

Before the River Rother was diverted and coal mining and associated tipping completely changed the landscape around the village, old Ordnance Survey maps mark wells and pumps in several places on this road, but no signs of these are now visible and without much of interest to see here, I quickly walked up Bole Hill.
A map of Treeton in 1850

Passing a row of Rotherham Red sandstone terraced and semi-detached houses, which were built at the end of the C19, I stopped to quickly photograph a house dating to 1655, which has some interesting architectural details – including a miniature canted oriel-bay-window and an original stone tile roof.

A C17 house on Bole Hill

At the end of the village, just past the row of houses that turn at a right angle to Bole Hill, I followed the public footpath that heads straight up across the Mexborough Rock ridge and which, I have subsequently learned, is believed to be part of a Roman road that ran from Navio to Littlebrough – connecting the lead mines in Derbyshire to the River Trent.

The public footpath to Spa Farm

This path is also used by farm vehicles and, except to take few photographs of the landscape – which includes several examples of scarp and vale topography - I just made my way up to the top of the hill without stopping.
A view towards Treeton

Apart from taking a diversion from the path, to see if I could see any evidence of the old quarry from the top of Bole Hill Plantation – and finding only a fireplace made of fragments of Rotherham Red sandstone and a brick from one of the terraced houses that once existed next to Long Lane - I carried on along the path towards Spa Farm.
A fireplace
From conversations with friends in the village, I was aware that flint tools had been made in various places around Treeton and that other archaeological finds had been made in the area, but I didn’t notice anything in the ploughed land as I walked past.

The stile overlooking Spa Farm

As a geologist, I was more interested in the steep escarpment that becomes immediately apparently, when the path turns at 90 degrees before crossing a stile and descending steeply at an angle to Spa Farm.
A general view of Spa Farm

This distinctive topographical feature relates to the Spa Fault, one of a handful of large faults marked on the geological map of the Sheffield region and which is marked immediately to the north-west of the group of buildings that are found here.

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