Riverside walks and cruises, pretty meadow views, traditional ice cream vans and country pubs serving welcome refreshment Sprotbrough epitomises all that an English Summer should be. Tucked away deep in the Don Gorge, it is a picturesque village that now covers a large area to the North of Doncaster and is dissected by the A1, splitting the town into two distinct areas. With a total population of around eight thousand the newer part of the village is primarily newly created housing whilst Old Sprotbrough has a myriad of large and tasteful properties hugging the River bank. Sprotbrough Lock is where the River Don joins the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal which links Sheffield with the River Trent.
It has some delightful old properties which nestle around a small junction in the heart of the Old Village. St Mary’s Church stands at the top of the hill that leads to the river and dominates the old part of the village. Dating from 1176 its working clock tower allows commanding views over the Don Valley. Just opposite is The Old Rectory which is allegedly the oldest property in Sprotbrough. It is famous for being the childhood home to Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, the World War II hero who moved here when his mother married the Rector at that time. A few years ago, it was turned into an excellent Bed and Breakfast and until recently housed much memorabilia of the Bader family.
Also on that junction is Sprotbrough Millenium Cross which was sculpted in 2003 by Colin Beale and made from Cadeby limestone. The new with the old blend seamlessly and represent the creation of history by villagers today.
Summertime is when the waters edge in Sprotbrough comes alive. On a pleasant summer’s evening, the wall alongside the river provides seating for walkers enjoying and drinkers from the near by pub who enjoy the idyllic view. On a Sunday, boats are moored at the side of the canal with their occupants enjoying picnics whilst watching the world go by. The Wyre Lady waterbus departs on a Sunday afternoon and winds its way leisurely along the river or the canal either towards Doncaster town or Conisbrough Castle, the setting for the novel Ivanhoe. If you set off on foot along the tow path past the pub, a short walk will lead you to Sprotbrough Flash an expanse of open water created by subsidence from coal mining at nearby Cadeby and Denaby mines. A nature reserve run by The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, it forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail. Here, there are hides for bird and wildlife watching which is home to over sixty regular breeding species. Many wildflowers can be spotted during the different seasons in the meadows and the neighbouring woodland.
Just a short drive or a very peaceful walk away is the village of Cusworth, with whom Sprotbrough share a council. The jewel in Cusworth’s crown is the majestic Cusworth Hall which perches high on a hill surveying Doncaster in the valley below. Built in the 1740s it is now home to The Museum of South Yorkshire Life and has recently undergone a major refurbishment to restore it to its former glory. Its parkland setting is perfect for a visit and teamed with the delights of Sprotbrough you will enjoy a most pleasant few hours. Property in Old Cusworth demands a higher price than that of the newer end of the village but both benefit from the close proximity to the town centre.
There are all the usual village commodities as well as a beauty salon, florist and very well recognised children’s clothes and gift shop. There is an Indian Restaurant that has an enviable reputation within the Doncaster area and a couple of pubs that serve good food. Just behind one of the pubs on the borders of the old village lies the village cricket field where during the summer months the thwack of cork upon willow can be heard whilst you enjoy a boundary side beer or two. It couldn’t get more English than that.
Article reproduced by kind permission of Yorkshire Today
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