Hooton Panel is a delightful village with a fair claim to being one of the loveliest in South Yorkshire.
Surrounded by rolling fields and woods, a network of centuries-old enclosed green roads makes it a fine starting point for a walk. It is an estate village mostly belonging to Hooton Pagnell Hall with links to an old Norman family, the Paganels. A royal charter in 1253 allowed it to hold markets, and the base of the old buttercross still stands in the main street. Part of the route uses the course of the railway line which ran from Frickley Colliery. Although not a public right of way, it is well used by walkers. Note that some rights of way across fields have been ploughed over. Field edges may be used. Look out for bullfinches, goldfinches, sparrowhawks and common buzzards.
1. From the village centre walk south, passing the church and the imposing entrance to Hooton Pagnell Hall. Immediately past this, on the right, cross a stile and descend steps. The public footpath crosses a large field, keeping to the right of a small wood in the middle, and continues through Mapple Yard Plantation. Keep on this straight line on the other side to meet a road.
2. Turn right and at a bend go left on a signposted path towards Hooton Pagnell Wood. Swing left here to follow the woodland edge on a path which eventually follows field edges and crosses another field, bearing left towards a large gap in the hedge.
3. Turn left on Elmsall Lane, walk past Moorhouse Lane and continue down a slope to turn sharp right and follow the old Frickley railway line. Just past overhead lines turn right and follow a path round the side of Moorhouse Grange Farm to emerge through a hedge gap on Moorhouse Lane. Turn left and walk past Moorhouse Equestrian Centre.
4. Turn right onto a track called Stanwell Lane. Cross a narrow tarmac lane called North Field Road and continue ahead on an obvious path across a field. This leads to another path with a hedge on the left, leading to an enclosed green lane called Lenny Balk. Turn left for a short distance then right to join another green lane called Old Street.
5. Follow Old Street south, passing Hampole Wood on the left. Beyond another green lane, Broad Balk, Old Street becomes Lound Lane. At a signposted crossroads of paths turn right to follow the arrow-straight Narrow Balk westwards. At the end go left then quickly right to follow an access road back to Hooton Pagnell’s main street.
Difficulty rating: 1 star
Distance: 5 1/2 miles
Time: 2 1/2 hours
Map: OS Explorer 278 (1:25000) Sheffield & Barnsley
Parking: Responsible street parking in Hooton Pagnell, 1 1/2 miles south of South Elmsall on B6422.
Public transport: Hooton Pagnell is on the 203 route between Doncaster and Wombwell and the 303 Doncaster-South Elmsall. Info on www.travelsouthyorkshire.com or phone 01709 515151.
Refreshments: Hooton Pagnell, South Elmsall.
Toilets: For refreshment customers.