Route audited: 24th April 2017
““In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Warncliffe Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here were fought many of the most desperate battles during the Civil Wars of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws, whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song” – Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe.
The route described here is the shortest known viable route between Sheffield and Doncaster along the Don Valley. It is possible to get from Sheffield to Doncaster on the Trans-Pennine Trail, but it is a longer way round via the Dearne Valley.
From Doncaster Station as you leave turn right and take St Sepulchre Gate West to Cleveland St at which point you should dismount and walk along until you reach Roberts Rd, on the other side of the railway bridge. Turn left onto Littlemoor Lane, and you are on a signed cycle route which you follow straight until you reach your first route choice at Balby – to take to the Trans-Pennine Trail or continue by road. The TPT is an interesting scenic ride. This section is not suitable for tricycles but is manageable on a tandem or with a trailer.
If you choose the TPT route, take the signposted right turn and follow the track along the side of a playing field, and then take the rough track (with care!) down to the River Don which you cross on a converted railway bridge and continue straight for about another half mile, before doubling back to the right and down to the river. The TPT was resurfaced in early 2017 and now has tarmac from Sprotborough through to Pastures Rd. Take the trail to the former Earth Centre at Conisbrough, now a children’s outdoor centre, and go down the off-ramp to the left. Cross the river via the Don Bridge entrance and, leaving the car park, turn right onto the A6023 for a short time. (If you need a tea break, go left on the A6023 instead and follow the signs to Conisbrough castle. There is a cafe at the old castle lodge.) Just before the level crossing at Denaby Main turn left and follow this minor road through Old Denaby to the B6090, turn left then first right to the A630 (T), turn r. and proceed with care towards Thrybergh.
If you are stuck for time at Balby, continue on the road towards Warmsworth. You will emerge from Tenter Lane and turn left onto Mill Lane, reaching the A630 (T) shortly thereafter. Turn right here and you are heading for Rotherham.
There is now an alternative route using the viaduct at Conisbrough: Continue along Mill Lane and then right onto Erdington Lane. Take Warmsworth Halt on the right – the trail commences at the end. Once over the viaduct, turn left to continue on the TPT towards Conisbrough.
The A630 is mostly not too bad for a trunk road apart from a short section at Thrybergh which is 60 mph. If you feel intimidated by fast traffic take to the pavement – there’s unlikely to be anyone about and if the authorities can’t be bothered to protect you it is my view that you have the right to protect yourself.
A chance for a cup of tea and a sticky bun here, Thrybergh Country park has a cafe popular with cyclists. This is on the A630(T) opposite the junction with Carr Lane, where our TPT option rejoins the road route.
To continue towards Sheffield on the National Cycle Network, cross the roundabout with care and continue on the dual carriageway towards Rotherham. About one mile from the roundabout turn right onto Shakespeare Rd, then left onto Eldon Rd, look out for a path past a playground on r. which will take you to a bridge firstly over the River Don, then another over the South Yorkshire Navigation over which you will have to carry your bike. Once over continue towards & through Rotherham to Tinsley viaduct (you can’t miss it.) Welcome to one of the mostly highly polluted areas in the UK. This section is not suitable for tricycle, tandems or trailers. We suggest this route because there is no right of way along the canal to Aldwarke Lane (A6123) although it is possible to take this option.
For an alternative on-road route, take the first left , at the Thrybergh roundabout, Herringthorpe Valley Road, and the first right onto Doncaster Rd. Follow to Doncaster Gate and High St (you may have to dismount in some sections) Turn left on Westgate, then right onto Sheffield Rd. Follow through to Tinsley.
(You pass the Magna centre on your right) Just before Tinsley M1 Junction 34 we would recommend that you take the track leading to the canal (recently furnished with access controls to make it that bit more difficult to get to) and follow the towpath underneath the viaduct, even if you intend to return to the road on the other side, which you can do easily.
From Tinsley there are three main options for continuing to the city centre :-
(A). You can use the Sheffield Canal towpath all the way into the city.The canal towpath is narrow in places, unlit, rough in places and muddy in all but the driest weather. Follow the towpath for 1.2 miles from Tinsley viaduct, where you will be directed to cross to the opposite bank by the Sheffield Arena and onto the road. Turn left and head back along the road away from Sheffield for 50 yards, then left again down a short little track to regain the towpath. This little loop will avoid using the steps to get back to the canal. From here the track deteriorates and there are a couple of squeezes under narrow bridges between Attercliffe and Victoria Wharf. 3.2 miles after leaving Tinsley you will pass under the Cadman Street bridge, and then the railway viaduct. Under the viaduct, follow the signs through a small doorway in the wall onto Blast Lane. The towpath beyond this point is part of the Victoria quays development. Turn right on Blast Lane and follow the red tarmac cycle path towards Park Square roundabout and the city centre. Follow Sustrans NCN6/627 signs from here.
(B) The Five Weirs Walk cycle/pedestrian route is a generally faster and more pleasant way, but does have some road crossings and a short section of on road cycling. From the canal towpath at Tinsley, cross the pedestrian/cycle bridge over the railway track and the river. Cross the tram tracks by the level crossing, then turn right on the red tarmac cycle path.
Follow this to where it divides, taking the right hand fork under the road bridge. The path runs parallel to the river and crosses Weedon Street, then turns left on to Carbrook St. Just before the junction with the main road, turn right to follow the cycle path on the pavement. This crosses Milford St and then Janson St. Follow the pavement cycle path along Janson St, then left on Bold St. After 150 yards, turn right on the cycle path and cross the river by the footbridge. The 5WW is easy to follow from here, it crosses Newhall Rd, Stevenson Rd and East Coast Rd.
The stretch between East Coast Rd and the next bridge on Attercliffe Rd (Washford Bridge) closes in the evening so you may need to follow the yellow diversion signs. The trail temporarily leaves the river and emerges on Warren St. Go straight across Leveson St and follow the signs along the walkway, across the Bailey Bridge and along the the shared use pavement to the amazing Cobweb Bridge which passes under the railway arch. Follow the final section of the walk to Blonk St, turn right and use the shared use pavement to the traffic lights. Turn left and use the bus gate to reach Waingate & the City Centre.
In either direction using the 5WW and Cobweb bridge is the quietest and most interesting way.
(C) (Update July 2015 – this route is currently blocked at the former Stadium)
(this route recommended for cyclists who wish to avoid the City Centre and continue heading south) the bike route which starts at the new road bridge at Broughton Lane, via the Stadium and Arena. This will take you as far as Woodbourn Road, and you have to take to the road here along Cricket Inn Rd (another option for the City Centre is to park your bike at Nunnery park’n’ride secure parking, and take the tram) Once at City Centre cross Park Square by the pedestrian bridge (technically a dismount – improvements are planned to this route) If you’re continuing south take Bernard St >> Talbot St >> Shrewsbury Rd which will bring you out at Granville Square to the south of the station – beware tram tracks.
(D) If you wish to keep to the road, the A6109 to the North of Meadowhall is straight and fast (the traffic is fast too) , whilst the A6178 is slower and more congested.
For Sheffield University, from the Markets take Queen St, first left and then right onto Campo Lane – it’s a marked cycle route. This will bring you up to Townhead St which you should cross and go up Trippet Lane which will bring you up to University precincts. If you are heading towards Hillsborough stay on Queen St and you can use the West Bar Green Cycle Crossing to Scotland St.
For the Moor take Pond St, Paternoster Row and follow the cycle route signs.
To get around Park Square off-road take a look at this map:-