Grand halls, parks and sculpture of South Yorkshire in autumn’s glory

Jem Finer Spiegelei Yorkshire Sculpture Park Cannon Hall Park Autumn

We have just returned from a weekend in South Yorkshire which was looking stunning in autumn sunshine.

Not quite Peak District, not quite Yorkshire Dales, the hills and valleys west of Barnsley around Penistone are just as stunningly beautiful for walking and cycling. While Yorkshire attracts a lot of visitors this area doesn’t often feature in popular itineraries. And on this trip we were treated to some of the halls and grounds that were built in the 18th and 19th centuries as industrial revolution riches flowed into the area.

When the Tour de France Stage 2 passes by in July 2014 it will pass just 5km from some of these scenes after the riders climb Holme Moss.  I hope the aerial photography does it justice.  I guess there will be many cyclists coming just to spend a day on the roadsides, I hope this post prompts some of you to make more of a trip of it. Or I could cynically predict that some will be seeking places to send their significant other while they get their cycling fix. If so they won’t be disappointed.

One of my personal favourite places to visit in the area is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I’ll call myself a bit of a modern art sceptic but put these pieces in the grand scale of over 500 acres of rolling Yorkshire landscape and they seem transformed. I have been there in the chilly depths of winter but this time it was autumn colours that blended well with the dark stone and metal of the sculptures by the famous names such as Henry Moore and Anthony Caro.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2 Yorkshire Sculpture Park Henry Moore Reclining Figure Henry Moore Yorkshire Sculpture park James Turrell Deer Shelter Skyspace Yorkshire Sculpture Park Anthony Caro Promenade Yorkshire Sculpture park Bretton Hall Yorkshire Sculpture Park Anthony Gormley One and Other figure Yorkshire Sculpture park

Even if at least one family member thought the tea was more important than the art he went away satisfied too, while we all had a great walk.

The previous day was Cannon Hall Country Park. Here the attraction was walled gardens and leafy glades which looked out over the lawns and hills. From 1757 some of the best surveyors, landscapists and gardeners were hired to create a spectacular setting for the Hall, much of which remains today. It has a museum, children’s play areas, gardens, lakes and extensive walks so something for everyone.

Cannon Hall Barnsley Cannon Hall in Autumn Barnsley Autumn Oak Tree Cannon Hill Park Autumn Cannon Hall Park Barnsley

And a final mention should go to the smallest of our halls. Cubley Hall on the edge of Penistone was our hotel for the weekend. This former gentleman’s residence has some nice original features and lovely views, a very comfortable base camp for our gathering. Could be one to book up for the Tour if it isn’t already block booked.

Cubley Hall Penistone Cubley Hall Penistone 2