Don Gorge

4.5 mile stretch of land which runs alongside the river don, that is full of wildlife and picturesque views.
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ABOUT DON GORGE


The Don Gorge is an area of outstanding natural beauty, located along a stretch of the River Don, just west of Doncaster, along the A1(M) motorway in the east to Conisbrough Viaduct in the west. The gorge is formed of deep limestone cliff faces, formed over thousands of years by the receding ice flows of the last ice age. The gorge is located around 17 miles (27km) from Sheffield city centre, close to Conisbrough Castle, and it spans approximately 4.5 miles (7km).
 
A walk through the Don Gorge only takes around 1.5 hours, and there is much to see. There is a fish pass, which has helped reintroduce wild salmon and eels to the river. Sheffield apprentices once ate salmon every day, as there was such a rich population in the waters, but these fish disappeared soon after the Industrial Revolution. Recent development and environmental protections have drastically reduced pollution today, however, and the river is once again filled with wildlife.
 
Also along the gorge trail are the remains of the abandoned hamlet Levitt Hagg, a tiny village that once quarried limestone. Conisbrough Castle is believed to have been constructed with limestone from Levitt Hagg. Most of the former buildings were cleared in the 1950s, but some lime kilns still remain today.
 
Conisbrough Viaduct was built in 1906 as a railway bridge, carrying passenger trains until 1951, before fully closing in 1966. With 14 arches to the north and 7 to the south, it was built with around 15 million bricks. The walking trail now goes over the viaduct, 116 feet (35 metres) above the river, offering a spectacular view of the area: Conisbrough Castle to the left; and the rest of the Don Gorge back towards Doncaster visible on the right.
 
The final part of the walk goes through Sprotbrough Flash Nature Reserve. This area was created as a result of mining subsidence in 1924, when part of the land collapsed and flooded, turning it into a wetland rife with wildlife. In 1984, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, along with Doncaster Council, opened the area as a dedicated sanctuary for wild animals. Many bird species can be spotted here, including kingfishers, herons, tawny owls, and buzzards. Hares, deer, mink and foxes have also been spotted here, along with various rare butterflies, dragonflies and plant life. There are multiple viewing hides, where visitors can observe the wildlife from a respectful distance.
 
Don Gorge Community Group, a registered charity, acts to protect, conserve and improve the area’s physical and natural environment.
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