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Walton Hall - Waterton's Wall

Charles Waterton's Wall
The Wall that Charles built. A section of the eastern side.

Map showing Walton Park Wall
The Wall that Charles built around Walton Park. Not all of the estate was within the wall.

The wall was originally built by Charles Waterton to protect the wildlife inside Walton Park (Waterton Park). The park is recognised as being the first nature reserve of modern times. Building of the wall around Walton Park began in 1821 and was completed in 1826. The cost - a very sizeable amount in those days - was £9,000. For the relative value of the cost of the construction in 2010 click here.


'There was now a thick stone barricade, three miles long, and sometimes as much as sixteen feet high, separating the park from the landscape that surrounded it. The wall had taken over four years to build, and had cost Waterton £9,000; money which he could hardly afford, but which said he had saved by not drinking wine all his life.'
(Charles Waterton 1782 - 1865, Traveller & Conservationist, Julia Blackburn, 1989.)


'His management, or in rigid truth, I ought to say mismanagement of money in any and every form, was unexceptionally anomalous; and, I trust, without incurring severe or even merited censure, I may add, that it was somewhat savouring of the last rather than of the present century. For instance, many years ago, he determined to encircle his park by a very high and substantial stone and mortar wall; but as he himself observed, "I had then no loose cash in my drawer with which to meet so indefinite, and in all human probability, so large an expenditure, and although never reputed to be needle-witted in the aquirement of pounds, shillings and pence, yet I trust that I had sufficient mother wit and inborn honesty in my composition to prevent my ever ordering anything for the payment of which I should have had to borrow the amount; and catch me directing or authorising any thing to be done that I can't pay for." ....... Notwithstanding Mr. Waterton's inaptitude and generally undisciplined mode as regarded the management of money, and its yielding or unyielding business-like returns, yet in detailed expenditure and receipts no one could be more acutely sensitive or accurate.'
Extract from Charles Waterton : His Home, Habits and Handiwork, pp. 293-297, by Richard Hobson, M.D., Cantab., Leeds, MDCCCLXVII, Second, enlarged edition. Published by London: Whittaker & Co., Simpkin, Marshall & Co.. Leeds: H.W. Walker and John Smith. The 1st edition was published in 1866.

The section of wall running between the golf club house and the golf course was demolisdhed by the golf club in 2004.
In a Wakefield Council letter dated 24th September 2004, it was stated that a recommendation would be made to the Planning & Highways Committee that a Listed Building Enforcement Notice be issued to restore the historic wall to its original state.
The Wakefield Express reported on this issue, the council flexed its muscles and the wall was not restored.

Click to enlarge The golf course viewed from the direction of the club house and The Park Grill.

A public footpath crosses the bridge over the Barnsley Canal and the Trans Pennine Trail runs along the old tow path.
The remains of the wall are visible to the right of the bridge.

The golf course is, of course, situated in a magnificent setting, and there is still wildlife to be seen. Public footpaths cross parts of the golf course.

Click to enlargeThe Waterton Park Golf Course Club House and Walton Hall Bridge over the Barnsley Canal.
There is easy access to the golf course from the club house via a wooden footbridge across the canal.
[9th January 2010]

Click to enlarge The wall near Walton Hall Bridge; later, this section was reduced almost to ground level.
[21 Oct 2000]

Click to enlargeThe same section of wall as shown to the left, shortly after the demolition.
[Photograph 28 Feb 2004]

Click to enlarge Walton Hall viewed across Waterton Park Golf Course from the Trans Pennine Trail near Lock 15,
the summit of the Barnsley Canal. This the section of the historic wall that was demolished.
[20 May 2004]

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Click to enlarge
The wall where it separates Waterton Park and Haw Park. The track is an extension of Haw Park Lane from Anglers Countrypark and forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail spur to Anglers Country Park.
[02 May 2004]
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View towards the Stoneheaps Cutting of the Barnsley Canal.
[02 May 2004]
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View across a field of oilseed rape of the southern stretch of the wall. Photographed from Haw Park Wood.
[04 May 2010]
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A group of ramblers heading towards Stoneheaps from Haw Park wood.
[20 Jan 2011]
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A tyre dump, hidden in a small depression between the golf course and the ruins of the wall on the eastern side of Waterton Park between Stubbs Piece and Haw Park.
[04 Jul 2010]
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Much of the wall is in ruins or missing on the eastern side of Waterton Park. A view towards Anglers Country Park photographed from the public footpath on the edge of the golf course.
[21 June 2010]
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The Eastern Gate. A track, linking Walton Hall and Crofton via Hare Park, used to pass through this gate. The Squire used the track to visit a Catholic neighbour in Crofton. Nowadays the footpath from Walton Hall heads along the outside of wall at this point in both directions, heading south to Anglers Country Park and north to Shay Lane at Brooklands.
[08 April 2011]
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The wall on the eastern (Crofton) side of Walton Hall.
Photographed from the public footpath that links Shay Lane at Brooklands with Anglers Country Park and the footpath into Waterton Park.
[November 2000]
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Part of the northern section of the wall, view towards Drain Beck. The beck both feeds and drains Walton Hall lake. Photographed on farmland outside the wall.
[21 June 2010]
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Large sections of the wall have vanished over the years, or are in ruins. This section is on the 'hilly fields', i.e. eastern, side of the estate.

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