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Walton Community LibraryViews in and around the southern districts of Walton: Overtown (Upper Town), Highfield Lane, Stoneheaps Plantation and adjacent countryside.
Map of the area as it was in the mid-19th Century, click to enlarge.

Upper Town (or Overtown) as shown on the 1852 Ordnance Survey Map.
The Balk is towards the top of the map, with Highfield Lane* connecting it with Sike Lane.
(* Highfield Lane is shown on the 1852-54 Ordnance Survey map but on the 1893-94 map was shown simply as an extension of as the Balk.)
The Berg Quarry at Overtown was the source of the stone used to build Walton Hall and the wall. The Quarry is sometines referred to as Balk Woods. The name Bergh or Berg, as in the old quarry, is probably connected with the early Lords of Walton, the de Burghs. 
The old North Midland Railway runs north-south on the left of the map, entering the tunnel near the bottom. The line continued in use for testing trains and freight traffic to Monckton Coke and Chemical Works at Royston (now closed).
There is a small wood above the cutting on the eastern side, it was briefly used as a paintball battlefield some years ago.
The disused Barnsley Canal is on the right, this is the stretch from around the canal summit in Walton to just south of Haw Park Bridge at the Stoneheaps Cutting.
The canal summit (Lock 15) is just above Walton Hall Bridge.

Click on the images below to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

A fleeting glimpse of a grass snake (Natrix natrix) as it disappears over the side of the Barnsley Canal cutting at Stoneheaps Plantation. These snakes have also been seen at Walton Colliery Nature Park. 16th April 2011.
Grass Snakes are harmless and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to kill, harm or injure them, sell or trade them in any way.

Click to enlarge

The grass snake prefers rough land and pasture, often close to a standing body of water. With the canal, lakes and reservoirs in the Walton area, it is not surprising that the snake lives in these parts.

It feeds almost exclusively on amphibians, and some may also eat small fish. The snake is an occasional garden visitor. It is non-venomous and should be left to get on with its life in peace.

Sometimes the grass snake is confused with the adder (viper). Most adders are distinctively marked with a dark zigzag running down the length of the spine and an inverted V or X shape marking on the head. Males are generally white or pale grey with a black zigzag. Females are a pale brown colour, with a darker brown zigzag. But some adders are entirely black and can be mistaken for some other species. The adder has a more thickset body than the grass snake and a vertically slit eye pupil. The grass snake's eyes have round pupils.

More information and pictures may be found at:
Reptiles and Amphibians of the U.K.
The Forestry Commission.

Walton South Gallery Pages
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Walton near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.