| Village Location | Interactive Map of Village | Around the Village |
The village of Walton is part of the Wakefield Metropolitan District in
the County of West Yorkshire. The village is about 5.5 kilometres (3.5
miles) to the south of the City of Wakefield between Sandal Magna and
It is a pleasant village with a bit of a history, a few fine old
houses, some good farmland and leisure areas close at hand. The village is home to what was the world's first nature reserve, created by Charles Waterton, the Squire of Walton Hall.
is still (just about) surrounded by countryside, although the spread of
new houses from Wakefield, and development within the village itself,
seems set to continue. To the south lies pleasant countryside including Haw Park Woods and Wintersett.
Although administered by Wakefield
Metropolitan District Council (the "single tier authority"),
Walton also has its own parish council that represents the interests of
the village and deals with a range of local matters.
Public transport is provided
by local Metro trains, the nearest station is at Sandal and Agbrigg, with
Intercity trains at Wakefield Westgate. Walton
lost its own railway station on the old Midland line in the early sixties,
around the time that the English railway network as a whole was decimated
during the Beeching cuts ordered by the government of the day. The old
Midland line, to the west of the village by Greenside, is still in use
as a goods line and for the testing of trains. There is also a regular
bus service to Wakefield and Crofton and beyond.
The station has gone but
the village is still bounded on three sides by the remnants of the once
extensive railway system. Indeed, the existence of the railway tracks
around the village is considered to have helped Walton preserve its identity
and fend off its absorption by the nearby city - the suburban sprawl that
has enveloped Sandal Magna.
|What's on in Walton?
Click here and find out about everything, or some of it, at least.
|High Speed Train HS2 Phase 2 - coming our way!
The preferred route through Walton Civil Parish.
|Walton's History - Further Reading
For a detailed look at the history
of the village, Peter Wright's A
History of Walton is a good starting point.
A rich source of local facts. Illustrated.
It is out of print, but may still be available on Amazon, visit the book shop. Other copies may still available on the internet and in the village library.
■ Discover local history at Walton Community Library.
At one time, there was a colliery with pit shafts situated between Walton and Crofton on what is
now the Walton
Colliery Nature Park. The Walton pit (once known as Sharlston West) opened
in 1890 and closed in 1979 before the Miners' Strike of the 1980s.
On 22nd April 1959, five men lost their lives when an explosion of firedamp occurred in the mine. (more ...)
Hall & Squire Charles Waterton
Hall, formerly the home of Squire Charles Waterton, the Naturalist (1782 - 1865), is set in Walton Park (since the 1990s also known as Waterton Park) at the end of the
Avenue off the Balk. The trees that lined the Avenue have been replaced
on one side by somewhat less than picturesque telegraph poles and a hedge
on the other. The hall is a short walk of around 1 km from Shay Lane in
the village, either along the Balk from the War Memorial, or along the canal route from the site of Soap House Bridge at Shay Lane (opposite Walton Locks and Walton Sports & Social Club).
After the Watertons, Walton
Hall had a variety of occupants. It went slowly into decline and suffered
from neglect - but now, things are better and the hall is in use as a hotel
- Waterton Park Hotel. Near the hall, Walton Hall Farm has been
converted into houses (Brockswood Court) in an agreeable setting. The Park
has extensive public footpaths and is also home to Waterton Park Golf Course.
Sadly, Waterton's Wall is in ruin in many places. The fact that Walton Hall is a listed building has not protected the boundaries of Waterton's old nature reserve.
The Heronry and Stubbs Wood
or Piece still exist within the walls of Walton Park. Stubbs Farm House, just outside the wall, became a ruin and was demolished some years ago. The Waterton Country
Heritage Centre is at the nearby Anglers Country Park at Wintersett.
There is also the remains of an engineering triumph - the now disused Barnsley Canal, in use
in Walton until 1952. The canal ran from the River Calder in Wakefield,
through rich coal mining country and Barnsley, crossing the River Dearne
by a magnificent aqueduct, to Barnby Basin, west of Barnsley.
The main sections of the canal
in the village were filled in 1956. Some long serving villagers can remember
playing in the canal in their youth, and for a pint, will probably be
glad to repeat their stories. Times change and much of the canal has disappeared
almost without trace.
Happily, some stretches of water to the
north and south of the village are relatively clear and used by anglers.
The footpaths along the canal form part of the Trans Pennine Trail through
the village and run through some pleasant countryside, particularly to the south of the village.
Soap - Hodgson & Simpson
Walton had one of the pioneers in pollution, Edward Thornhill
Simpson, who owned a soap factory in Soap House Yard (later
moved to Calder Island, Thornes).
first soap manufacturer in the village, William Thornhill Hodgson,
promised Squire Charles Waterton that he would not produce his
This promise was broken and Edward Thornhill Simpson
expanded the factory and the pollution increased.
a lengthy legal battle with accounts of a smear campaign and dubious
tactics by the soap house supporters. Read more here.
There is another view of the "Soap House Simpsons": Edward Simpson was active in local affairs, as this clipping from the Wakefield
Express indicates. (visit web site)
To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, Mr Edward Simpson provided the land and materials for a new church in the Balk, St. Paul's. Find out more about the church here.