Walton contains the remains
of an English engineering triumph - the now disused Barnsley
Canal, in use in Walton until 1952. Just one of the many canals that
were built in the 18th and 19th centuries throughout the country. The
Barnsley Canal was by no means the most important or greatest of the canals,
but it was an achievement in its own right. The canal ran from the River
Calder in Wakefield, through rich coal mining country to Barnsley and then crossing
the River Dearne by a magnificent aqueduct
to Barnby Basin, west of Barnsley.
The main sections of the canal
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.
Unlike other areas of the country
where, with an eye on leisure use, the canals have been and are being
restored (even some new cuttings made), there are no signs that the Barnsley
Canal itself will ever be restored to a navigable state in this area (but see Awash With Hope to the right). Happily, some stretches to the north and south of the village are relatively
clear and used by anglers, and most make pleasant walking. For much of its length from Royston to Heath, the public footpaths along
the canal form part of the Trans Pennine Trail.
Barnsley Canal - a map of how it was in the immediate vicinity of Walton
village in the canal's heyday - derived from several engravings.
[click map to enlarge]
The basic information dates from 1838 and 1839, but there were some
later revisions, principally to the railways. The canal was replenished from the reservoirs at Wintersett and Cold Hiendley (the latter not built when this map was made). The flow into the canal was regulated by an engine housed in a Pumphouse (now demolished).
Awash With Hope For Canal
(Wakefield Express 24th September 2004)