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Charles Waterton - Walton Hall,
Ancestral Home of the Watertons of Walton
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Walton Hall, the home of Squire Charles Waterton, the Naturalist.
Click to enlarge. INTRODUCTION

Walton Hall is in the Civil Parish of Walton, about 5km or so from the City of Wakefield. It is set on a man-made island in Walton Park (from around the 1990s also known as "Waterton Park"). The original building was surrounded by a moat, this was enlarged to form a large lake. The lake is fed by Drain Beck, which also provides the outlet for the lake.

The Hall is just a short distance from the village of Walton. It can be reached on foot or cycle via the route of the former Barnsley Canal (the footpath is part of the Trans Pennine Trail and National Cycle Route 67), or via The Balk and a narrow lane (formerly 'The Avenue') from Walton War Memorial in Shay Lane (B6378). It can also be reached by footpath from the Waterton Countryside Discovery Centre in Anglers Country Park, Wintersett. Vehicle access is via The Balk.

Walton Park includes the Heronry and Stubbs Wood or Piece. The park is enclosed by a wall constructed at the behest of Charles Waterton. Just outside the wall is Haw Park, formerly part of the Waterton estate and now managed by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council as a public amenity.

Click to enlarge.The Hall is an imposing building, though somewhat restrained in style - perhaps reminiscent of a bank in Leeds city centre. It was built in 1767 by Thomas Waterton (father of Charles the naturalist), who demolished the original Elizabethan building, save for the Water Gate (the oldest structure in the village). The wrought iron footbridge erected by Thomas Waterton is the only permanent access to the island.

The building demolished by Thomas Waterton was a fortified manor house, built before 1333. Only the medieval water gate survives, providing a link with the earler building of which it formed a part. A licence to crenellate was granted 1333-4 to Sir Thomas de Burgh. (2)

The Hall's most famous occupant was Squire Charles Waterton, the 19th century adventurer, taxidermist and pioneering naturalist. One of England's oldest aristocratic families, the Watertons trace their ancestry back to Norman times, they originally had large estates at Waterton in Lincolnshire. Waterton created the world's first nature reserve here in Walton Park, and built his wall to protect the wildlife.

Waterton Park Hotel at Walton Hall
The Hall is now a hotel, conference and leisure centre; and Waterton's walled park is now a golf course with several wooded areas and public footpaths, still a splendid area to walk in.

Squire Waterton made the staircase into a museum and opened it to the public at 'convenient hours'.
■ Read a letter written by Charles Waterton on this subject.

The hall is a Grade II* listed building (see bottom panel), protected by law; although this did not prevent the partial demolition of Waterton's Wall adjacent to the golf club house.

Nearby, between Walton and Crofton, is the Walton Colliery Nature Park; not Waterton's nature reserve, but an area born out of the muck and grime of the disused Walton pit* and its slag heaps. (* originally known as "Sharlston West")

More information about attractions in the Wakefield Metropolitan District can be found on the official city site. (See also 'Links' on the menu bar.)

~~~~

NOTES
1. Picture of the hall from Charles Waterton : His Home, Habits and Handiwork 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.
2. A History of Walton by Peter Wright, 1985, p. 6. (see Links for publication details).

Nota bene This web site is not affiliated to Waterton Park Hotel or Waterton Park Golf Course, or anything else, for that matter.
All in the past. Things may well have changed since these photographs were taken.
For the hotel's own photographs, visit the hotel's website. For WPGC, click here.

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WALTON HALL
LOCATION MAP
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Discover the Waterton Trail
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for a map of the trail.
~~~
Walton Hall is just off the Trans Pennine Trail and National Cycle Route 67.

Sustainable Transport
National Route 67 is a north / south route option of the Trans Pennine Trail (central) and is open between Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley, and Sheffield


The Park Restaurant and Grill

On the first floor of Waterton Park Golf Clubhouse.

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The English Flag - The Cross of St George.
Part of our English Heritage. Walton Hall is included on Images of England.
IoE Number: 342353. Location: WALTON HALL, WALTON PARK, WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKSHIRE.
Date listed: 11 April 1973. Date of last amendment: 11 April 1973 Grade II*

 
Charles Waterton - Walton Hall, Ancestral Home of the Watertons of Walton
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