Rotherham Harriers and Athletics Club

Trail Running Section

Rowbotham's Round Rotherham
through the South Yorkshire Forest
(The area designated as The South Yorkshire Forest is mainly rural land rather than a vast area of woodland)

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Main links

Route description (Participants)
Strip (Wainwright-style) Map (and other formats)  
The Route in Pictures
(to be progressively updated as changes become known) 

 The RRR route on a Smartphone - for competitors!

In 2012, I shepherded a late group from Maltby to the Finish in the dark.  To my surprise, we were caught by a single walker.  I enquired how he had managed to find his way in the dark.  Had he recce'd the route?  No, never done it before.  He was following the route on his mobile phone (Android SmartPhone).   He had uploaded the GPS route from this website, and using the MyTrails app was alerted of turns, and could follow the line of the route between waypoints.  Extra essentials: Waterproof cover for phone, external battery, practice.  Follow link to see detailed information.

Route changes this year    Stage-by-stage overview

Travel to Event Centre    Public transport   Accommodation

Route description (Supporter's cars / Relay co-ordination)

Grid references, GPS data

Recce runs

View the route on Google Earth

Other changes can be expected to be reported - please advise me of any changes to the route that you spot.

(see a sample, 2 of the 16 stripes, from 1998 and only 23 kbytes)

If you need Adobe Acrobat, click this button:   

The following links are planned to be updated prior to the event, when the route is finalised - see summary of changes below for updates in progress.
Text version of Updates, for Printing (use Right Click, Save As...)
(includes description of changes 2013 to 2001, where still pertinent)
Wainwright map of changes (as a .pdf file, updated for 2013, the year of recent significant changes)

The full route is on OS Landranger Map 111 (Sheffield and Doncaster), the traditional map at a Scale of 1:50000
or alternatively on
OS Explorer Maps 278 (Sheffield and Barnsley) and 279 (Doncaster)
at a Scale of 1:25000 with a lot more detail, including field boundaries.
Link to Grid References to mark up your map

Getting to the Event Centre

at Manvers Waterfront Boat Club, Station Road, Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham, S63 7DG.  Start and Finish, showers & food at finish.  Grid Ref SE 442017 Lat/Long N 53.51063 W -1.33582  What3words ///Skid.them.navigate  For Sat Nav systems, use S63 7BU (the adjacent golf club) as S63 7DG may leave you south of Manvers Way instead of north of the roundabout towards Bolton. MWBC shares the track to golf club from Station Road.  There should be plenty of parking space, but there is an alternative car park just before the pedestrian crossing with traffic lights 400 m further up Station Road, travelling towards Bolton. Walk to EC by crossing at PedX, follow path left, parallel to road, to track. MWBC is on the right. (From Bolton upon Dearne, cross river, then L after PedX for overflow CP, main CP/EC is 400 m further on to the right).

Overview of area:

Previous route as brown arrows, new start at red triangle (S of gate), following red arrows - red cross marks a narrow footbridge, best avoided. Finish at green concentric circles at end of green arrows (this is also the access route for vehicles).  Small blue arrows show route from overflow car park, possibly a quieter spot for motorhomers!  Car parking restrictions don't apply during the event, but do for recce runs.

Link to other changes

Navigation files (maps, description, GPS data, etc) await updating.

Link to Google Map (Note: the marker is on the adjacent golf club). Click here for .pdf version to save and print  (The picture of the house is spurious!)  If you have downloaded one of the GPS routes of the course, select the R-FIN or FIN waypoint as your destination. (updated GPS files have ben posted on the website)

Accommodation and public transport

To view the route, using Google Earth.
a) Go to the Google Earth website, download and install Google Earth (requires broadband internet access to operate)
b) Click on this link to the route file (or right click on this link, select 'Save Target As...' and save the file rrr_gps_map_trackpts_kml.kml to a suitable folder, e.g. My Places in My Documents, the default folder for Google Earth). 
NOTE: Save Target As... seems to think you want to save the file as type .XML - instead change type to 'All Files' at the bottom of the dialogue box.  
c) Open Google Earth and File Open the file you saved.  You will see the route with start, checkpoints and finish. (start and finish are very close together to the north of the route; route is anti-clockwise)  For clarity, it is best to switch roads OFF (untick box).
d) When you exit Google Earth, decline the offer to save unsaved data, or you will get it in duplicate next time.

The 2011 route file is available in three formats: path (showing waypoints), track, trackpoints for use with slider for preview (obviously not perfect real time) - also with 160+ waypoints (you may want to hide them).  The route has been split into stages, so that you can 'tour' them at will rather than following the full route right through.  Again, either click on the link or right-click and Save Target As... Again, the system seems to think you want to save the file as type .XML - instead change type to'All Files' at the bottom of the dialogue box.  The display shows the GPS waypoints linked by straight lines and the actual / theoretical route as a bendy line.  From Places on Sidebar (on left) and under Temporary places, and the name of the file, select Paths - Track (one for each of the 8 stages, in order). Sometimes the waypoints and path are not on the correct line, e.g. in a lake or, in one case, down the centre of a motorway - THIS IS NOT THE CORRECT ROUTE - take the appropriate path!  

Navigation round the route (supporter's cars)
Click here for written description for supporter's cars for route round checkpoints (updated for 2023) with grid references for map users and
(approximate) post codes for the checkpoints to assist SatNav users, checked against TomTom. 
 (updated for 2019, still valid - 2 Megabyte),
GPS: OS grid points (updated for 2019, still valid) are all on offer

5th October 2024

From Time and date for Rotherham

Sunrise 07:14  Sunset 18:31 for 2024

Dawn Twilight: 06:40  Dusk twilight: 19:06

Navigation aids have been updated for the new Event Centre

1. Waypoint markers  Follow RRR markers, not to be confused with Rotherham Ring markers.  Although markers have been put in place at many junctions, they are more valuable for confirming that you are on route than for navigating the route - if you are not on the look-out for a turn, you could well miss it.  No new posts have been installed, so it has sometimes been difficult to put a marker in the most prominent location.  We are also aware of markers having been moved or re-set pointing in the wrong direction.  Thus the markers should be taken as secondary assistance to either the written description or Wainwright map. 

To assist navigation in the dark, glowsticks are usually put out to assist navigation at selected critical points on the first stage and from Maltby to the Finish on the day of the event. If you see them, they could help, but they don't replace the written description or Wainwright map

Receipt for confusion: The Rotherham Ring Route has recently been established, developed and waymarked. The publicity, by the local Ramblers Group, says is based on a route devised by RHAC, i.e. our Round Rotherham. The two routes coincide over much of the distance, but there are significant differences, notably near the middle checkpoint (we need to get to the Woodsetts check-point to give you refreshments) and near the start/finish. You won't come across a Ring marker before the approach to Elsecar. The two markers are shown here - at a point where the routes diverge.  Both routes are waymarked - you just have to make sure you follow those with the 7-pointed start for Rowbotham's Round Rotherham.  The Wainwright map generally indicates where the Ring Route markers may lead you astray by showing an open arrow with the legend 'Rotherham Ring' to one side or the other.

The written description and strip map reflect local changes, e.g. displayed names on warehouses, local landscaping work, so need annual updating. 

2. In the LDWA tradition, a Written description, or right click here and Save Target as ... or Print target (to print it properly) (updated for 2023).  Alternatively available as a Word Document (use right click and Save Link). Printed copies available for collection on the day at Registration (after SIcard collection).  The format has been revised in accordance with TRA guidelines and comments from users. Instructions are given to get from one decision point to the next, in a brief statement, with the distance (straight line) and direction (compass bearing(s)).   A decision point is a junction or turn, i.e. where you have to decide where to go.  The decision points correspond to GPS waypoints which are available on the GPS waypoint data page (See later). Thus, if you have a GPS (or Smartphone) loaded with appropriate GPS data, you can identify the waypoint you have reached and read the instruction as to how to proceed. Essentially, relocation has been made easy.  See later. 

The waypoints are identified as STA for start, then (in principle) A1 followed by A2, A3 on stage 1.  To avoid listing problems, a leading zero is added in the GPS identification for single digit numbers, i.e. A01, A02, ...A09, A10, A11....  The first checkpoint is CP1,  and then stage 2 waypoints are B01, B02, B03, etc.  The number is always increasing, i.e. you won't get D11 after D12, but some numbers are missing, e.g. C06 is followed by C08; C07 was not allocated. Indeed, with the change of Event Centre, the first stage now has the sequence A01, A04, A05...A09    These gaps are to help reallocation in the future, if changes are required for any reason. Where waypoints have been inserted, they have a suffix A (B, C as necessary) added to to the ID of the previous waypoint.  Thus B06 is followed by B06A and if necessary B06B before B07. When B02 was moved, the new position was named B02N, to avoid ambiguity.  I have suggested that the waypoint markers should also have these identifiers so that you can easily relocate on the description or map, but then you can do that with your smartphone or GPS.......
Be aware that the description is updated as necessary changes/corrections are identified up to the day of the event.

3. The "Wainwright-style" diagrammatic map, or right click here and Save Target as ... in which the route works UP each sheet, starting on Strip 1 (updated for 2023 Printed colour copies on normal paper available for collection on the day at Registration (after SIcard collection), subject to availability.
Note: the scale is variable, depending on local detail. To give some indication of scale, the arrows are (approximately) 200 m long.  Short arrows correspond to sections of simple navigation, following a canal (for example).  Long arrows lead you through complex sections, with numerous twists and turns.  GPS marker identifiers are shown in small yellow ovals to assist relocation (as described for 2. Written Description, above).  Leading zeros are not used, i.e. the sequence is STA, A1, A2, ....  My suggestion that the waypoint markers should also have these identifiers has not been supported.

The map is in .pdf format. Warning:  2500 k bytes
This schematic will be available (in colour) as hard copies on the day printed on normal paper - you need a map bag! (subject to availability).
Be aware that the map is updated as necessary changes/corrections are identified up to the week of the event.

Technical: The map was created using the Lotus Freelance software, now somewhat obsolete, but has now been converted to PowerPoint. In doing so, many tweaks and adjustments have been made, so that although basically the same, there are numerous differences.  In particular, there is more consistency in symbols, e.g. line width, and more use of colour. You are recommended to use the new version of the strip map, preferably in colour.  It is planned to have colour prints available on the day, subject to availability.

The following have been updated for 2021, still generally valid

4. A schematic map (2 Megabyte) provides an overview of the route on the 111 Landranger OS map and is provided to show the checkpoints, to aid relocation (in the unlikely event of you going astray). Updated for 2019

5. A detailed 1:25000 map (total 6×A4 pages) showing the route, based on GPS data with improved background map quality.  Warning: This is a large, 6 Mbyte file - only download if you have a fast connection. Can be printed from Acrobat on A4 and stuck together.  (it is best to right click on the link and Save As Target... , especially if you want to print it)  (Updated 6-sheet version for 2019 of the 6×A4 page version)

The maps are reproduced from Landranger®  Map 111, 1:50000 scale and Explorer® Maps 278 and 279 1:25000 scale by permission of Ordnance Survey® on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. ©Crown copyright 1974-2002. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047659.

6. List of waypoints as Lat/Long or OSGB of around 170 key points to mark up the route on the OS Maps, viz   Landranger Map 111 (Sheffield and Doncaster), 1:50000 scale, or Explorer® Maps 278 (Sheffield and Barnsley) and 279 (Doncaster), 1:25000 scale. The OSGB file gives codes, a 10-figure grid reference and a brief description - or use the straight list, with 6-figure grid reference (currently shows 10-fig GR) (latter updated for 2019)

7. GPS routes, tracks and waypoints in various formats for Garmin (inc. Forerunner), Magellan and other GPS brands using inter alia GPS Utility  (updated for 2023 - later changes possible)

To clear your GPS of Round Rotherham waypoints, delete by symbol: Flag (possibly coloured blue, or called golf course)

8. GPS route on a car-type Sat Nav  This option is available both for competitors and supporters in cars

If you are driving round as a supporter, or fellow relay team member, the Route description (Supporter's cars) has postcodes for the event centre and all checkpoints, fairly routine for SatNavs.

For competitors, there is also the possibility of using a car-type SatNav for navigation on the event. Follow this link for a detailed explanation (including comparison of trail and SatNav units).

Keep an eye on this Navigation pages for more information.   Obviously, the final GPS route files can only be supplied close to the day when the precise route has been finalised. As always, there are some uncertainties that need resolution.

If you require a different GPS data format, contact me, Henry Marston (include a Subject and Body text - unexplained attachments may be treated as spam),  and I will try to generate it for you (using GPSU).

9.  The technology solution: Route on your SmartPhone

Please follow the link....

10.  The route in pictures.  We are building up a set of pictures to show the route as you will see it.  So far, we have the new access route from Rotherham, and sections where changes have been implemented (generally)    These versions are not easily printed - I plan to create printable versions.

The route in pictures: Access
The route in pictures: Stage 1 (from Start)
The route in pictures: Stage 1 - Thorpe Hesley
The route in pictures: Checkpoint 1
The route in pictures: Stage 2a Hilltop to River Don
The route in pictures: Stage 2b Approaching Checkpoint 2

The route in pictures: Stage 3a  (includes approach to Checkpoint 2)
The route in pictures: Stage 4
The route in pictures: Stage 6
The route in pictures: Stage 7 - part showing changes to the route
The route in pictures: Stage 8

Low-down on the route 

Overall: a 50 mile / 81 km undulating mostly rural route, as measured by GPS. Yes, surprisingly to some, it's mostly rural.  The longest urban section is where we get close to/make short visit to Sheffield.  Overall climb is 800 m from a count of contour lines on maps, or 1230 m from the GPS track (maybe questionable). For this length of course, a Category C fell race under the aegis of the FRA would have to provide over 1500 m of climb, or 3800 m for category A, so I'm afraid it's not hilly enough for some!

Stage lengths (updated for 2023) 

Based on my GPS records for the actual course, 2015-2018, adjusted for CP7 change to Hooton Roberts.

The event, held under TRA UK:athletics rules, takes place at low altitude (below 150 m, 500') but autumn, potentially under wintery conditions. Competitors should be aware of the danger of hypothermia, and are advised to carry or wear a waterproof top (cagoule, etc) and adequate clothing. Walkers will require torches until about 07:30, and again from 16:00. All competitors take part at their own risk and must report to the Finish, or retire by handing in their number at an official check point. Competitors must register on the day, with travel information (car registration, companions, etc), and give their number at each check point. The Organiser reserves the right to alter the course in the light of conditions on the day. The Organiser and Rotherham Harriers and Athletics Club cannot be held responsible for any loss or injury arising from participation in this event.


length, km Climb (GPS), m

Start to Grange

15.6 308

Grange to Treeton

10.1 170

Treeton to Harthill

11.9 196

Harthill to Woodsetts

9.2 123

Woodsetts to Firbeck

9.0 86

Firbeck to Maltby

6.3 108

Maltby to Hooton Roberts

9.1 130

Hooton Roberts to Finish

9.5 108

For 2 person relays, the odd stage runner gets the 3 long stages, 1, 3 and 7 (total 45.6 km, c.f. 35.1) with most climb.

Stage by stage (corresponding to the relay - individuals enjoy the full experience):

Underfoot conditions vary from stage to stage

Stage 1 (15.6 km) has hard-surfaced paths, road and canal towpath, unfortunately made good so that there is little risk of sliding into the canal, to a yard and then somewhat muddy (briefly) through a wood. Track, road (minor) path through a village, then we have found a muddy ridge. Then firm. This is the stage with most climb and descent - slightly undulating to Elsecar, but then climbs and drops through Kings Wood, Wentworth, Thorpe Hesley and up to Keppel's Column before descending to the CP.

Stage 2 (10.1 km) is mostly firm (the main excitement, when leaving Grange Park, is now bypassed). Tracks and road, the urban section through Sheffield (Tinsley).  Drop from CP to stream, up and over a ridge to the River Don, then undulating through established residential areas before new developments leading to the River Rother which is followed to the CP .

Much of Stage 3 (11.9 km) comprises cycleable paths and tracks. Towards the end there are a couple of field crossings - muddy or firm, depending on what ploughing the farmer's done. Route follows the River Rother gently uphill, then branches off along the Chesterfield Canal past the collapsed Norwood Tunnel entrance and climing further tothe Harthill CP,close to the Rotherham County Top  Uphill, with occasional respite (level ground!).

The first 60% of Stage 4 (9.2 km) is a series of field crossings, then easy (hard surfaced tracks and road) crossing the Championship Golf Course at Lindrick, and then the hill (climb of 25 m, but runnable by some).  Undulating; 2 climbs, approaching Lindrick Golf Couse and after it, approaching Woodsetts

Stage 5 (9.0 km) starts muddy (if wet), but from Langold Park it gets firmer. Even the fields are reasonably firm except at Wallingwells (depending on rain). Steady climb from Langold through woods, a drop then short climb to CP

For Stage 6 (6.3 km), the initial route follows field side tracks - can be sloppy. Firm past Roche Abbey, the valley path afterwards may be sloppy on the surface but firm beneath, now finishing just after Maltby church. Undulating, following a rising stream after Roche Abbey, climb then undulating to Maltby

Stage 7 (9.1 km) starts with road run through Maltby, to a field-side track that can be wet. Short firm section of road, through village of Micklebring, then 3 km of (sometimes) well-defined field paths - depending on ploughing - to a track through a hamlet.  The subsequent field path and the path through the wood can be wet, the latter being (steeply) downhill so let yourself go - or take it with care, especially after dark. If you leave Maltby after 17:00, you will need a torch/headlight on this section. Undulating, the longest climb being after Firsby.

Stage 8 (9.5 km) now has a trail section, a steady climb from Hooton Roberts and then down to the old Old Denaby checkpoint location. Then a road section, with climb over a railway footbridge leading to a canal towpath, river bank path leading to a second canal A  lit cycle track (replacing a path slipping into the mire) leads to a roadside cycle track to MWBC.

Thank you if you made a submission for the ROW issue. There was a public enquiry in February 2011 and the path was finally reopened in May 2013

There is a possible access problem in the section between Grange Park and Tinsley.  From the Park, we drop down a steep slope, cross a stream and climb to Droppingwell Lane .  Crossing this, we continue to climb a track to a stile where we turn right to Hilltop (Kimberworth).  We cross a road and drop along a fence to a pylon where we turn left and drop onto Meadowhall Road .  The problem is in the next short section, along a track to a stile on the right from which there is a short of footpath leading to Meadow Bank Road , which we follow before dropping down to a footbridge over the railway before dropping to the river.

Just before the 2007 event, it was found that a gate had been installed across the Meadowhall Road end of the track, obstructing access to the track, stile and path.  A new house had been built in a compound at the end of the track, after the stile where there are now gateposts (no gate) across the track.  A remnant post next to these new gateposts still has one of our original metal >-RRR-> markers on it.   

Rotherham Metro Ramblers reported the obstruction of the path to the Rotherham Rights of Way Dept who have taken some action by clearing the path and writing to the land owner. 

This is an important linking section that has been part of the Round Rotherham route since it was first devised.   In the past, it was across derelict land, with free access.  Now that the house has been built, it would help safeguard the route if this section was established as a Right of Way.  For the 2007 event, the new gate was left open for the event.  In 2008, it had not been opened; I think most people climbed it.  Clearly, this is not ideal; a diversion route was specified. 

The public enquiry agreed to dedication of the ROW subject to amendment.  The report was written in November 2011, so the diverted route was used in 2011.  It was reopened as a public path (ROW) on 2 May 2013, in good time for the 2013 event and recce runs.

Last update 02 May, 2024 by web page queries

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