Thursday, 29 October 2015


Friday 20 November 2015

9.30 - 11.30 am

at Sprotborough Falls

If you are interested in coming, you would be welcome. 
Ed Milliband will be doing the honours.

Friday, 16 October 2015


Someone has been putting barbed wire across Public Right of Way No 6, which is the footpath from the top of the hairpin bend at Sprotborough going towards Hexthorpe  It was taken down, but someone has put it up again.  It has been taken down again, but it is extremely dangerous and could cause great damage, particularly to cyclists going at any speed along the path.  The friend who took it down was injured in doing so and spent time in A&E having his forehead glued together again, so if anyone finds it up again please take care in removing it.  It is being regularly monitored.

Thursday, 16 July 2015


I've just received the following lovely photos of orchids on the meadow.  Why don't you go and have a look; they're obviously at their best at the moment.  The area is looking particularly good at the moment with lots of other wild flowers in evidence too.

Many thanks to Fiona Cahill, the new Sprotborough & Cusworth Parish Councillor on our committee for sending them in.

If anyone sees anything interesting, please let me know so that I can post photos or information on the blog.

Common Spotted Orchid
Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid
Common Twayblade Orchid

The Meadow

Monday, 13 July 2015


A workshop held on 6 July 2015 was very helpful in defining the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for those of us involved in improving the River Don and its environs.  The result of the application will be heard in September and the aim of the project is to reconnect people, communities and decision makers back to the River Don and its rich natural, cultural, built and industrial heritage.  It is hoped that grant funding will be available to modify five weirs which will improve access for salmon to their breeding grounds.  This, however, is only part of the plan as it is hoped that two apprenticeships will be available, along with skill development and events.  Finally, it aims to create a heritage trail between Sheffield and Doncaster. It is hoped that volunteer groups and ‘friends of’ groups will also be formed to maintain the improving conditions along the length of the river.  The bid is for £1.2 million, with matching funding of £200,000 already having been promised from elsewhere.

The Don Gorge Community Group is already playing a part in this and its volunteer group does good work between Conisbrough and the A1(M) bridge.  They are currently improving the area near the fish pass on the south side of Sprotborough Falls and would welcome others to join them.  Similar groups are operating in other areas, but more are needed if the length of the Don is to be covered; in the coming months possibilities for new groups in our area will be explored in the Denaby Main, Hexthorpe, Balby, Hyde Park and Doncaster areas. 

The brilliant news that the first spawned salmon had recently been found in the River Dearne near Pastures bridge is a great indicator that the river is being cleaned up and that the fish pass at Sprotborough is already achieving results.  To have reached the size it was when it was caught, the first in more than 150 years, it is thought that its parents must have scaled Sprotborough Weir shortly after the pass was completed in 2014.  Salmon was once very common in the Don as far as Sheffield, but the industrial revolution and resulting pollution of the river soon put an end to that.

To enable further progress for our group, we would like to create a ‘Friends of the Don Gorge Community Group’, to enable greater access to those with an interest in our area of concern in particular, and to this end would like to hear from anyone who might be interested in helping us to start this.  I do my best by running a website and a blog, but have limited knowledge of social media and practical help in setting up and running such a scheme would be particularly welcome.  It is then hoped that ‘friends’ could be informed of events we would like to run and even help organise them.  I feel there are many interested and talented people out there who already have the skills we need.  Our committee is short of representatives and we are very stretched in trying to do anything which would achieve our aims.

There are 21 weirs along the River Don between Doncaster and Beeley Woods, nine of which are already passable by salmonids. Seven passes are being planned by other agencies, but the remaining five, which have no owners, come within this project.

For further information or enquiries, please contact
Liz Reeve, Secretary, Tel 01302 313030

‘River Don from Source to Sea’
by Elizabeth Reeve
is published by Amberley
It is available from Amazon as an ebook or paperback or direct from Liz Reeve

Monday, 29 June 2015



A major engineering project helping salmon return to what was once one of Britain’s most polluted river systems, has achieved a historic success  after a young salmon was discovered in the River Dearne, South Yorkshire.
An Environment Agency fish survey team spotted the 14cm juvenile when carrying out routine checks last week. The discovery is the first evidence of salmon spawning in the river, which is a tributary of the River Don, for more than 150 years.
 Once in abundance, salmon populations began to dwindle with the growth of industry. Weirs which were built to power industry or provide deep water for boats also acted as barriers to the fish reaching their spawning grounds. By the mid 19th Century salmon were all but gone from South Yorkshire’s rivers.

Last year the construction of a fish pass was completed at Sprotbrough Weir opening up 55 kilometres of the River Don - almost half the length of the river - to salmon and other migratory fish. 

Jerome Masters, Environment Agency fisheries technical officer said; “Our rivers are the healthiest for more than 20 years and otters, salmon and other wildlife are returning for the first time since the industrial revolution. But there is still more to be done. The construction of the fish pass at Sprotbrough Weir is a significant step in getting salmon back to rivers across South Yorkshire.

“The River Don already supports a healthy population of coarse fish, and adult salmon have been caught in the river in the recent past, but the discovery of this juvenile salmon in the River Dearne is hugely exciting. The size of the fish indicates that it was born in early 2014, which means that its parents probably used the fish pass at Sprotbrough Weir shortly after it opened.” 

The fish pass at Sprotbrough also allows coarse fish living downstream of the weir, like barbel, to reach their spawning grounds further upstream. It reconnects the rivers Don and Dearne back with the Humber Estuary and is part of our grander plan to create ‘fish highways’ providing free passage for fish between the sea and the upper reaches of rivers.

Friday, 26 June 2015


Reports of otters and grass snake seen today at Lower Sprotborough.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


A series of photographs  of wild flowers and grasses to be seen at Lower Sprotborough at present. Why not have a look. Just click on the heading above to see what you're missing.

Friday, 17 April 2015


Thank you to everyone who turned out for our new-style AGM this year.  We were very pleased to see you all and hope you enjoyed the evening.

Our Speaker, Jonathan Hart-Wood of the Canal & River Trust, gave a very informative description of the Trust, which has recently changed from British Waterways to become a charity, as well as the construction of the new Fish and Eel Pass at Sprotborough weir.

This presentation was filmed and can now be viewed on YouTube.  Search for Mr Sprotbrough and you should find it.  It is in four parts and lasts about an hour and 20 minutes.

A question was asked at the AGM about the Archaeology of the old mill, which used to be on the fish pass site and, thanks to Archaeological Services WYAS and the Environment Agency who commissioned it, this can be found on the following link. I hope you will find it interesting:

Information boards and directional sign posts have now been erected by our Conservation Volunteers and a carving has been produced which will shortly be erected on site.  We hope this will be followed by an official opening event which will be advertised in due course.

We still have spaces on the committee for anyone interested in supporting the group in this way and Minutes of meetings are published on our website.

Anyone wishing further information should contact the Secretary, Liz Reeve
Email:;  Tel 01302 313030

'The River Don from Source to Sea' published by Amberley, is available from Amberley, Amazon or Liz Reeve, price £15.99.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


New information boards are now in place on both sides of the weir.  Thanks to our Conservation Volunteers and the Canal & Rivers Trust, there is one by the side of the pass and another on the island.  Fingerposts will be erected in due course to point the way, but why wait?  Go and have a look.

A sculpture is due to be sited alongside the pass and it is hoped an official opening event will be held later in the year.

Friday, 20 March 2015


Terrific review of my book in Waterways World , April 2015 edition.

I will be signing books at Waterstones in the Frenchgate Centre, Doncaster, on Saturday 11 April between 12.00 and 2.00 pm.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Due for Release on 15 February 2015

River Don from Source to Sea

by Elizabeth Reeve

A journey along the River Don from the moors above Penistone to Goole,
before joining the Ouse and the Humber estuary.  With 180 photographs, it follows
the infant river through reservoirs, to industrial Sheffield, from where the navigation
system comes into its own. 

Liz lives in Sprotbrough and is Secretary to the Don Gorge Community Group.
Her book can be pre-ordered through Amberley Publishing or Amazon.


Don Gorge Community Group AGM & Open Meeting

Monday 9th March 2015
6.45 – 9.30 pm
St Mary’s Church Hall

Jonathan Hart-Woods of the Canal & River Trust
has been invited to make a presentation on the

Fish & Eel Pass:
the need for it and its construction,
including the foundations of the old mill which were found

This will be an interesting evening and all are welcome.

Nominations for Officers and Committee are welcome 
and should be sent to the Secretary by 6 March.

Contact: : Tel: 01302 313030