Over the summer, the Canal & River Trust has been celebrating National Fishing Month (which actually runs between 21 July – 3 September 2017), encouraging people up and down the country to get out in the fresh air, sit back and cast a line into the water. One place you can do this in the North East is Sprotbrough Weir, a pretty spot on the River Don in South Yorkshire.
This stretch of river has one heck of a clean-up success story. For decades it was blighted by heavy industrial pollution, but today it boasts healthy stocks of salmon and sea trout as well as roach, barbel, skimmer, tench and pike – all testament to its scrupulously clean waters. Migrating salmon and trout have had their passage eased upstream to spawn with the installation of fish passes in 2014.
As well as fishing, you can also hire boats, embark on a guided boat trip or simply sit and watch craft passing through the lock. If you fancy a pint, there is a 17th-century pub next to the weir called The Boat Inn. Sir Walter Scott apparently wrote a few chapters of Ivanhoe while staying here.
Close by is Sprotbrough Flash – a patchwork of open water, wetland, woodland and limestone grassland, which supports a range of limestone wildflowers and insects. In fact, it’s one of the richest wildflower sites in South Yorkshire, where you’ll also find all three species of woodpecker. If you’re feeling energetic, head further on up to Don Gorge, which is topped with ancient woodlands and boasts quality limestone that is still mined today.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, try the newly opened Sprotbrough Tea Room, which is proving a hit with locals and visitors for its homemade quiches, crepes and cakes.
Free parking is available next to the toll house on Nursery Lane or at The Boat Inn if you use their facilities. The nearest train station is in Conisbrough, two miles away.
To find out more about fishing at Sprotbrough Weir, visit the Doncaster & District Angling Association website.