Location and Terrain

Penistone Pictorial banner

Where are we?
Penistone is a small Yorkshire market town in an upper valley of the River Don and about mid-way between Huddersfield (NW) and Sheffield (SE). At a breezy 750 feet a.s.l., we are one of the highest market towns in the country. The scenic Huddersfield to Sheffield railway line passes over a grand 29-arch viaduct and through Penistone railway station. We are north of the Peak District and only a cock-stride from two small but notable places: Denby Dale (famous for huge commemorative pies) and Holmfirth ('Last of the Summer Wine' country). Our nearest town is Stocksbridge, which is close by on the map but quite distant by terrain. Penistone is in a postal district of Sheffield, Postcode S36.

Market Day on Thursdays is usually very busy and attracts shoppers from miles around, then they can take in the church, an organ concert or café as part of their Penistone experience. Until recent times, we had a historic livestock market but that was closed down as part of a town centre refurbishment, a new oak Market Barn was built and a Tesco put down its roots close to the town centre.

Local Landmarks and Features
Penistone Church is our finest medieval asset and stands proudly as a landmark for our town. The railway viaduct is also a very fine Yorkshire stone construction and visible from most views looking towards Penistone. Along with our rural setting and old stone buildings in the town centre, these are the main parts of the Penistone 'brand' (if I may be so vulgar) and a matter of great local pride. Buildings are mostly of Yorkshire stone or red brick, with very few wooden buildings. A new 'Market Barn' in the centre of town is a remarkable construction made of oak to contain the ever-popular market place.

Our town is as British as you can get with red pillar boxes (for posting letters), iconic red telephone boxes and town centre buildings are largely of Yorkshire stone. It also has low stone bridges on all main access roads and we never see double-decker buses. There are streams, stone bridges, horse troughs, milestones, spinneys, woods and wild vegetation. And a lot of good, down-to-earth Yorkshire people.

Hartcliff Tower folly is a beauty spot area south of Penistone, as a high vantage point with a good view of the moors and reservoirs to the south and, looking more north-east, we can see right across to Selby and beyond. It is also a good spot to see anything in the night sky such as a comet as there is practically no light pollution up there.

Being on the edge of the Pennine hills, our terrain is undulating, flattening out towards the north and east. To the south is a great unspoilt ridge rising gently to 1100 feet a.s.l., between the rivers Don (Penistone) and Little Don or River Porter (Stocksbridge). The River Don has its source a few miles to our west on the moors and flows via Penistone, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster to join the river Ouse at Goole, thence it continues to the North Sea, covering about 70 miles in all.

Beyond the southern ridge are reservoirs, the bleak grouse moors of Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park, which are not spoilt by development or (so far) wind turbines. A few miles further south is Edale, the original 'Gateway to the Pennines'. This is the natural start of the Pennine Way, a great 250-mile walking trail, heading north over the 'backbone of England' (a name which doesn't do Birmingham any favours) - the Pennine hills. We are close to, but not actually in, the 'Peak District' to the south.

The modern age has brought us thirteen bright wind turbines at Royd Moor, visible for a great distance north but not on a scale to ruin the pleasure of the countryside. However, after the turn of the millennium, a great proliferation of wind turbines of all sizes have become dominant features of the landscape, with more to come. The tallest landmark around is the 1084ft (330m) Emley Moor transmitter tower, about six miles away. A viewing place near the Royd Moor wind turbines gives us a scenic vista and it has a brass plate with distances and directions to other landmarks.

Local Pride
Penistone is quite separate from other towns and villages and has its own identity and sense of community. We are not 'Pennine Barnsley', whatever that may be, and not a natural point of entry to the Pennines.

Housing has vastly expanded over the last quarter century and still continues at a great pace, yet the setting is rural, with green fields only a short walk away. Many people who were born here have never moved away - and don't intend to. There is a local pride in Penistone but also some fears about changes from the great housing expansion which continues to overload our infrastructure.

UK map

Distant View - Not clickable
Royd Moor wind farmSouthOld Farmhouseviaduct

area mapScattered around our hillsides are rectangular fields separated by dark drystone walls and punctuated with centuries-old farm buildings and grazing farm animals. Stone horse-troughs and milestones echo earlier times. Scenes from BBC tv's long-running comedy, 'Last of the Summer Wine' has similarities with Penistone's terrain and people.

Visiting Penistone
Penistone is on a major cross-roads. The busy A628 runs from Barnsley to Manchester via Penistone and the A629 runs from Sheffield to Huddersfield via Penistone. Access to the M1 motorway is very easy via the busy A616 which connects Manchester to the M1. There have been many fatalities on this 40mph road through dangerous driving. An alternative easy route to the M1 is via Silkstone and Dodworth.

The nearest airport is for Manchester, with good road access and trains every hour to/from Huddersfield and to/from Penistone every hour during the day. Allow extra train travel time for very slow ticket queues at Huddersfield Station (up to 20min wait).

Buses connect with Sheffield, Holmfirth and Stocksbridge but not directly with Huddersfield. From that direction, the nearest stop is Upper Denby about four miles away. Local mini-buses and taxis do a roaring trade at weekends and are often used for Manchester airport journeys in the summer holiday season.

Whilst road access is usually easy, car parks are very busy on Thursday Market Days and Saturdays (locals ought to walk anyway). See my street plan page for information on parking and other facilities. The 'Visit Penistone' has a very nifty interactive map page with pop-up pictures from around the area.

Public Transport
Railway Timetables: National - tel. 08457 48 49 50, from Huddersfield and from Barnsley/Sheffield See also the Cheap Fare Finder.
Metro Train Info: http://www.wymetro.com - tel. 0113 245 7676

London - 177m S.
Manchester - 28m W.
Motorway M1 - 6m E
Huddersfield - 13.5m NW
Barnsley - 7.5m E
Sheffield - 12.5m SE

Latitude - 53º 31' N
Longitude - 1º 38' W
OS map reference - SE 245030

Railway and/or bus services connect with these local places:

  • Holmfirth - Arts, crafts and eating out. Compo's Cafe, Italian restaurant, pubs, cinema.
  • Huddersfield - Art gallery, theatre, multi-cinema, 10-pin bowling, library, park, night life, eating out, lots of good pubs and good shopping (University town).
  • Barnsley - Cheap shopping, markets, park, cafes, night life, cinema and pubs.
  • Meadowhall shopping mall - Shops, multi-cinema and bar.
  • Denby Dale - Mill shops, bookshop, arts and crafts. Home of the huge DD pies.
  • Stocksbridge - Fox Valley shopping centre and other cheap shopping.
  • Sheffield - Museum, theatre, park, entertainment, shopping and night life.

Emley Moor transmittera.s.l. = height above sea level, usually given in feet.
Yorkshire - 'God's Own County' is divided into three for administrative purposes, but not the same thirds as previously.
Riding = Ancient division of the county of York from the Norse word 'thridding' meaning 'a third part of'. These were: West Riding, North Riding and East Riding.
UK = The 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'.
GB = Great Britain, comprising Scotland, England and Wales and some small islands.
Tyke = Yorkshire person.
Penistonian = Native of Penistone.
Thurlstoner = Native of Thurlstone.
'Upper Don Valley' - The River Don flows through Penistone but Sheffield Council also has an 'Upper Don Ward' which falls short of our area.

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