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Thorne and Hatfield Moors, Goole

(4.2/5 based on 15+ reviews on the web)
Thorne and Hatfield Moors form the largest area of lowland raised peat bog in the United Kingdom. They are situated in South Yorkshire, to the north-east and east of Doncaster near the town of Thorne, and are part of Hatfield Chase. They had been used for small-scale extraction of peat for fuel from medieval times, and probably much earlier, but commercial extraction of the peat for animal bedding began in the 1880s. The peat was cut on the moors and, once it had dried, transported to several works on narrow gauge tramways, always called trams locally. The wagons were pulled by horses to works at Creyke's Siding, Moorends, Medge Hall, Swinefleet and Hatfield. There was also a network of canals supplying the Moorends Works.The industry suffered a downturn between the two world wars, as working horses were replaced by lorries and peat demand dropped, but after the Second World War peat was used by the horticultural industry in increasing volumes, and harvesting expanded again. From 1947, experiments were made with locomotives on the tramways, and they soon replaced horses. A total of 23 had worked on the system by the time it was closed down. The extraction process was mechanised in the 1960s, with the introduction of machines that could cut and stack the peat turves. In 1981 mechanical loading of the turves into the trains was introduced. Surface milling of the peat was introduced in 1985, which completely stripped the surface of large areas of the moors.
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  • I visited the east part of the reserve. I felt it could have been signposted better, particularly to the car park(s?). There wasn't a large amount of wildlife evident, just grazing sheep and a few wil...  more »
  • I was lucky to have a guide to explain some of the natural features of this location at one of the first 'photography golden hours' of this year. Even without that golden glow it is a special place th...  more »
  • Very peaceful walk, hardly any sound at all. There is very limited wildlife but lots of opportunities for photographers of fungi. The walks could be signposted better, on a number of occasions I had t...  more »