Denaby Crags – also known as North Cliff Hills – is a line of north-facing hills leading up from the valley bottom of the River Don Gorge amd forming one side of a funnel.
These slopes have been known as The Crags for at least 100 years, although the name on the 1841 Ordnance Survey map is North Cliff Hills.
In ancient times these rocky outcrops were vital to local transport, communication and defence.
On a clear day they give views as distant as the Derbyshire hills and the Emley Moor TV transmitter mast in neighbouring West Yorkshire.
The Crags are more than just a view, though. They are a living history in themselves…
A hundred years ago, the area caused a sensation – when the prehistoric bones from a mammoth were uncovered there.
Other discoveries include a unique ‘Stone Railway’, over 400 years old! This tramway led down the hill – between the many quarries which provided sandstone and limestone – the latter to the kilns below where it was made into fertilizer. This is also the stone from which nearby Conisbrough Castle is built.
Then there is the picturesque Lady’s Valley… a courting spot which ladies were absolutely forbidden to attend by their parents!
There are ancient bell pits – primitive holes in the ground, dug for the early extraction of coal.
The flora and fauna of The Crags is large and diverse – the ground is a sea of varied grasses and many species of insects, birds and small animals make their homes there.
And the best thing of all – this area will soon become a fascinating beauty spot and health walk to be enjoyed by all, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of The Crags!