Elsecar is a village forming part of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley. Like many villages in the area, it was for many years a coal mining village until the widespread pit closures in the 1980s.OS grid reference SE 385 005
In 1910 a local amateur photographer, Herbert Parkin, took some photographs of the local reservoir and surrounding areas and sent them into the Sheffield Star under the caption Elsecar-by-the-Sea. The name caught on and with the help of good transports link from Sheffield via the local railway station a thriving tourism business was established. The local council decided to create the public park to take advantage of the influx. The name is still jokingly used by some locals and to advertise events around the reservoir.
Elsecar Heritage Centre is an antique, history and craft centre located within the former ironworks and colliery workshops of the Earl Fitzwilliam. Restored buildings now house an antique centre, individual craft workshops, and exhibitions of Elsecar's past. It contains the only Newcomen steam engine in the world to have remained in its original location.
The Elsecar Railway, South Yorkshire's only preserved railway, is based at the heritage centre. At present the railway runs for approximately one mile between Rockingham Station at Elsecar, through the South Yorkshire countryside alongside the Dearne and Dove Canal, to the present terminus at Hemingfield. Although only currently a mile in length the line features stiff gradients of up to 1-in-40. Unfortunately there is currently no usable platform at Hemingfield, but in the future it is intended to build a halt here with a passing loop. There are plans to extend the railway a further mile to the retail park at Cortonwood, and in the future the operational base for the railway may move from Elsecar to Cortonwood as more space for expansion is available there. The extension to Cortonwood would provide a vital link for shoppers from Elsecar and Hemingfield to the retail park and an extended ride on a heritage railway for tourists.
The railway is operated by steam locomotives and the Earl of Stratford diesel engine.
There is also a public park with a bandstand, children's playground, a refreshment room, and a pitch and putt golf course. The reservoir, now a local nature reserve, is adjacent to the upper park.
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