As the weather starts to warm and the days draw out, I’m reminded of the excellent local events that celebrate the great outdoors and make the most of our town’s natural beauty.

The Barnsley Boundary Relay, which returns on June 15, is a perfect example of this.

Following on from the Barnsley Walking Festival, which still has many exciting events to come in its final week, the relay is a great excuse, not that you need one, to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors.

It gives people the opportunity to experience our borough’s beautiful countryside, whilst also benefitting their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The relay itself is something of a hidden gem, and not that many people know about it.

First started over 30 years ago by Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club, the race runs around the 72-mile geographical boundary of Barnsley in ten legs.

The route starts and ends at the idyllic Cannon Hall. Known for its fascinating displays and outstanding park and gardens, it’s the perfect place to start a race, and the perfect place to finish - particularly if the Pavilion Cafe is open!

The first leg takes you to Bretton Park, a beautiful reserve and home to the iconic Yorkshire Sculpture Park. From there, the route moves to a series of paths that take you through serene hills and green spaces, passing Woolley, Royston and Shafton, eventually reaching the outskirts of Brierley.

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The route then takes you through Grimethorpe and alongside the incredible Grimethorpe Nature Reserve right the way to Thurnscoe - via Clayton.

After leaving Thurnscoe, entrants will go through Bolton Upon Dearne and pass RSPB Old Moor and Bolton Ings - former industrial slagheaps turned flourishing nature reserves. If you’re lucky, on this stretch of the route you’ll be able to spot some incredible wildlife!

The next leg takes you to Wortley via Westwood Country Park and Wharncliffe Nature Reserve - two spectacular green spaces. From Wortley, the route then passes through Forge Woods, and runs alongside Stocksbridge until you reach the incredible Langsett Reservoir - an incredible attraction with outstanding natural beauty.

As the relay comes to a close, entrants head to Winscar Reservoir and then make their way to Upper Denby, passing through green spaces and witnessing incredible views - like that of Ingbirchworth Reservoir.

Finally, to end the Barnsley Boundary Relay, the route passes through stunning countryside on the way back to Cannon Hall.

No matter which leg of the relay you do, you are guaranteed to see exceptional sights and be reminded of how lucky we are to have so much natural beauty right on our doorstep.

Even if you can’t make the relay on June 15, you can always come back to see the incredible sights in your own time, at your own pace. You could also team up with the excellent local running and walking groups who often follow this trail!

So as spring becomes the summer, I’ll be doing what I can to make the most of the excellent areas of natural beauty across our borough, and I encourage everyone reading to do the same!