We visited the fairy tale village with cool ruins but no sign of life

Thorpe Salvin church
Thorpe Salvin church -Credit:Yasmin Wakefield

It’s not often that you stumble across Elizabethan ruins in South Yorkshire but just a 30-minute drive away from Sheffield city centre, they can be found in the historic village of Thorpe Salvin.

Said to be one of the more affluent areas of Rotherham, the village is nestled in between Workshop and Harthill and set against the backdrop of the countryside.

With a population of just over 400 people, the Welcome to Yorkshire website describes it as a “hidden gem steeped in history” which offers a “peaceful retreat” from city life. With high hopes, YorkshireLive took a visit to Thorpe Salvin to see what the village had to offer - and whether it would provide the peace and tranquillity we were hoping for.

Read more: Dumper truck used for Sheffield United fan's funeral after 'joke'

The name Thorpe derives from the Norse for an “outlying farmstead” - and as I drove down winding country lanes surrounded by open fields to reach the heart of the village - it was already easy to see why it had been given its name.

By the time I’d completed the 30-minute drive from Sheffield, cloudy skies had turned into sunshine and it turned out to be a beautiful spring morning in the picturesque Rotherham village.

One thing that struck me the most about Thorpe Salvin as I wandered around to the sound of bird song, was just how pretty it was. On previous visits to South Yorkshire villages including Cawthorne and Hooton Pagnell the chocolate box cottages had certainly been pretty - but this felt like a big step up. In Thorpe Salvin, it was like walking around somewhere from a fairy tale book.

A traditional red phone box has been converted into a village book swap
A traditional red phone box has been converted into a village book swap -Credit:Yasmin Wakefield

As I wandered past traditional stone cottages, immaculate gardens and well kept flowerbeds, it was nice to see that the village had maintained some of its traditional aspects, including a classic red phone box which was now being used to house a book swap - something which I think added a lovely touch.

Some of the larger, detached stone properties were located behind electric gates - and with a quick research of house prices in the area, it was easy to understand why. According to Rightmove, the average house price in Thorpe Salvin is £429,083, with detached properties selling for up to £731,667.

While the village was certainly pretty to look at, and made for a more than pleasant Friday morning walk, there was little in the way of things to do. The village’s only pub, The Parish Oven, underwent a £470,000 makeover back in 2018 but due to the timing of our visit, was shut. With the pub closed and not a café or shop in sight - any hopes of getting myself a beverage to walk around with while I was exploring were crushed.

Thorpe Hall and Elizabethan ruins -Credit:Yasmin Wakefield
Thorpe Hall and Elizabethan ruins -Credit:Yasmin Wakefield

As I continued to explore the village, I came across one of its most prominent features - the Grade I listed St Peter’s Church. From there, I spotted a ruin ahead in the distance. Intrigued as to what it was, I walked in its direction, hoping that I would be able to get a closer look. A few hundred metres up the road I reached the sign for Thorpe Hall - but with a clear ‘no trespassing’ message displayed, I was disappointed to find out that I wouldn’t be able to get any closer.

A little research led me to learn that the Grade II building is in fact the ruins of the village’s original manor house, built during the Elizabethan period in 1570. It’s said that in 1636, the hall was bought by Edward Osborne. When his descendant Thomas Osborne became Duke of Leeds, he moved out to a grander property in Kiveton Park, and the hall fell into disuse. It was partially demolished in the 1820s, with only the south front now remaining.

Although getting any closer to the Elizabethan ruins was off limits - it definitely helped to add a unique touch to the visit and suddenly, I felt like I was back on a school trip.

Thorpe Salvin in Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Thorpe Salvin in Rotherham, South Yorkshire -Credit:Yasmin Wakefield

I’d only walked around 15 minutes up the road from where my car was parked on Workshop Road before signs of civilization became lost and I was straight back in the countryside again - which backs up the claims that the Rotherham village is famed for its “lush green fields” and walking trails.

It was also hard to avoid the fact that Thorpe Salvin was quiet - very quiet. On my near 90 minute visit, I didn’t walk past another person - so it’s safe to say that if you’re after a “peaceful retreat” then it might just be somewhere to consider.

So would I agree with the statement that Thorpe Salvin is a hidden gem? In terms of aesthetics, yes - but could you spend a whole day there? If you were going for a countryside walk and stopping off for a pub meal then maybe, otherwise I think you’d struggle to spend more than a couple of hours in the village.

Get all the latest and breaking South Yorkshire news straight to your inbox by signing up to our newsletter here.