Retro: Mystery in the woods

Reader Michael Ellis has been in touch about a mystery structure that he came across while walking in Woolley Woods recently.

Michael said: “I have been walking in Woolley Woods, in Shiregreen for many years, but today was the first time in a good few years, and I was surprised to see a structure that I have not seen before.

“It looks like it pre-dates the Roman period.

“I wondered if any of your readers have any idea what period it dates from and what it was used for.

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“The carvings on it are really interesting and I have done my best to get them all in the photographs. It looks wonderful, with a autumn carpet of leaves. So many colours, I lost count at 30 odd.”

Well, Michael, we hate to disappoint you, but from being pre-Roman the structure was installed as part of a Sheffield City Council art trail through Wincobank and Firth Park in 2010.

The Lost Gateway is near the Barrow Road entrance and was made from reclaimed stone by Mick Humphries.

Artists Ana Ospina, Gordon Young, Saffron Waghorn, Ian Cooper, Tony Slater and Russell Coleman carved images from the legend of Fenrir, a monstrous wolf of Norse mythology, inspired by workshops done with the local cub scouts. Ancient Viking runes add an extra layer of enchantment to the stones.

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Woolley Woods was first documented in 1597 as Woollywoodside.

The woodland was managed on a system of coppice with standards from the 16th century until the end of the 19th century, when a system of ‘high forest’ was introduced, along with plantings of beech and hornbeam.

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