This site actually comprises five woodlands situated within Grange Park, which lies on the edge of Kimberworth, approximately 4 kilometres west of the centre of Rotherham. All five woodlands are long and thin in shape. Walkworth Wood is the largest and is joined to Barber Wood, which in turn merges into the woodland of Ockley Bottom. To the west lie the adjacent woodlands of Gallery Bottom and Kennel Wood. In total, the Grange Park Woodlands have an area of more than 30 hectares.
Grange Park was originally owned by the Earl of Effingham, whose mansion, Thundercliffe Grange, built in 1777, still stands close by. Gallery Bottom once formed part of the medieval Kimberworth Deer Park, first mentioned in the 13th century, whilst Walkworth Wood is first mentioned as a coppice woodland belonging to the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury in a document dating from around 1600. These two woodlands are therefore ancient woodlands, meaning that they are known to be more than 400 years old. Although there is less documentary evidence relating to the other woodlands in Grange Park, their steep slopes and rich flora strongly suggest that these too are ancient.
As well as being ancient, the woodlands are of historic and archaeological interest in other ways. Walkworth Wood and Gallery Bottom contain 'bell pits' associated with shallow coal mining, and the latter also contains the remains of three fish ponds thought to be associated with Kimberworth Deer Park. All of the woodlands are bounded by old stone walls and in some cases, by boundary banks.
Most of the woodlands are dominated by mature Oak together with smaller amounts of Birch, Beech, Sweet Chestnut and Sycamore The exceptions are Kennel Wood and Ockley Bottom which, as well as Oak and Sycamore, have mature wet Alder woodland, a rare feature in the Rotherham area. Ockley Bottom, Kennel Wood and Gallery Bottom each support at least fifteen ancient woodland plant indicators including Wood Sorrel, Remote Sedge, Guelder Rose, Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, Wood Speedwell and Wood Anemone. At least four species of bat are present and the woodlands also support a range of interesting and unusual insects and other invertebrates. There is also a diverse range of birds including Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Cuckoo, Little Owl and Song Thrush.
The woodlands and adjoining parkland are popular places for formal and informal recreation and, as well as being prominent features of the local landscape, they form a gateway from the edge of Rotherham to the open countryside. Grange Park is the setting for a public golf course and incorporates a bridleway and a number of other Public Rights of Way.
Under the Fuelling a Revolution programme, woodland restoration and access improvement work is taking place to restore the woodlands to their former glory and to maximise their potential as a recreational and educational resource. Some thinning and group felling will be carried out in order to create a more varied woodland structure and to encourage the development of young Oaks. Control of Rhodedendron, a non-native and highly invasive species, is required in Barber Wood. Access to the woods will be improved by upgrading the path system, with a focus in Barber Wood in particular being to provide access for less able-bodied people. Work is required to prevent access by motorcyclists and to reduce problems of fly tipping and vandalism and this will be partly achieved by restoring the historic and visually important boundary walls. Finally, the potential of the site as an educational and recreational resource is being further developed through guided walks, events relating to the natural history and historic interest of the site, children's events and practical management tasks.
Other nearby Heritage Woodlands are: