Parklife: Don Gorge and its unbelievable transformation over the years

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"Park Life" is a new series presented by our weather forecaster Jon Mitchell, who loves getting out and about.

Throughout October, he will be visiting some of the region's great outdoor spaces, from the "traditional" to the "linear", meeting the volunteers who maintain the parks for the enjoyment of all.

Jon's first stop is at the Don Gorge in Doncaster, which runs alongside the River Don. The green space has seen an amazing transformation in recent years.

In the 1970's the river Don was notorious for being the most polluted river in Britain, but now, 50 years later, the transformation has been astounding.

The Don Gorge is located between Warmsworth and Sprotbrough, the A1M and Conisbrough and is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Although, according to Liz Reeve from the Don Valley Community Group, that has not always been the case.

Over time the area has cleaned up its act, the weir now has a fish pass, so that salmon are once again thriving in the waters and volunteers continue to work with the authorities to keep the park looking its best. 

The Don Gorge Community Group has been operating for around 20 years.

'Before the Industrial revolution all the apprentices in Sheffield used to have salmon nearly every day to eat because there were so many in the river and gradually with the number of people who came to live and work in the Sheffield area, all the sewerage and industrial waste went into the river and by the 1950's it was considered to be one of the most polluted in Europe.'

Liz Reeve, Don Valley Community Group

'There's seven or eight of us, in the past we had up to a dozen more but some were of working age and got employment and left and we do keep trying to get more people involved but it is difficult.'

Graham Venables, Don Valley Community Group

'I worked in an office environment for 40 years, so the chance to come for an out door life really appeals to your senses, the sights, the sounds, the smells of the woodland and it's really good for your health, we do a lot of hand toolwork and mentally, you're in a group of people, chatting and a bit of banter, it's always good.'

Ian Carpenter, Don Valley Community Group