The Lost Gateway looks as if it has been part of Woolley Woods for centuries but in fact, it was constructed as recently as 2010. It is part of a public art project called “Journey to Hidden Places.”
The work is in the form of a crumbling stone gateway with words and symbols inscribed on it. It is built from reclaimed stone from the locality. Such a structure is fitting for Woolley Woods as the place is seen in local legend as the ‘wood between the worlds’ where one can find portals to parallel universes.
Even without the artwork, the woods are an absolutely fantastic example of ancient woodland, having existed here since the last Ice Age.
Constructed initially by stonemasons, a group of local artists—Ana Ospina, Gordon Young, Saffron Waghorn, Ian Cooper, Tony Slater, and Russell Coleman—applied the finishing artistic touches, carving images from the legend of the Norse Wolf God, Fenrir, and ancient Viking runes to add an additional layer of mystery to the stones.
In the time since it was built, the stones have weathered into the landscape now looking as if it has been there forever. When you find the Lost Gateway in the woods, it is almost impossible not to walk under the low arch, just in case you emerge on the other side in Narnia.
Know Before You Go
To find the Lost Gateway, enter the park near the kid's playground on Ecclesfield Road. Walk up the hill with the BMX track on your left after which you enter the woodland. As you walk up the hill, keep looking to your right. After about 50 yards you will see the gateway through the trees.