The Stocksbridge Bypass (A616) opened on Friday 13th May 1988. The five-mile stretch of road runs across the hills, above the town of Stockbridge in the Don Valley, linking the M1 motorway at Junction 35A to the Woodhead Pass. It was designed to alleviate traffic from the narrow streets of Stocksbrige, which lies on the main route between Sheffield and Manchester.

Prior to the work commencing on the road, there had been no recorded sightings of strange phenomena or history of hauntings in the area. But in 1987, when the £14M project started to tear through the moor, strange things started to happen.

It’s early September 1987 and security guards Stephen Brookes and David Goldthorpe, of Constant Securities, Rotherham, are patrolling the unopened Bypass. They have been onsite for a number of months with the job of protecting the materials, tools and plant from would-be thieves.

At dusk, as they are driving along the Bypass, which is still under construction, they see a group of children in a field next to Pearoyd Bridge, which crosses the new road. The children are next to a pylon, singing, holding hands and dancing in a circle. Brookes and Goldthorpe are taken aback by the sight for three reasons: 1. It’s getting late. 2. There are no houses nearby, so the children are far from home. 3. They are wearing old-fashioned clothes.

As the security car draws to a stop, the children vanish. Brookes and Goldthorpe get out of the car to take a closer look, but there is no sign of the children and no footprints in the soft muddy ground to indicate that anyone has been there.

Perplexed, but not panicked, Brookes and Goldthorpe start to walk back to the car and that’s when they see the second strange sight of the evening. There’s a figure stood on Pearoyd Bridge looking down at them. Well, they assume it’s looking at them, because they can’t see a face. Dressed in what looks like a monks habit, with a cowl pulled over the head, the figure sends a chill down the spines of both men. They call out to it, but there is no response. The bridge is not yet connected to the Bypass so there’s no way they can get up there. Thinking they could be the butt of a practical joke, Brookes stays put, keeping watch of the figure, while Goldthorpe jumps in the car to try and catch the figure in the headlights.

Goldthorpe drives under the bridge and now behind the figure, maneuvers the car to face the bridge and turns on the full beam to illuminate whatever is on the bridge. Both guards are shocked as the car’s lights seem to shine straight through the body, until it slowly melts into the late summer air.

The guards don’t hesitate, Goldthorpe picks up Brookes and they head straight for the site office and call the Police. 

On the night of 11 September, experienced officers, PC Ellis and Special Constable Beet, drive onto the unlit Bypass to investigate if there is a rational explanation for the security guards account. It’s a beautiful clear night and the full moon provides some relief from what would have been total darkness.

Shortly after midnight, having been parked up for almost 20 minutes, both officers see a shadow move across a large pallet box near Pearoyd Bridge. They switch on the full beam to get a better look and wind down their windows to see if they can hear any movement. PC Ellis’ statement describes what happened next…

‘Suddenly I had a peculiar feeling – not like I’d ever had before, just as if someone had walked over my grave, because I just froze.’

‘It was odd, I went cold without knowing what was the matter. Then a few seconds after I had another feeling that someone was stood at the side of me and I turned my head slowly and could see that there was something stood by the side of the car. But as I turned quickly around there was nothing there. And at that very moment John (Beet) let out such a scream and hit me with him arm and I looked around and could see there was somebody stood there next to the car!’

In a split second, the figure then appeared at Beet’s window. Now petrified, the men just want to get away as quickly as possible. Ellis turns the key in the ignition, but the car splutter and stalls, he tries again and this time with more luck, but the car isn’t running right, the engine coughs, the car jerks and there’s a loud banging coming from the boot.

After a mile, feeling they are a safe distance from the Bypass and under the illumination of street lights, the officers get out of the car to catch their breath and see what is causing the pounding at the back of the car. They open the boot, only to discover that there was nothing inside.

The following day, PC Ellis makes an official report describing the events of the previous night as ‘inexplicable phenomena’. Following the opening of the Bypass, there have been hundreds of sighting, mainly of a faceless monk that hovers above the road and children wearing clothes from a long gone era.

Now nicknamed ‘Death Road’, the Stocksbridge Bypass has claimed almost one life for every year that it has been open. This is an unfortunate and sad statistic, but it’s also puzzling given it’s a short, unassuming stretch or road, with no significant dangerous bends or blind spots. It begs the question, how could it account for so many accidents and fatalities?