Explore and Discover Sheffield
Guest blogger and intrepid explorer Ruth Thomas has boots made for walking, she also knows that as well as a loiter in Kelham Island or Weston Park Museum, there are other ways to get your fill of fascinating facts about Sheffield past and present. It’s time for some active culture vulturing ahead of Walk Sheffield 2011:
Walking is a means of discovery. On foot you can experience more about a city than you would ever realise when passing through by car or on the bus. When you walk all the detail is up close and visible – notices in shop windows, history, architecture, plants and trees, litter, people and ways of life. Living in Sheffield some of us know we are lucky to have the Peak District on our doorstep, but sometimes we neglect to explore the rich, varied, gritty and beautiful spaces within the city itself.
14th – 22nd May is Walk Sheffield. The programme is packed with a series of interesting led walks exploring history, views, nature in all parts of the city, a great chance to discover the hidden gems of Sheffield and have someone else show you the way.
Sheffield is one of the most wooded cities in the UK containing within it’s boundary at least 35 ancient woods. An Ancient Wood has a precise scientific meaning – a wood that from documentary and landscape evidence is know to have existed since at least 1600. The demand for charcoal the fuel that fired the blast furnaces of the Industrial Revolution – left Sheffield with a substantial legacy of ancient woodland. You can explore some of these woods on Bluebell walks in Cordwell Valley (14th May), the Secret Valley walk in the Woodhouse Area (16th May) and Woolley Wood (17th and 19th May).
Sheffield also has 83 parks – the massive lungs of the city. Some are relics of the time when Sheffielders desperately needed to escape the industrial smog. Looking at a map of Sheffield parks, some cover huge areas – especially the 81 hectare, Parkwood Springs – to be visited during Walk Sheffield on a walk entitled “A Rubbish Walk”!, so named because the gorgeous woodland, heath which is Parkwood Springs is cut into two by a landfill site, due to close in the future, which will then leave the area as the biggest country park in Sheffield. This walk also visits Wardsend Cemetery – an abandoned and hidden Victorian cemetery near the River Don. The only cemetery in the country to be bisected by a railway line! Sheffield’s history is hiding at almost every turn in the path.
You can sack off the satnav and reclaim the city by exploring ginnels, pathways and hidden routes that you may not normally use to get from A to B. You may have walked from Endcliffe Park to Forge Dam, but have you explored the fantastic Roe Woods in Burngreave, the city centre views from the Cholera Monument on the Norfolk Heritage Trail (Walk Sheffield Walk on 15th May) or the Shirebrook Valley? Well, dust off yer boots and come for an explore.
Walk Sheffield 14-22 Mayexplore, Sheffield, walk