As summer ends, it’s tempting to get box-sets and blankets ready, but why not consider putting on some knitwear and going for a walk instead? You can socially distance, without any walls or table bookings. Although you may need to take public transport to get there and wear a face mask, you should feel free from Covid-19 restrictions… even if it’s just for a little bit.
There are beautiful sights in and around Sheffield. Sheffield is full of hills, but there are still walks that walks below are quite flat. Some of the paths are narrow for social distancing, but people usually follow a ‘you go first-no you go first’ policy. This is also a fantastic opportunity to explore places in the city which you may have overlooked in the chaos of living a conventional university life.
Five Weirs Walk
This walk and cycle route follows the River Don, and canal, in between Sheffield’s city centre and Meadowhall. The walk was a part of a regeneration project, including a clean-up of the river and the surrounding areas. There are locks, and bridges and Victorian buildings, some of which were previously mills and forges. You can start or end the walk at Victoria Quays, which is home to canal boats, in addition to being able to stoppable and you can stop or start the walk with a visit to the Dorothy Pax pub.
Where: Start at Victoria Quays which is close to Park Square roundabout and Castlegate, or start the walk at one of the tram stops between Cricket In Road and Meadowhall.
The Botanical Gardens, Clarkhouse Road, Broomhall
There is ample room for social distancing at Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens, which spans across 19 acres. They are an idyllic setting for breaking the ice with new flatmates or catching up with friends whom you may not have seen since March. After you have crossed its sloping lawns, vibrant flowers and elegant trees, there are many spots which are perfect for relaxing with a picnic. It is worth noting that Admission is free.
The Peak District National Park
A visit to the Peak District National Park should be on the bucket list of every University of Sheffield student – Mam Tor, Stanage Edge and Ladybower Reservoir are merely a handful of the landmarks which offer breath-taking views and unique geographical features. The Peak District lies 15 miles from the town centre, which minimises the chance of virus transmission. However, despite its remote location, it is only a 20-minute drive from the Students’ Union Building.
A walk in Rivelin Valley takes you on a nature and industrial heritage walk along the River Rivelin. Dotted along the river are remains of watermills and mill dams – a key part of Sheffield’s cutlery and steel industry from the 16th to 19th century. Not much is left of these mills, but there is signage posted to make you realise the importance of the steel industry. Paths go through woodland, and follow the river all the way to Rivelin Reservoir. One of the nicest parts about walking in the Rivelin Valley is that you’re surrounded by trees, water and birds and it seems like you’re not in a city at all.
Where: Take the blue line tram to Malin Bridge. There is an entrance to a short walk away, at the bottom of Stannington Road. There are lots of other entry points along Rivelin Valley too.
The Damsflask Reservoir is a circular walk and is really tranquil and picturesque with panoramic views., It is situated just inside the boundaries of the Peak District National Park. There are places available for you to sit down for something to eat around the reservoir, (depending on the water levels), so take snacks!.
Where: You can start the walk in at the village of Low Bradfield, or at Loxley Road which is closest to Sheffield city centre. Take the blue or yellow line tram to Hillsborough, then the 61/62 bus towards Low Bradfield. There is parking around the reservoir, and at Low Bradfield.
Graves Park Animal Farm, Hemsworth Road
This spacious farm park in South West Sheffield allows for an interesting yet safe day out. The park houses some of the rarest breeds of farm animals in the country – you can greet Tamworth Pigs, Highland cattle and Jacob sheep in addition to donkeys and waterfowl. In order to limit the spread of the virus, you must book a 45-minute time slot in advance.
Sheffield Winter Gardens, 90 Surrey Street
The Winter Gardens allow for a soothing retreat from the bustling university campus. Its building is one of the largest temperate glasshouses in the UK and holds more than 2000 plants from all over the world. Entry is free.