Sheffield Round Walk

Nearly 10 years ago I was idly browsing the local travel section of the Sheffield library and saw a leaflet called the Sheffield Round Walk. It looked interesting, so I borrowed it and photocopied the route from it. Somehow I never got round to actually doing it, and so the route sat idly in my folder of walking routes. Every so often when flicking through the folder, I’d come across it and think “I really should give it a go.” But I was always put off by the fact that I live so close to the Peak District, and it always seemed like a poor man’s alternative to walk around the outskirts of the city when I could be out properly in the hills.

Recently, however, a friend who I go walking with, and who lives in Manchester, suggested that one time we should go out somewhere within walking distance of my house, so we didn’t have to drive or get the train. I agreed, but then forgot about it again until I arranged a weekend for 2 other friends: one from Manchester and one from Southampton. Ironically, Ann, who had suggested the walk in the first place, couldn’t make it. On the Saturday we went mountain biking around Derwent, and I suggested we try the Sheffield Round Walk on the Sunday, since they would both be staying with me that night. We were all pretty shattered after the mountain biking (or at least I was, since it was the first time I’d been out on my bike for more than a year), and a late night fuelled with alcohol and board games probably didn’t help any of us the following day. I knew the Round Walk was 14 miles, and that the starting point was in Endcliffe Park, not too far from my house. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that walking to the start, and back after we’d finished, would add another 4+ miles on (especially as I decided to take them the more scenic route to the start!)

Endcliffe Park

Endcliffe Park

I was a little apprehensive that we wouldn’t enjoy the scenery so much, being used to fabulous days out in the hills, and was a little worried it wouldn’t be very strenuous, but while it wasn’t particularly hilly, there were a few challenges nevertheless, and the distance certainly made up for the relative flatness!

Elevation of the walk

Elevation of the walk

The walk starts in Hunters Bar, progresses through Endcliffe Park and along the Porter valley to Ringinglow. and then descends through the Limb valley and Ecclesall Woods to Abbeydale Road, before climbing through Ladies Spring Wood to Graves Park. There were plenty of beautiful vistas, however, since most of the walk is through parks and forest, and at one point takes you right out into the Peaks itself (around Ringinglow).

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Ladies’ Spring Wood

The walk then passes through the Gleadless valley, Meersbrook Park and Chelsea Park before returning to the start point at Hunters Bar. The first and second sections are certainly the most beautiful, while the last two sections are rather less pretty, and pass through some pretty grimy bits of Sheffield, but the view from Meersbrook Park makes it totally worthwhile.

View of Sheffield from Meersbrook Park

View of Sheffield from Meersbrook Park

After that, the final stretch is rather boring and we were all wishing it to end as we trudged up and down the hills through various residential areas. By this point, I knew what was coming as we had the final steep section to ascend back from Hunters Bar to Crookes. Luckily my two companions were unaware of exactly what it entailed, or I might have had a mutiny.

We typically walk fairly fast, especially on the flat, and we barely stopped except for map checking, and a quick 10 minute sitdown opposite Beauchief Golf Course to eat our sandwiches. The actual walk took us about 5 1/2 hours, though if we hadn’t been tired from the previous day, and had to check the map so many times, I reckon we’d have done it in 5. While it is largely signposted (look for the acorns!), sometimes you do have to check the map or hunt around for the signs (and the official map and directions are pretty crummy – I’d recommend an OS map too or a GPS to be sure).

Definitely one to do again, though worthwhile to wait for a clear day just for the views when you do get out of the woods. Spring and autumn are supposed to be best, because of the flowers, but I’m thinking on a crisp winter’s day when the snow is lying and the skies are clear, it could be stunning.

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4 Responses to Sheffield Round Walk

  1. Ben says:

    It’s a lovely walk indeed, my wife and I do it every year on her birthday, as we live pretty much on the route through Bingham Park. We wonder at what age we’ll have to give it up – plenty of years left in us yet, we hope!

    A have a major piece of advice, however; I’d advise anyone considering the walk to walk it in the opposite direction to the ‘usual’ one, or clockwise rather than anti-clockwise when you look at it on a map.

    There are two reasons for this, both of them excellent. The first is that if you are starting at Hunter’s Bar, if you first head through residential streets to Chelsea Park rather than heading up the Porter Valley, you get some of the most street-based parts of the walk (the least lovely parts) out of the way early on, when you are fresh. So, instead of the end of the walk being a little scenically disappointing when you are knackered and emotionally vulnerable, it gets steadily more and more beautiful, and finishes with a long, easy decent through Witely Woods and Endcliffe Park.

    The second and slightly more important reason is that walking clockwise means you get to the Norfolk Arms at Ringinglow, at the highest point of the walk after ascending the spectacular Limb Valley, just in time to have a pint and a rest of your pleasantly aching legs, before the approx 1 hour gentle decent as described above. It’s actually against the law not to visit a pub, at or towards the end, of such a walk. You wouldn’t want to break the actual law, now.

  2. Paul Garbett says:

    Thank you both for the description – I’ve been looking for some information on this walk since I discovered it recently on a return trip to my home town of old (it is over 40 years since I moved away). I hope to lay my hands on said leaflet but they sure don’t make it easy. I have done part of it recently – the ‘start’ to Forge Dam and it triggered so many memories of my childhood and teenage years that it led me to looking at the entire route. I was pleased to see that the majority of it is essentially the story of my outdoor life growing up in Sheffield. I’m hoping to devote a day to it in the near future.

    The original description ‘haredend’ my resolve but the advice about doing it ‘backwards’ is a stroke of genius – it makes much more sense to do it that way.

    I will, if I remember, let you know when I’ve done it

    • dianamaynard says:

      Thanks very much for the comments, glad you liked the piece. Do let me know when you do it! I actually did it again recently as part of the Sheffield Walking Festival last year, this time with a large group and a leader who knew where he was going, which certainly helped!

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