The moorland in and around south-western Sheffield acts as a link between the city and the wider Peaks. Much of this vast space is in public or charitable ownership and as such is accessible and well-maintained.
These areas offer great walking and, in certain spots, mountain biking, all year round; whether it’s in spring, when new life returns to the area, through to late summer when much of the area gets a deep dusting of purple heather bloom, to winter, when the expansive landscape feels more exposed to the elements.
Blacka Moor, less than 20 minutes from the city centre, is a remarkable place. Made up of both moorland and forest, this area is the largest of the Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves, with 181 hectares of land providing home to a huge range of migrant birds including willow warblers, cuckoos and black caps. It’s also a great spot to see majestic red deer – Britain’s largest mammal, just a few miles from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Meanwhile the Moorland Discovery Centre, set in the Longshaw Estate, is a great place for families, schools and youth groups to learn more about the environment that surrounds Sheffield. Close to Padley Gorge, the discovery centre delivers environmental education sessions but also organises regular events for the community. It also holds twice-monthly volunteer days, where people can help conserve the nature reserve by doing things like removing invasive species and improving paths.
A little further out, near Hathersage, are the Burbage Moors. The Burbage Moors are managed by Sheffield City Council and are designated a Special Area of Conservation. The area has undergone some recent work to improve access and reintroduce native species, resulting in a beautiful and varied landscape – right on Sheffield's doorstep. Meanwhile the nearby North Lees estate incorporates both literary connections (the hall is thought to have provided inspiration for Charlotte Brontë when writing Jane Eyre) and a dramatic landscape, dominated by the imposing cliffs of Stanage Edge.