Walk for half an hour in any direction in Sheffield and you’ll most likely wander through at least one of its 200-plus parks, woodlands or public gardens. If you’re lucky, you might even get lost in one of them.
The UK’s Greenest City is a title that surprises many who have yet to visit Sheffield and have misguided perceptions about the so-called "industrial north".
Ironically, we have the city's industrial heritage to thank for its hundreds of beautiful leafy, grassy, flower-filled municipal areas. The process of making steel requires lots of heat, which in turn requires lots of fuel, so at the peak of Sheffield’s industrial dominance, the city made sure it had lots of trees. Meanwhile places like the glorious Botanical Gardens were developed to act as "lungs of the city", offering Sheffielders a place to breathe clean air away from the factory chimneys. Today, much of the steel industry has gone, but one of its legacies is this array of green gifts, strewn across the city in different shapes and sizes.
Graves Park in southern Sheffield is one of the biggest, incorporating an animal farm, woodland, lakes, and expansive grassed areas where you can play games, have a picnic or soak up views that'll fool you into believing you’re deep into the countryside.
At the other end of the scale, there is the pocket park on the Upper Don Walk near the Wicker – a tidy, compact place to enjoy a lunch break and watch the ducks splashing about in the river.
Endcliffe Park is one of Sheffield’s most popular, owing to its proximity to the city centre and the range of shops, cafes and restaurants along Ecclesall Road. Here, you’ll find a children’s play area, a parkour course, a charming cafe and some pleasant walking through the woods. Follow the river through the park and away from the city centre for long enough, and you’ll be in the Peak District.
The Bolehill Recreation Ground, in Crookes, has a more remote, more exposed feel to it, but offers stunning views to the west, where city and country merge.