11 December 2015

A crisp winter’s day is one of the most beautiful times to explore Sheffield: The Outdoor City.

And as if the city’s 800 green spaces, including 95 parks and recreation grounds, weren’t enough of a temptation on their own, there’s a packed schedule of activities running throughout the cold December and January days to tempt even the most reluctant of walkers, runners and bikers out of their cosy living rooms.

Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “Here in Sheffield we are so lucky to have such an abundance of beautiful, green open spaces. And with most people having some time off work to spend with their families over the festive period, it really is a perfect time to get out and about and explore.

“We are very proud of our growing status as The Outdoor City and have so many different places just waiting to be discovered, from woodlands to landscaped gardens, play areas to open moorland.

“I hope Sheffielders take the opportunity this winter to get outdoors and enjoy some of our city’s very greatest assets.”

Tomorrow (Saturday 12 December) is the annual Winter Fayre at Heeley City Farm, complete with attractions including live music, a Santa’s Grotto, crafts, children’s activities, refreshments from local independent producers and the chance to hire a Christmas tree. The event runs from 11am to 3pm.

On Sunday, 13 December, fun runners will come together in the Peace Gardens to “Chase The Pud” in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Those wishing to take part should register in the Winter Garden between 9.30am and 10.30am, and every runner is provided with a Santa suit to wear.

During the weekends running up to Christmas, various activities will be taking place at Ecclesall Woods, including a festive woodland trail, craft demonstrations, carol singing and handbell ringing. The sessions run from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 12 December, Sunday 13 December, Saturday 19 December and Sunday 20 December.

Tomorrow, Christmas wreath making will take place outside the Woodland Discovery Centre between 11am and 2pm, and there will be a mobile-making session for families at the same time on Sunday, 13 December. There is also a pop-up shop open at the Discovery Centre on Thursdays to Sundays on the run up to Christmas.

Also tomorrow, Activity Sheffield will be hosting an “Activities on Tour” session at Cookson Park football pitch, off Wordsworth Avenue in Parson Cross, between 1.30pm and 3pm. Activities at the free event will include sports challenges such as football, basketball and dodgeball.

And on Sunday (13 December) visitors at Sheffield Manor Lodge will be able to visit a 1940s house decorated for Christmas and meet Father Christmas between 12noon and 3pm.

Sheffield Wildlife Trust will be running its regular work days for volunteers throughout the winter, including sessions at Blacka Moor on Thursday 17 December, Greno Woods on Friday, 18 December, Wyming Brook on Tuesday 5 January and Blacka Moor again on Saturday 9 January.

Volunteers are invited to go along for a full session between 10am and 3pm or just for an hour, and tasks vary from footpath improvements and access work to habitat and vegetation management. For further information, visit the website at www.wildsheffield.com

Meanwhile, regular Saturday 5k Parkruns will continue throughout the winter at Concord, Endcliffe, Graves, Manor Fields, Hillsborough parks. The runs, which are open to runners, joggers and walkers of all abilities, begin at 9am each Saturday. For more information – including details of special Christmas Day and New Year’s Day parkruns – visit www.parkrun.org/uk

Friends groups are also running festive activities including Friends of Firth Park which is holding a Christmas sing along on Monday, 14 December between 6pm and 7pm in Firth Park next to the clock tower. As well as the singing, hot soup, mulled wine and mince pies will be available.

Sheffield is officially one of Europe’s greenest cities, with a third of the city’s boundary within the Peak District National Park and two million trees – four for every person.

In 2015, the city was also top of the table for the number of Green Flag Awards in Yorkshire and the Humber, with 14 parks winning the coveted prize.

These were Devonshire Green, Ecclesall Woods, Firth Heritage Park, Meersbrook Park, the Peace Gardens, the Botanical Gardens, the Winter Garden, Wheata Woods, Millhouses Park, Norfolk Heritage Park, Weston Park, Tinsley Green, Manor Fields Park and the Cholera Monument Grounds and Clay Wood.

While most of the sites had received Green Flag Awards before, this year was the first year that Manor Fields Park, which was still derelict wasteland just 15 years ago, was recognised. The green space off City Road has been transformed into a landscaped park complete with a lake, children’s play area, footpaths and planting.

Green Flag Community Awards were also awarded to Heeley City Farm and Sheffield City Council, for Heeley City Farm, Firth Park Community Allotment, Norfolk Park Community Garden, Wortley Hall Walled Garden, Devon Gardens and Grenoside Green.

Cllr Richards added: “2015 really was a bumper year for Sheffield’s status as The Outdoor City, with nationally and internationally-renowned events such as the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and the European Outdoor Summit attracting delegates from across the world.

“For the first time, we have really started to build Sheffield’s reputation as The Outdoor City, and use this unique offer to bring in more business and tourism.

“With a third of the city boundaries within the Peak District National Park, a greater spend per head on outdoor equipment than the rest of the UK, an above average participation rate in outdoor pursuits and more than 200 outdoor businesses, the outdoor economy has huge significance to our city – and I look forward to seeing this grow further in 2016.”