Little remains of the medieval Beauchief (pronounced: bee-chiff) Abbey today. Dedicated to saint and martyr Thomas Becket in the 12th century, the abbey’s original tower is now incorporated into a 17th century church. The rest of its foundations and fishponds lay among the surrounding graveyard, while much of the abbey’s estate is now taken up by golf courses.
An almost 2-mile linear route starting at Beauchief Abbey is published in Easy Going Trails – a booklet containing 20 short walks on sturdy, generally level paths, with benches at regular intervals, in and around Sheffield.
Starting slightly uphill, follow the trail through the grounds of what was once the abbey’s parkland, on tarmac and stone road and tracks. The trail will take you to Park Bank Wood, an area dominated by oak, with specimens of beech, birch, sycamore and holly too. Look out for the ditch along the bottom of the wood; dating back to at least 1500, it was built to keep animals from eating away at the fresh shoots of coppiced woodland. From the seat here, enjoy the views over the golf course, out towards Woodseats. You’ll spot Beauchief Hall, built in 1671 using stone from the abbey’s ruins of the abbey when it was closed by order of Henry VIII.
Pass ponds, ancient woodland, and a ha-ha (a concealed garden ditch) along the way – just watch out for stray golf balls.