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A running tour of the Rivelin Valley

Illustration by Andy Welland.

One of Sheffield’s major selling points (and the reason why many of us would never leave) is its easy access to the beautiful countryside within, and just outside, its borders.

Our Favourite Places' illustrated Runners' Tour of Sheffield features maps and directions to local routes, giving a feel for the best areas, in and around Sheffield, for running and exploring. This Rivelin Valley route is the first of those runs – you'll find two more in the printed tour.

Think Rivelin Valley, think a quieter, wilder, more rugged and less polished Porter Valley – with significantly fewer pushchairs, promenaders, hipster dogs (and their owners) and tarmacked paths. The Rivelin Valley is easily accessible from the S10 and S6 postcodes and, depending on where you join, provides a 3.5 mile picturesque riverside route along a wooded valley, running out towards the Peak District.

The main route, starting from Rivelin Valley Park (which includes a superb cafe and newly refurbished paddling pools – perfect for a family trip with young kids) follows the twists and turns of the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail. A short way from the start, look out for the iron chair, designed by local artist Jason Thompson and crafted from coppice wood – reflecting the industry that pre-dates the cast iron industry that once resided here between the water mills.

Predominantly on mud and aggregate paths, the Valley can be followed all the way out to Rivelin Mill Bridge, where Rivelin Valley Road meets Manchester Road (A57). At this point you can turn back down the Rivelin Valley, choosing the main path or one of the many other routes along and up the valley sides, following them back down towards Rivelin Park and Malin Bridge, or one of the many routes up the hillside towards home.

The Rivelin Valley is a real hidden gem, just on the city's doorstep. With a character all of its own, it changes through the seasons and there’s always something new to discover and stumble across: waterfalls, stepping stones, rope swings, wildlife, overgrown cemeteries, ponds, art work, foraging foods, and the remnants of the variety of industries which frequented and moulded the valley in the not-so-distant past.

Local peoples’ poet and all round top bloke, Ebenezer Elliott, nicely summed up the valley in his poem Farewell to Rivelin:

Beautiful river! goldenly shining,
Where, with the cistus, woodbines are twining,
Birklands around thee, mountains above thee,
Rivelin wildest! Do I not love thee.

Written by Luke Wilson



Start: Rivelin Valley Park, S6 5GL.
Distance: 10km.
Terrain: Mud, rocks, gravel.
Shoe type: Old/trail shoes.
Route map: Order a copy of Our Favourite Places' Runners' Tour of Sheffield.
Useful links: Rivelin Valley Conservation Group for news, events and guidebooks.
Where to eat & drink: Coffee and a big slice of cake at Rivelin Park Cafe.

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