Surrounding an old mill, on the site of what once was a quarry, now stands 750 acres of parkland and 170 acres of open water fit for exploration – whether on foot, by bike, on the miniature railway, or in a peddle boat.
The list of Things to Do at Rother Valley Country Park, at the south-east edge of Sheffield, has gotten longer by the year since it first opened in 1983. Offerings now including water skiing, canoeing, joining a dog club, bird spotting (over 260 species have been found here), visiting the crafts centre, having a BBQ, zorbing, climbing the adventure playground, and having a go at archery. One of the family activities the park's best for, though, is cycling.
RVCP has three bike-specific trails of varying difficulty levels and terrains, making it a good place for beginners to get to grips with wheels away from traffic. Stick to the gentle, weather-proof routes after a rainy day – the more difficult ones can get pretty tricky in the mud. The park also hires out cycles that should suit every member of the family – from standard mountain bikes to two-seaters, tandems to wheelchair-adapted bikes. And as well as the paths and bridle ways within the park itself, RVCP also connects up with outside routes like the Trans Pennine Trail and National Cycle Networks – meaning you can easily make a bigger day of it after starting out here.
Enjoy the ride, and listen out for the call of the warblers overhead.