Channel your inner child with a visit to Rivelin Valley

For a free and fun day out for all the family, Rivelin Valley has it all.

One the edge of Hillsborough linking Sheffield to the Peak District, Rivelin Valley has long been a popular place for its natural beauty and serene waterside location.

Along with waterfalls, paddling spots and an abundance of wildlife, Rivelin Valley is also home to a play area, water splash zone, café and toilets, making it a children’s haven, especially in the summer.

Go nature exploring through the woodland, play pooh sticks down the river, criss-cross over the stepping stones, or dip your toes in the cool, fresh water.

The area has been protected by the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group for the last 30 years who have worked to encourage wildlife habits and reverse the decline of the nature trail.

The Rivelin Valley nature and heritage trail is a three-mile straight route that covers a series of beautiful riverside walks mixing nature and industry.

Lined by ruins and remnants of industry, Rivelin Valley is steeped in historical and archaeological interest. There are remains of 20 watermills and 21 mill dams from as early as the 16th century, which played a key role in Sheffield’s cutlery and steel industries. As these industries became less dependent on waterpower and the mills moved to more accessible areas of the city, the valley has slowly been reclaimed by nature.

Now a quirky old chair like something from a fairy tale has replaced the water wheels. The sculpture is the work of artist Jason Thomson, whose aim was to mix up the countryside and industrial past. It looks like it’s made from tree roots but is actually sculpted from steel. The chair is situated on a small island in the river and can only be accessed by a short trail of stepping stones from the river bank, but is worth seeing the next time you take a stroll in Rivelin Valley.

The paths along the trail mainly pass through woodland, with trees such as Alder, Ash, Beech, Holly and Oak. If you look carefully, you will find various types of plants, trees, birds and animals, providing endless opportunities for budding nature photographers.

Birds such as Blackbird, Great tit, Long-tailed tit, Robin and Wren are regularly seen amongst the trees. Others such as Dipper, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher and Mallard can be found along the river or at the water-filled mill dams. At dusk look out for bats patrolling the river or flying low over the mill dams.

Plenty of picnic spots can be found at Rivelin Valley, but there is also a café and toilets by the play area. From June to September, the water splash area will be open every weekend and also daily during the school holidays.

Ample free parking is available on the roadside as well as the signposted car park. Use SAT NAV code S6 6GF. For access via public transport, buses and trams from Sheffield take you to Malin Bridge which is just a short walk away.

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