7 winter walks in and around Sheffield: best city and woodland trails from Rivelin Valley Park to Forge Dam

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Sheffield – with its hills and lush countryside – has been named as one of the best places in the UK for walking and hiking.

With Take A Walk Outdoors Day taking place today, Friday, January 20, wellness brand Goodrays has created a new index analysing the number of walks, the amount of green spaces and their quality and the city air quality to reveal the best cities to take that walk.

The north of the UK took the top spots with the best place to ‘Take A Walk Outdoors’ being Edinburgh which achieved full marks in the index, followed by Sheffield and Newcastle.

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With this in mind, we have pulled together a list of some of the city’s best walks incorporating woodlands, parks and trails.

Sheffield in Winter.Sheffield in Winter.
Sheffield in Winter.

Rivelin Valley Park

A popular park with families, there are plenty of woodland paths to explore at Rivelin Valley Park.

Follow the 4km tree-lined nature trail which runs alongside the rushing river. Along the way, you’ll pass miniature waterfalls and a series of weirs, and traverse stepping stones.

Look out for signs of the area’s rich milling history, as dams and wheel pits are dotted en route.

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The walk starts at the car park just off the Rivelin Valley Road, which is only about a 15-minute drive from Sheffield city centre.

Forge Dam

A kids’ wonderland, the woodland walk at Forge Dam will keep the little ones entertained all day.

Apart from the small playground and duck pond, the fun path which features waterfalls, bridges and stepping stones leads you through the trees until you get to Endcliffe Park after a few miles.

As the area is so secluded, it really does feel like something out of a fairytale - or maybe that’s thanks to the secret fairy tree door which you’ll spot along the way.

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It’s only a 15-minute drive from the city centre, so perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

Norfolk Heritage Park

The wide, ancient, tree-lined path at Norfolk Heritage Park is relatively short, but thanks to the adventure playground in the park it’s absolutely perfect for a family day out.

It’s a flat, incredibly straightforward route through the Jervis Lum Woods. There’s only some gentle hills, so the path is suitable for all ages and is also wheelchair-friendly.

No matter the weather, this is a great family or dog walk which is only a 15 minute drive from the city centre.

Ecclesall Woods

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If ancient woodlands are your thing, look no further than Ecclesall Woods - the largest ancient woodland in the whole of South Yorkshire.

With over 350-acres of mature, deciduous woodland, this huge area is made up of three separate woods which are crying out to be explored.

Choose from a plethora of exciting paths and bridleways - 15km worth to be exact - whether you fancy a walk or a cycle.

Located in Sheffield’s south-western corner, near the Peak District border, it’s only a 17 minute drive from the city centre.

Graves Park

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As the largest park in Sheffield, Graves park is bursting with woodland walks and there’s a multitude of places to see.

It’s a really popular area with families for obvious reasons - kids, and adults, will be delighted by the free animal farm and fantastic playground, and the woods are perfect for adventures and games.

We recommend packing a picnic lunch and making a full day of Graves Park, which is a 16 minute drive from Sheffield.

Greno Wood

More geared towards small children, the Enchanted Forest Trail in Greno Wood nature reserve will capture their imaginations and leave them wanting to come back time and time again.

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The little ones will have to spot the “green man” along the way, and there’s also challenges for them to complete like building homes for gnomes, finding the way out of labyrinths and overcoming obstacles.

It’s not just children who will enjoy the area, as the ancient woodland is 169 acres big, with multiple pathways to explore and wildlife to discover.

Walk, or cycle, along the Trans-Pennine Trail which runs right through the woods. There’s also three downhill mountain bike trails, including the renowned Steel City Run.

It’s a 21-minute car journey from Sheffield.

Longshaw Estate

Any Sheffield local will testify what a great day out Longshaw Estate is, and it’s only a 25 minute drive from the city centre.

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Run by the National Trust, there’s magical woodland areas, as well as open countryside space and Instagram-friendly views.

A tranquil woodland path around the estate was opened in 2017, which is suitable for all ages. Or, if you fancy a longer walk, the scenic Padley Gorge is only half a mile away through the fields.

For children, there’s nature play areas, fairy doors in trees, and natural dens. But, the thing they’ll get most excited about is the Boggart trail - there’s nine of the creatures’ homes for them to find around the estate.

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