Sheffield Snow: I walked from city centre to Crosspool, and found traffic chaos and caring humanity

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I walked from Sheffield city centre to snowbound hill village, finding traffic chaos, but caring community spirit

We're a city built on hills in Sheffield.

And when the snow comes, we all know what that means. And today that was traffic chaos as buses and cars struggled - but joy for others as sledging and snowball fights become an option again.

Often, you can arrive in the city centre, and see little of the snow. But when you head a few miles out, into the city's famous hills, things change pretty quickly.

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West Street had little snow when we set off. PIcture: David Kessen, National WorldWest Street had little snow when we set off. PIcture: David Kessen, National World
West Street had little snow when we set off. PIcture: David Kessen, National World | National World

As the snow first started to arrive at our office in the city centre, I decided to find out how dramatic the change would be - by taking a walk out to one of those lofty villages on the higher ground.

Heading out of the office at 11.20am, there was a smattering of snow on the ground on Carver Street. It was just starting to stick, but it was not a problem. It had been settling on the grass at the nearby Pounds Park for a while, but no one was there.

I headed off along West Street towards the distant hills. There was snow on the pavement, but little on the roads, as the cars, buses and trams made their way easily along the road.

Gritting in Broomhill. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldGritting in Broomhill. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Gritting in Broomhill. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

Away from the bustling city centre, the layer of white started to get more visible on the other side of the ring road, the other side of Glossop Road.

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Things still appeared fine on the travel stakes, but signs of problems elsewhere soon became apparent, when a 120 bus came down one of the streets, bearing the sign: "Snow Diversion - Please check with driver."

By this point you could already feel the difference on the ground, as the snow felt crunchy under foot.

Caring residents push a stranded car on Manchester Road, Broomhill. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldCaring residents push a stranded car on Manchester Road, Broomhill. Picture: David Kessen, National World
Caring residents push a stranded car on Manchester Road, Broomhill. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

By the Hallamshire Hospital, the snow could be seen to be building up.

Walking on, and up Glossop Road into Broomhill, the first signs of problems began to appear. At the traffic lights at the top of Glossop Road, the sound of wheels spinning as tyres struggled to grip was apparent for the first time.

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There was perhaps an inch of snow on the ground at that time, and distinctly more snow on the road.

From Broomhill I took the steeper option, heading up Manchester Road towards Crosspool.

Before I had really left Broomhill, I saw staff at Broomhill surgery clearing snow with shovels, and spreading grit outside.

A dad and daughter head off to go sledging in Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldA dad and daughter head off to go sledging in Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World
A dad and daughter head off to go sledging in Sheffield. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

The receptionist said she was trying to make it easier for patients to get in and out without falling. She added: "People do still need to see their GP so we're making it easier to get in and out of the surgery.

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"It's been a bit difficult trying to get to work," she said. "I don't know how we're going to get home from work, but it will not stop us, we'll carry on."

Another few yards on, problems were clearly building up on Manchester Road by 12.05pm

Two men were pushing a red car up the hill, which was making little progress. I put the camera down at that point to lend a hand, along with the two other community minded men. The car moved a little further, but was clearly having problems.

School pupils push a bus stuck in snow in Crosspool. Picture: David Kessen, National WorldSchool pupils push a bus stuck in snow in Crosspool. Picture: David Kessen, National World
School pupils push a bus stuck in snow in Crosspool. Picture: David Kessen, National World | National World

It was not the only one. Several cars could be seen at the side of the road with hazard lights flashing.

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One motorist told us he had been forced to abandon his vehicle.

He said: "I set off back early from work to work from home this afternoon. I got as far as here, and the road is just too bad. I've had to abandon my vehicle. it's got a bit worse than I was expecting . I'd have set off an hour earlier if I'd known."

By contrast, a dad was pulling his daughter along Manchester Road, after Tapton School had closed early. He said: "I'm a builder, and my van's stuck at a house in Crosspool. The van is left there, We're travelling to the other side of Sheffield, and then we're just going to go sledging all afternoon."

We finally arrived in Crosspool. Traffic problems were clearly an issue, with a column of cars extending all the way to Broomhill, and as far as the eye could see in the other direction.

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A bus appeared to be stuck at the top of Selbourne Road, one of the side roads.

It found help in the unexpected form of a group of school children. The youngsters gathered behind to try to shove the struggling vehicle, showing again the caring community spirit that the snow brings out in this city.

Finally, the bus gained some grip, and made it to the top of Selbourne Road, where it turned right, as though to head back into the city centre.

At that point I had gone far enough. I had seen the dramatic difference a couple of miles makes, and heading back on foot to our city centre office.

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What had we seen? We had seen how quickly Sheffield's landscape can change from a smattering of snow to a heavy fall.

We had seen the havoc that snow can quickly bring to those who are trying to get around on the city's roads. And that havoc soon backs up into the city centre as cars struggle and queues lengthen.

But we had also seen how the city is ready to muck-in when adversity strikes. Those who were gritting outside the GP surgery, and those who were doing what they could to help stricken motorists, as the city battles its first heavy snowfall of this year, all showed the snow can bring the best out in people.

But although the sledging may be fun, most of us will be glad to see the snow gone.

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