Bike exploring: Help for Heroes
OS GetOutside Champion, Helen Pollard, takes us on a great Mountain Bike (MTB) route used as part of the delivery of MTB leadership training to Phoenix House staff in collaboration with Cycling UK.
7.7 km / 5 miles
#GetOutside Champions adventure
Free, on road parking available outside of Ecclesall woods.
Be sure you're winter-ready for your next chilly hike. GetOutside Champion Jessie Leong shares her top tips, plus a Limb Valley woodland route that's not to be missed this winter season.
Earlier this year, the UK saw the 'Beast from the East' hit with some fiercely cold weather, and the hidden valleys neighbouring the rocky edges of Sheffield became a walking winter wonderland.
As the temperature gauges plunge, the familiar feeling of FOMO will hit as winter walkers find themselves scrolling on their newsfeed for the first glimpses of the elusive snow dusting the mountain tops. Whilst it's still unknown whether we'll see round two of the winter conditions, here's my top tips on making sure you are 'winter ready' for your next winter hike.
It's essential to make sure you are well prepared with the suitable kit and equipment to head out into the outdoors and if in doubt, don't head out.
Escape the bustle of the city and find tranquillity amongst the trees a stone’s throw away from the city centre. Part of the Sheffield Round Walk, Limb Valley is a woodland wonder with plenty of history and options to extend.
Once part of an ancient border between Yorkshire and Derbyshire, the river Limb Brook dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era. It offers a leisurely yet explorative route through the woodlands rich in old growth. Its linear route makes it simple enough for a perfect ‘rainy day’ escape, plus less than 10 minutes drive away from Sheffield city centre on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
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Starting from Ecclesall woods, follow a residential tree lined road of Whirlow before reaching a small curved road with several different footpath entrants, known as Whirlow brook. Take the third footpath sign and follow the green ‘Sheffield Round Walk’ signs (denoted with an acorn) to explore the woodland area known as the Limb Valley.
Along the walk, see if you can spot the various bridges across the water - perfect for a moment’s rest and taking in the views as the path contours a gently rising valley.
Continue until you reach a right-hand fork, which involves a gentle climb uphill and out of the woodlands towards the hamlet of Ringinglow. Follow the footpath signs and top out on the old playing fields. With the woods behind you, this route provides a fantastic view over the city from a South West direction at 300m.
The next part of the route includes a walk alongside the main road - take care with passing traffic. There are options to continue along the road for 1.5km towards Ringinglow, where you can find the nearest pub, The Norfolk Arms to quench your thirst and grab some home-made food.
There are plenty of options to extend the route and spot the mountain bikers on the trails at Lady Cannings Plantation.
If you fancy exploring two free Mountain Bike Trails after the walk, there is free parking opposite ‘Lady Canning’s Plantation’, a coniferous woodland developed by Sheffield City Council and Ride Sheffield which offers mountain bikers a fantastic chance to develop their skills on two mountain biking trail routes at a blue grade called ‘ Blue Steel’ and ‘Cooking on Gas.’ Please note the woods is unsupervised.
Opposite the pub, join a footpath back towards the edge of Limb Valley. Take a left turn and re-join the woods, where the route will lead you downhill through some of Sheffield’s most intriguing forests. Don’t forget to take in and take in the variety of old mature woodlands, including beech, sycamore, ash and hazel trees.
With the Limb Brook on your right, retrace your steps towards Whirlow brook. There are options to take a footpath and extend the walk through Ecclesall woods to add an additional circuit before finishing back at the car.
Finish your walk by heading to the Woodland café, based in the Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods, which sells homemade cake, including vegan and gluten free options.
If you’re in the mood for a posh Sunday lunch post walk, The Summer House at Dore and Totley is a great place to sample a delicious roast dinner.
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