Sunday 3 January 2010

A City Walk

Hubby and I discovered this walk a few years ago when we dropped the kids off at the cinema and decided to walk from Attercliffe (a suburb of Sheffield ) into the city centre itself, along the canal towpath. Now this walk is littered along the way with hazards - litter being one of them ironically!! and its certainly not pretty for most of the way, but I think it is a really interesting walk. Tell me what you think.
The Sheffield and Tinsley Canal was opened in 1814 to carry boats to the city centre from the navigable bit of the river Don. Its only about 7 miles long and in its hey day, before the railway came along. It has several industrial looking, but pretty bridges along the towpath.

It also features a very famous film set. Can anybody guess which film this stretch of the canal featured in? If you need a further clue, try here.
The canal was totally frozen over from start to finish. Once in the city centre, the canal turns into a huge basin called Victoria Quays. I don't know what this building used to be, I'll have to do some digging.

The basin is home to lots of houseboats that are actually lived in, a couple of houseboat hotels and a couple of pleasure boats that are for private hire. The whole area fell into decay and disrepair in the 1970's, but it got a fabulous makeover in the early 1990's. They have turned some of the buildings into apartments, but they have left many of the original features in place. It really is a fantastic site, and I think they should really do more with it.

This is "The Straddle" - a warehouse that straddled the canal.

This is part of the "Grain Store" - if you peep in, you can see the massive hoppers that held the grain. Grain was brought to Sheffield as we had big bakeries and also several really large Breweries - sadly all gone. I say sadly, but when I was little. I hated this part of Sheffield because of the smell - it used to smell like "school dinner carrots"!!! It was the hops from the nearby brewery.

This is "Merchants Crescent" and was for the Coal Merchants - this pretty row is now used as offices.
I loved the old clock.
Once in Sheffield, you can cross the road and walk beck up to Attercliffe via the "5 Weirs walk" along the industrial river Don - obviously not navigable at this stage, because of the weirs. Modern bridges have been built so that you can walk alongside - and even over the river at this point. Can you see what is hanging over the bridge, under the railway arch?

A huge stainless steel spider. There were 3 of these.

A bit further up river is an area called "Salmon Pastures". Before the river was heavily polluted by the Steel Works, salmon were very common apparently. These days, there is no heavy industry alongside the river, and fish are now returning here. I don't think any salmon have been spotted yet though. I remember on a tour of the Steel Works museum being told that they pumped hundreds of gallons of Arsenic into the Don in the early days. There was an old saying that if you fell into the Don, you would be killed by pollution before you drowned!
At Salmon Pastures, the old Stone plaque from the school remains.

One of the weirs is Sanderson Weir. It was constructed in 1580 by the Earl of Shrewsbury who was the husband of Bess of Hardwick. He constructed it to power the production of Iron products (I think).

I looked back down the river as the sun was setting, a bit prematurely because of the snow cloud that was approaching.

You can't beat a walk immersed in industrial history on a cold but clear winters day.


Jennyff said...

Such an interesting walk, I love that industrial landscape. Such a pity people drop litter and have no respect for such a great urban escape.

Michela said... forgot to tell us the title of the film! xxx

Rowan said...

This is so interesting, I love places where there is history to be seen, I keep thinking I should go and see the area around Victoria Quays but have never made it up to now. There are so many fascinating things to see if you just look for them. I know the film but won't spoil it for others by saying what it is:)

Rosie said...

Diane, that was so interesting. I think I know which film it is;) I remember parking in that area of the canal where the merchants houses are - must have been about 4 years ago - we had coffee in a hotel there before Paul had a meeting nearby and I walked up into the city centre to the Graves Art Gallery and the Winter Gardens. I love all your photos and like you find walking along canals fascinating especially in former industrial areas. Based on what I have read on your blog I have a long list of places to visit when we are next in and around Sheffield - we may have to spend several days there! Thankyou:)

The Girl said...

Another great walk with great photos. You need to be named as Sheffield's Ambassador!

Love the idea of a houseboat hotel, definitely one to look into.


Beautiful photos ... but it looks too cold for me!

Rebecca said...

I've guessed the film! I love the smell of hops, the spider looked so good. x

BadPenny said...

ooh thank you Diane - I have never been to Sheffield.
The buildings are fabulous & the bridge very pretty - I'm glad it has had restoration & regeneration.
I'd love to stay on a canal boat one day.

School dinner carrots - phew I can smell them now !!!

lesley said...

Hello Diane, I'm not sure about the name of the film, but Sheaf Quay is an old mill house from the Victorian least I think so...I tend to look up everything I can about Sheffield as it's my maiden name & I love history, I have to visit one day! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas & we wish you a very Happy New Year! xx

Lisa said...

A very interesting walk, so much to see and learn about. I do love the houseboat hotels, they look very cosy.
I guessed the film!!
Lisa x

Heloise said...

It looks like an Interesting walk and the photographs are great.

Lyn said...

I don't know how I missed this post! very interesting walk, and I like walking along canal tow paths-they are flat!!!