Prev Next

Family Walks to Explore Industrial Sheffield: Rivelin Trail

Posted on by Website Administrator

Image: Scenery along the Rivelin Trail

Scenery along the Rivelin Trail

Sheffield’s landscape has vastly changed since the days of its renowned steel making industry. However, if you know where to look, you can find echoes of its incredible industrial heritage at every turn! Kelham Island Museum is located in an area that’s a great example of this. Kelham Island was once a vast manufacturing site, however, in recent years, the area has undergone an extensive transformation and become home to an exciting array of independent cafes, breweries, galleries and markets. Yet, Kelham’s historical features and architecture still remain and add to its unique atmosphere.

There are lots of great family walks in and around the city centre, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife that urban Sheffield has to offer, while taking in the city’s rich steel making history at the same time. Just outside of the centre, you’ll find this in abundance on the Rivelin Trail.

Image: Scenery along the Rivelin Trail 

Scenery along the Rivelin Trail

History

Along the trail, you can discover the historical and archaeological remains of 20 watermills and 21 mill dams, dating from the 16th to the 19th Century. The watermills played a key role in Sheffield’s cutlery and steel industry. The mills moved to more accessible areas of the city when these industries became less dependent on water-power and moved on to steam, leaving the valley to be slowly reclaimed by nature. Look out for other fun features along the trail, like the Rivelin Chair Sculpture by local artist Jason Thomson. The full trail stretches for two and a half miles.

Examples of what some of the wheels were used for: The ‘Second Coppice Wheel’ was used for grinding knives, scythe blades and saws and the ‘Spooners Wheel’ was used for grinding files, saws, fenders, scythes and cutlery. These are just two watermill sites out of the 20 watermill sites you’ll pass on the trail.

Image: Rivelin Chair Sculpture by local artist Jason Thomson

Rivelin Chair Sculpture by local artist Jason Thomson

You can see a wide variety of saws and cutlery within Kelham Island Museum, some of which would have originally been produced with the help of Rivelin’s watermills. Additionally, you can learn more about Sheffield’s scythe making industry and see examples of the grinding equipment powered by waterwheels at our other Museum sites, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel.

Please note: At time of publishing (19/12/2020) Kelham Island Museum, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel are currently closed to visitors due to the restrictions regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. We hope to reopen as soon as possible once restrictions are lifted. You can find the latest updates on our Home page.

Image: The Saw Wall located in the Hawley Gallery at Kelham Island Museum

The Saw Wall located in the Hawley Gallery at Kelham Island Museum

Wildlife and Nature

We’ve seen Heron, Mandarin Ducks, Kingfishers and Dragonflies while walking the trail. There are a great number of different species at Rivelin, including Dipper, Wren, Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest and many more! You can see many varieties of trees and plants such as Alder, Ash, Beech, Holly, Oak, Bluebell and Cow Parsley among others.

Image: A Heron spotted on the Rivelin Trail 

A Heron spotted on the Rivelin Trail

Access

The trail can be enjoyed at any time of year, although the paths can be muddy and slippery in Winter so you’ll need your wellies and walking boots, especially if you don’t want to miss out on braving the stepping stones! The trail can be uneven in parts and there are steps, making it inaccessible for mobility scooters and pushchairs. You can view alternative routes on the Rivelin Trail website map. Please see the link at the bottom of this post.

Image: A Rivelin Trail path

A path along the Rivelin Trail

Facilities

You can find the Rivelin Park Cafe, toilets and accessible facilities and an outdoor children’s play area near the 5th Wheel site (Spooner’s Wheel). Click the link at the bottom of this post for information on car parking.

For more information on the Rivelin Trail and how to get there, click HERE to see the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group’s website. 

Image: Scenery along the Rivelin Trail 

Scenery along the Rivelin Trail

Looking for another walk to explore? The Salmon of Steel Trail is another great city centre heritage walk. The trail has been organised by Don Catchment Rivers Trust in collaboration with Festival of the Mind. See the trail and more info about this fantastic project HERE

Enjoy exploring Sheffield's industrial heritage!

Posted in Family | Learning | Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust | Kelham Island Museum

0 Comments

Please leave a comment using the form below

Post a comment