The Half Nelson is a trail (more or less) half marathon challenge of about 14.3 miles. It’s slightly less muddy than Tracks of our Tiers, but a lot more rocky. This is a virtual race organised by Steel City Striders, and is free to take part but if you have fun, a small donation to co-organiser Seb’s Christie Cancer Charity appeal is welcome and appreciated.

To try and keep everyone on the route, there are also six clues to solve on the way — answers to be supplied when you add your entry. …

June is the month for cyclists, runners, walkers and scooterists of the Outdoor City, with prizes, games and explorations on offer for anyone getting around under their own steam.

Cycle commuters on the Cobweb Bridge

Love to Ride and other cycling organisations are celebrating Bike Month, while Move More Month sees the Beat the Street game launch on June 16th. Meanwhile the summer sees Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust launch 30 Days Wild inviting us all to explore the natural world every day of June.

Our advice: sign up for all three, make your trips on foot or by bike, and everybody wins, including you (one…

Group from ShipShape at Damflask Reservoir during the Connecting Steps project

Sheffielders often talk about how their Outdoor City is like a Natural Health Service with trees everywhere, deer and kingfishers in our city centre, and suburbs surrounded by parks, woods and wild moorland.

But in mental health awareness week, scientists researching the mental health benefits of natural surroundings have found that feeling part of the natural world, not just being a spectator, is what really helps us feel better about ourselves.

“It’s about finding your own way to connect to nature,” said Jenny King from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.

“It might be making a notebook of the things you…

Totley Moor — Photo by Zafar Ali

It’s been chilly, you may have noticed. But here in the Outdoor City, Beast from the East (2) held no fear for the hardy locals stomping, running and riding around in the ice and snow.

Many have photos to prove it too. Now the frost has thawed (for the moment : see below) we asked a few of them to share their cold snaps, and bracing weather reports. They also have a few tips just in case it’s not actually sunny every day from now on.

Once we can safely get there again, we’ll find Sheffield has a different town centre. And for those who still say “You’ll never get folk cycling here, Sheffield isn’t Holland,” it’s likely we’ll soon have our first Dutch-style roundabout, where drivers wait for cyclists and walkers. There really will be a new normal for The Outdoor City.

Sheffield City Centre — Grey to Green planting near Millsands

“It lifts my spirits to see that a once neglected area, disconnected from the rest of the City Centre, has now been transformed into a beautiful green space,” says Lucia Lorente-Arnau. …

A hell of a lot more people have been out in the wilds on their bikes over the last year, say members of Ride Sheffield. And that’s a good thing, they add.

“Some land managers understand there’s a bit of a challenge with all these new people coming in, but see it as an opportunity too,” said John Horscroft.

“There are maybe some people coming in now who don’t understand the countryside as well as other people, but this is our chance to convince these new people that this countryside is a place you’ve got to love and look after…

Let’s imagine that Sheffield Council was the lucky owner of a giant sponge nearly two miles wide as it addresses the issue of flooding. The sponge has been badly damaged for over 100 years, but it’s still there, and actually appears to be repairing itself.

“Sphagnum is absolutely beautiful,” said Dr Paul Ardron, as he squelched through Ringinglow Bog on a search for rarer types of the wet moss, “and if there are a good number of species, it’s a good indicator of health.”

Paul Ardron and Prof Ian Rotherham at Ringinglow Bog in 2016

Why is sphagnum moss so important? Professor Ian Rotherham of Sheffield Hallam University could spend many…

After a few weeks of planter rancour in the nation’s capital, we need to stop talking about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, says Pete Zanzottera, Sheffield City Region Active Travel Project Director.

“The phrase is slightly toxic,” he observes. “These schemes are actually about increasing activity, not just the trips people make. It’s about going out your front door and recognising your neighbours, letting your kids play and having a chat.”

Nether Edge road closure / opening for walkers for the winter street market

“It begins to subtly change the way we feel about ourselves. We know our neighbours, it feels like you belong and live somewhere.”

When the signs and planters arrived to help…

“Yaaargh! Woooh!” It’s the sound of autumn on Sheffield’s hillside pathways, as socially-distanced runners take part in the city’s latest Covid-adapted running event.

Woooh! Runners at the Wharncliffe trail run of the Autumn 8 Series — pic by Harriet Eisner

Over recent weeks, the Outdoor City has been hosting the informal but breathtaking ‘Autumn Eight Champions League’ organised by Andy Davies of the Steel City Striders running club.

196 runners from a variety of clubs are attempting three parkrun routes and five stunning trail runs in their own time, originally in groups of 6 or less, and from this week in groups of 1 or 2. Many of the routes are up and down steep and rocky…

David Bocking

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