“ Sheffield / South Yorkshire / England „
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The Five Weirs Walk is an 8km walk that forms a part of the 350 mile Trans-Pennine Trail. It runs from Sheffield city centre to the Meadowhall Shopping Complex following the banks of the River Don and the Sheffield canal.
The footpath is in most parts nice and level making it ideal for even people with disabilities to enjoy some of the rich surroundings that this route takes you through. The route is particularly popular with walkers, cyclists, anglers, canoeists, bird watchers and horse riders.
The footpaths and towpaths were cleared and cleaned up during the 1980's following the setting up of the Five Weirs Walk Trust Ltd in 1986. This is a registered charity that was set up to open up the River Don to public access through Sheffield's east end.
The walk is clearly signposted and since it follows the river it is more or less impossible to get lost. Please be aware however that some of the signs say "Five Weirs Walk" whilst others say "TPT" (Trans-Pennine Trail).
The full walk begins at Lady's Bridge, close to the main markets right in the centre of Sheffield, and finishes at Meadowhall. This is 8km long (5 miles) and it is more or less completely flat, although there are a few short stretches where access for the disabled would be difficult. The walk should only take 2-3 hours. From Meadowhall the easiest option is to catch the tram back to Sheffield for £1.80 which will take you back to your starting point.
If you are feeling more energetic then it is possible to carry on from Meadowhall for a further 3 miles. This route follows the canal towpath and brings you out in the centre of Rotherham.
The route out of the centre of Sheffield takes you along the banks of the River Don and right through the heart of Sheffield's industrial past. It was along the River Don that the various forges sprung up during the industrial revolution, producing steel which made the city famous. Sadly many of these forges are now closed but Forgemasters, one of the largest Steelworks still left in this area is still thriving and this walk takes you right past there, where you can see a modern day forges in full working order.
Quite close to the city centre and just before you reach Forgemasters you will pass by a Bailey Bridge. This bridge dates from 1945 and is a magnificent example of a Bailey Bridge.
The Bailey Bridge was invented by Sir Donald Bailey, who was born in Rotherham and these are still in use all over the world wherever an 'instant bridge' is needed. During the Second World War this type of bridge proved to be invaluable, and was one of the many pieces of engineering developed in South Yorkshire that was used during the War. This particular bridge has been restored in recent years.
The River Don itself had a reputation until recent years as being dirty and lifeless but the way in which this river has been cleaned is a testament to those that believed it was possible two decades ago.
Today the River Don supports Kingfishers, they have even nested at Lady's Bridge right in the city centre, and in the last few years both Salmon and Otters have been spotted. Both of these species are only found in the cleanest of fresh water.
One of my favourite parts of the Five Weirs Walk is the part that takes you along the towpath at the side of the canal. I have always had a fascination with canals and in particular their locks. It is possible to sit here and watch the barges drifting slowly and effortlessly along the water and watch the locks being filled and emptied to allow them to climb the gradual slopes.
There is something about the Five Weirs walk that is almost magical, and I think that the fact that you are so close to the hustle and bustle of the city is definitely a part of its appeal. It is so peaceful and quiet you can simply sit down and take the weight off your feet and watch the world go by.
Should you ever find yourself stressed out in the middle of Sheffield then I would certainly suggest that head off down here to escape from it all.
Enjoy walking or cycling along the banks of the River Don.