Rivelin Valley trail is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city of Sheffield. Enjoyed any time of the year, the trail is easy to find as it follows the river. 

path at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield


Trees in the sky

Where is the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail?

Rivelin Valley is situated to the North West of Sheffield. You can start the trail at either end, the Rails Road car park or Rivelin Park Cafe. I think it’s about 4.5 miles there and back. 

I prefer to start the walk at the Rails Road car park and walk up to Rivelin Park Cafe and back. If you want to park at the other end near the Cafe, it must be on the road, and it can be busy especially at weekends.  

Boy walking across packhorse bridge at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

Packhorse bridge near Rails Road dates from before 1790 and is Grade II listed.

The nature trail runs along the side of the rushing river which is surrounded by attractive woodland. Along the way, you will pass a series of weirs, and little waterfalls with a variety of interesting flora and fauna.

path at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

Heritage Trail

Look for the remains of 20 watermills and 21 mill dams which date from the 16th to the 19th century and played a key role in the cutlery and steel industry of Sheffield.

Imagine how busy this place had to be with all these mills. The trail has been reclaimed by nature as these industries became less dependent on water power and the mills moved to more accessible areas of the city. 

Plonk Wheel sign at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield


Nature Trail

Apart from the usual water birds such as mallard ducks and coots, you can also come across beautiful mandarin ducks. If you are lucky, you can also spot kingfishers, dippers, herons – which we did – long-tailed tits and wrens.

Speckled wood, comma and orange tip butterflies can also be seen on the trail. 

Male Mandarin Duck

Male Mandarin Duck

Male Mallard duck

Male Mallard Duck

Female Mallard duck

Female Mallard Duck

Herron sitting in a tree


Herron sitting in a tree

In spring the woodland is covered in bluebells, wood sorrel and orchids. 

Spring flowers at Rivelin Valley

Cast Iron Chair by Jason Thompson

Look out for the iron chair designed by local artist Jason Thompson to appear as if it’s handcrafted from coppiced wood. The chair reflects the industry that pre-dates the cast iron industry that once resided here between the watermills. 

Iron Chair at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

Fun for Kids

The trail is a perfect place for kids. They will enjoy running around, exploring the stepping stones, looking for wildlife as well as waterfalls and streams. There is also a playground next to Rivelin Park Cafe (and toilets) as well as Rivelin Valley Paddling Pools which are very popular in warm summer months. 

Boy running on a path at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

Stepping Stones at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield

Roscoe stepping stones

Millstone in Rivelin Valley in Sheffield


Final thoughts on the Rivelin Valley trail

To sum it up, it is quite amazing that you can find such a fantastic place full of nature in the middle of a big city. I really enjoyed listening to the birds and flowing water while watching my feet and carefully avoiding (or tripping over) the tree roots in some places.  🙂 If you need to “get out of it all”, this might be the place.

You can get more information about the Trail on Rivelin Valley Conservation Group’s website where you can also download a map. 


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Rivelin Valley path in sunshine in Sheffield


Have you been to Rivelin Valley? What have you seen?

Please let me know in the comments below. 🙂


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Rivelin Valley Nature and Heritage Trail in Sheffield, South Yorkshire