Manor Oaks

Tudor ruins, nature trails and artists' studios, just uphill from Sheffield station.

Let’s go up the hill to Manor Oaks, with one of the best views over Sheffield and beyond. Found above Park Hill and the railway station, it’s true that the area has a somewhat colourful past, but you’ll now find colour in its wildflower meadows and community spirit. It’s a place of connections – to the past and present, near and far, urban and wild. Open green spaces, bright meadows, nature trails and a historic attraction are all set on a hillside with the city spreading before you, the Peak District in the distance, and the open blue of Skye Edge above.

History

Popping up amidst Manor Lane’s residential surroundings is Manor Lodge, the ruins of a Tudor hunting lodge which is set in what was once a large deer park. Alongside Sheffield Castle (see our Castlegate guide), Manor Lodge served as a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots and her accompanying entourage under the watch of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Visit the Discovery Centre and explore the ruins and Turret House. There’s also a friendly farm and some 1940s cottages where you can find out more about the Sheffield blitz. Look out for half term activities, monthly lectures and much more. You can even get married here, with indoors and outdoors ceremonies both possible. Check their website for opening hours and events.

Walking

The Green Flag winning Manor Fields Park covers 24 hectares. It’s managed by eco-lovelies Green Estate, and has even more to it than open space, trees and a duck pond, with soul-soothing flower-filled meadows (grow your own!). There’s also a clever Sustainable Urban Drainage System, which slows down the rainwater to prevent flooding in the valley. There are of activities going on at Manor Fields too, with a weekly walking group, the Saturday morning parkrun, events in the summer holidays and lunch clubs at York House to name a few.

Nearby, Norfolk Heritage Park is one of the oldest public parks in the country, having opened in 1848. With its tree-lined paths and ancient woodland, it’s a great spot for a gentle adventure. And for a longer walk, follow the Norfolk Heritage Trail back to town, winding your way downhill into the city centre and ending at the Cathedral.

Art

Like pretty much everywhere in Sheffield, Manor Oaks is also teeming with artists. The newest of Yorkshire Artspace’s three studio complexes is here amongst the flowers: an eco-friendly beauty with a living roof, co-designed by Green Estate. As well as housing a number of ceramicists (e.g. Victoria Dawes), woodworkers (e.g. Finkfurniture) and jewellery makers, it is also where burgeoning clay-shapers can themselves be moulded into pros through the support of the Ceramic Starter Studio. See the artists at work in November during the Yorkshire Artspace’s Open Studios.

Food and drink

Peckish? The delightful Rhubarb Shed cafe at Manor Lodge is open 9am to 3pm, Monday to Saturday. Get comfy in this pretty stone building and enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea with its exquisite cake selection. They also run occasional bistro nights, so keep your eyes peeled and your belly ready for those.

This guide is a collaboration with Yorkshire Artspace – explore the area and meet its artists at the annual Open Studios weekend.

Written by Nat Loftus; October 31, 2016
Photography by Will Roberts.

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