It was also a chance for the Friends of Manor Fields Park and Friends of Manor Lodge groups to collaborate, alongside support from Green Estate staff. Many thanks to everyone involved!
We started at the York House carpark with the most recent history; the creation of the park starting in 1999. You can view a short video of the transformation here: Manor Fields Park - Green flag Award 2015/16 (Sheffield) - YouTube.
Moving clockwise our next stop was the allotments. Allotments covered a large portion of the park in the last century. The first ground was broken in 1930 with plots rented to unemployed men (it was mostly men) to help them feed their families. They then played an important role on Dig for Victory in the 1940s. In more recent times the allotments have been separated from the park but you can still find clues that they were here, such as the large patches of comfrey which make excellent fertiliser.
The book I mentioned on the walk was: A History of Allotments in Sheffield : Boulton, Margaret: Amazon.co.uk: Books
You can find out what’s happening on the allotments these days on friends of manor allotments - sheffield - Search Results | Facebook
Next, we walked to the edge of cemetery which has seven listed structures:
- The Gatehouse
- The Crematorium and chapel
- The Catholic Chapel
- The Harwich Road gate and gatehouse
- Belgian War Memorial
- The Blitz grave
- War Memorial by Sir R Blomfield
As well as other notable graves including Commonwealth War Graves.
This was also an opportunity to talk about the SUDS scheme, which was the subject of a previous walk: SUDS Walk - Sustainable drainage in Manor Fields Park. Although the theme of this was history, the park itself is still developing. In the next year we will see further developments of the scheme in the form of a new nature pond near the cemetery, a new seating area and planting in keeping with the current natural surroundings.
We then walked out of the park and over Manor Lane to our sister site Sheffield Manor Lodge. Here we were given a historic tour of the ruins and gardens by volunteer Chris, a member of Friends of Sheffield Manor Lodge. She opened our eyes to the history of the site as the grand castle on the hill, home and prison to feisty royals and site of Sheffield’s first toilet! We would highly recommend booking on a guided tour and going to Manor Lodge on Sundays – when it is freely open to the public. For details, check their website.
Walking back through Manor Fields Park we stopped at the “Carrot Tops” sculptures, this is an excellent place to appreciate the thought that went into the design of the park - the arena (one of three flat loan areas designed for play and more formal activities) doubles up as a flood defence and beyond it the wild areas. It’s also a place to observe the history of Sheffield, from this path you can look from the modern (Meadowhall), industrial Sheffield through to the Lodge and imagine how different the skyline would have been when the Lodge was still standing.
The walked finished at the pond, the whole area was once known as Deep Pit and the name has stuck in this corner of the park. The name comes from the area’s mining history, this was the site of Deep Pits Colliery. In the 1800s a number of collieries existed in this part of the city and would have been a large employer for residents.
If you’d like to read more about the history of the park, including displays created as part of a University project, click here: History (manorfieldspark.org)
Lisa (Friends of Manor Fields Park) and Jayne (Green Estate)