Sheffield - the Steel City aims to be the UK’s Outdoor City

PUBLISHED: 11:32 14 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:32 14 December 2015

Mountain biker at Parkwood Springs a green space on the edge of Sheffield city centre Photo Duncan Philpott

Mountain biker at Parkwood Springs a green space on the edge of Sheffield city centre Photo Duncan Philpott

Duncan Philpott

An industrial city aims to embrace a different way of life

Climbing at Burbage Photo Duncan PhilpottClimbing at Burbage Photo Duncan Philpott

Anyone searching for inspiration to lead a more active and adventurous lifestyle in the New Year should look no further than Sheffield. The City of Steel is rebranding itself as the UK’s Outdoor City in attempt to not only promote tourism and investment in the South Yorkshire capital but also encourage people to live a healthier way of life.

The city’s new image has support from Sheffield walkers, runners, climbers, cyclists and mountain bikers who have helped to create a website with information on making the most of the outdoors. Sheffield is already known internationally as the climbing capital of the UK. Its climbing routes are reported to be the main reason many people from around the world decide to live, work and study in the city.

‘As a city we are perhaps known for steel, innovation and manufacturing with the trade mark ‘Made in Sheffield’ synonymous with quality the world over,’ said Rowan Hall, communications officer for Creative Sheffield. ‘We are known for the World Snooker Championships and among climbers Sheffield is the undisputed climbing capital of the UK.

‘But more recently people are recognising the lifestyle and cultural offering of the city - the fact that we have the largest theatre complex outside of London, our thriving music and arts scene – trailblazing exhibitions like Going Public and a leading European documentary festival DocFest - all contributing to this “new take” on what was once seen as a purely industrial city.’

A walker leaps the water at Wyming Brook, Sheffield Photo Duncan PhilpottA walker leaps the water at Wyming Brook, Sheffield Photo Duncan Philpott

A new study, the Outdoor Economy Report carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, says the city has the highest household spend on outdoor equipment in the country, high participation rates in outdoor recreation and more than 200 outdoor businesses. ‘The stunning Peak District National Park sits within our city boundaries, home to world class climbing routes, walks, runs and bike rides,’ said Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council and cabinet member for business, skills and development.

‘Sheffield has four indoor climbing walls and the only city centre mountain bike trail in England, while our newly crowd-funded Lady Canning mountain bike trail has had 2,000 riders rolling 7,000 runs in the first seven weeks.

‘Fourteen out of Sheffield’s 80 parks are acclaimed as among the very best in the UK – more than any other city in Yorkshire. It is undoubtedly the unique people and the places that make Sheffield the Outdoor City and now we have a website that can help other’s enjoy what we all get to experience by living here.’

Professional Sheffield downhill mountain biker Steve Peat and leading rock climber Steve McClure have contributed to the website which has details of trails, climbing routes, guide information, has signposts to travel and hospitality information plus recommendations from people in-the-know. ‘Sheffield has an awesome outdoor scene and a lot to be proud of – but don’t take my word for it – check it out,’ said Steve Peat.

The website is designed to appeal to people at all levels of activity from those looking for a gentle stroll to others who want to test their endurance at the highest levels, shares tips on training and equipment, profiles the personalities who love the outdoors as well as highlights outdoor events

Meanwhile the council continues to work with key partners such as the National Trust to develop an outdoor economy strategy to ensure the success of Sheffield: The Outdoor City. w

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