Recently, burrowing through the backstreets on my way home from University, I discovered Lynwood Community Orchard.
Created as a kitchen garden in 1905, it has recently been regenerated as outdoor kindergarten and educational facility.
Sheffield’s oasis of green was one of the factors that attracted me the University. As a countryside dweller, I have always felt most comfortable in a world swathed in green rather than clad in concrete: for me Sheffield is the perfect amalgamation of the two. This is a city where humans can flourish with nature, rather than suppress it. Walking home with a tawny owl hooting overhead, it is easy to forget that I live in suburbia.
This orchard, nestled behind the Frances Newton Pub, represents far more than a clump of trees. For me, it embodies hope. This is a space where pre-school children can engage with bugs and twigs rather than slump; stupefied in front of screens. This is a place where people from all ages and backgrounds collide and collaborate. School children learn practical cookery skills: shaking off the shackles of an unforgiving education system through creativity; through the joy of self-sufficiency. This is a place where humans, and the natural world, can collectively flourish.
If you want to join their conservation community or simply find a place of seclusion and a welcoming bench, then the orchard awaits. To find it, walk to the bottom of the Francis Newton Car Park, and sneak through the gap in the hedge.
Whenever I visit, I am always struck by its close proximity to Glossop Road: that an unrelenting pace of life can exist in parallel to complete serenity; each one oblivious of the other.
Sheffield is a city full of secrets; pockets of hope to discover. Each time you find one, savour it, breathe for a moment, and remind yourself how good it is to be alive.