In the town where I grew up, £1 on the bus would barely get you to the end of the road, let alone anywhere that looked remotely different. So even after three years of living in Sheffield, it still comes as a surprise just how far you can get on a ‘Student Single’ fare. All the way, in fact, to the Longshaw Estate – an ideal place to introduce yourself to the Peak District and a perfect mini-escape from student life.
The Peak District is arguably one of the best reasons for living in Sheffield. With expansive wild moors, dramatic wind-blasted rocks, climbable crags and an important industrial heritage, it deservedly became the UK’s first National Park in 1951. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or not, anyone can benefit from spending time there. It offers a respite from the stresses of deadlines and coursework, and you’ll return with a new perspective. And the Longshaw Estate, a National Trust-owned property centered around Longshaw Lodge, is the perfect place to start, especially for car-less students who have to rely on public transport!
Simply pick up a 272 in town and ask for the Fox House stop. Once there, walk down the road a short distance and take the path through the trees to reach the visitor centre. There’s plenty to explore just within the immediate parkland with various walking circuits across the fields, through the forest and past the lake. The paths around the lodge are all level and study, making them idea for new walkers or family groups. And the tea shop makes an ideal lunch stop, offering hot and cold drinks, home-made cakes and light meals. In fact, I’m pretty sure the scones they serve there are the real reason my mum keeps asking “Can we go back to Longshaw one day?”
For more adventurous walking, continue to the south of the estate, cross the road and head onto Froggat Edge, which boasts some of the best rock formations and views across the Peak. Or you could take the path down to Grindleford through Padley Gorge. This is one of the most popular walks in the area and follows Burbage Brook as it tumbles down the gorge below. To save walking back on yourself, you could take a train to Grindleford from Sheffield Station then walk up through the gorge to Longshaw.
The moors to the north of the estate are also worth exploring – although I would recommend walking boots and an OS map for this. For a fairly short circular walk, cross the road and take the Sheffield Country Walk track past Burbage Rocks until you reach Upper Burbage Bridge. Then come back on the other side of the valley, taking in the panorama from the top of Higger Tor. For a longer hike, continue beyond Upper Burbage Bridge on the Sheffield Country Walk towards Stanage Edge. You can make a brief detour to see Stanage Pole – a famous landmark that shows the boundary between the counties of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. Once at Stanage Edge, you will see why it is such a hotspot for climbing enthusiasts! Watch them in action as you stride along the top, then drop down into the valley and continue to Hathersage. If the sun is shining, the garden at Cintra’s tea rooms makes a perfect place for an al fresco afternoon tea! You can either catch the train or the 272 bus back to Sheffield (although the fare will be more than a pound as Hathersage is technically in a different county to Longshaw!)
It’s worth checking out the Longshaw website as there are various special events throughout the year including the popular Longshaw Sheepdog trials, guided walks, opportunities to help volunteer on conservation tasks and special events at Halloween and Christmas. There are also volunteer-led trail running sessions and each month the estate hosts a popular timed 10k run that’s free to enter.
So who says you need a car or pots of money to have an adventure? It’s all there, waiting for you…and it only takes a hope on the bus!