Five Weirs Walk
I cycled the length of this path from Meadowhall to the Canal Basin (and back via the towpath so completing the “Blue Loop”) on a wet day at the end of July with no mudguards – so ended up plastered in sandy mud!
Despite that, the ride along the river was a revelation – the memory I had prior to this of the Don through Sheffield’s East End was a sterile grave for shopping trolleys covered in a thin layer of oil – but the river I cycled along would not have been out of place in the Peak District! Long trailing water weeds showed the direction of the current, and small birds bobbed in and out between willow trees and buddleias – so many buddleias that the air was thick with their honey scent. I understand even otters – once Britain’s rarest mammal – live there as footprints in the mud have been spotted. Once you are away from the traffic of Meadowhall or the City Centre the Five Weirs walk is a peaceful green ribbon winding through the city’s industrial sector and the track has a surprisingly good surface. My wife’s mobility scooter would manage the whole length of it and – apart from the odd steep gradient when approaching a road crossing – would be suitable for wheelchair users. The supertram is never very far away, following the canal route as it does.
The canal towpath is a different matter – it’s walkable (although a closed section meant climbing several steps as part of a diversion) but the surface is largely compacted soil (full of puddles when I was there) and one has to duck under low bridges and branches occasionally. Still beautiful and interesting, I wouldn’t recommend anyone attempts it unless they are on two feet – and reasonably steady on those feet as well.
A walk along the Five Weirs route with a mixed party (some wheelchair users, some scooter users) would do well to walk the section between Walk Mill Weir and Abyssinia Bridge (beyond that there are some hairy road crossings) perhaps using the supertram to and from Meadowhall’s (free and extensive) car park. If one felt a little braver, you could also do the section from Meadowhall to Abyssinia Bridge (where Hawke Street crosses the Don near the Arena) as long as the party took care at the numerous pelican crossings.
I hope these musings are useful. I certainly was glad for a reason to get myself out there!
Sheffield Time Walk Project