Town and country

Liz Ballard Sheffield wildlife trust chief executive at one of her favourite places. Blacka Moor, on Hatherdage Road
Liz Ballard Sheffield wildlife trust chief executive at one of her favourite places. Blacka Moor, on Hatherdage Road
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Liz Ballard is chief executive of Sheffield Wildlife Trust and has lived in the Peak District for over 15 years. Previously working for the Peak District National Park and then the South Downs, she took up the role at Sheffield Wildlife Trust just over a year ago and is enjoying getting to know Sheffield better. “Living in the Peak District, we have always come into Sheffield at the weekends, but now I am working here I am enjoying finding out more about the city. Sheffield has so many parks and green spaces – and great links to the local countryside – it has a real ‘outdoor’ connection. I feel very lucky to be able to live somewhere where I can enjoy both the city and the countryside. I can enjoy cinemas, cafes and theatres, and the next day walk or bike out onto the moors.”

Hope Valley Train

Well it might seem a little strange but I am a regular commuter on the Hope Valley line. It only takes 20 minutes or so and the scenery is amazing. The changes in the landscape that take place between Hope and Sheffield station are incredible, whatever the weather. Although the 100-plus steps at the back of the station that I have to go up each morning to the trust’s offices on Stafford Road are not quite so relaxing.

Blacka Moor

This is a special Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve on the very edge of Sheffield. You can be standing on the moorland, watching deer through the trees and then turn to look at a great view across the city. For me it really sums up the close relationship that Sheffield city has with its surrounding countryside. This site was given to Sheffield City Council by Alderman Graves in 1933 and is really well used by local people.

Fox House and Padley Gorge

One of my favourite walks is through Padley Gorge, because of the combination of beautiful old oak trees, gritstone boulders and fast flowing water. Even if the weather is bad, the woodlands are sheltered and always worth a visit. Depending on how far you feel like walking you can then either venture into Grindleford café for a plate of chips or walk back up to Fox House for a pint.

Greno Woods

There is a bit of a tree theme here isn’t there? But when I first visited Greno, I couldn’t believe the extent of mature woodland on the edge of Sheffield. It has some great spring flowers, but is also unusual because of the heathland right in the middle of the wood. Great for mountain biking too, and you can connect into Wharncliffe Woods as well.

Showroom café bar

Although the Showroom cinema is great, I also think the bar is really good. They do some really good food there – main courses as well as great carrot cake. I would definitely recommend dropping in for a meal even if you don’t fancy going to a film.

Crucible and Lyceum

Although living in the Peak District is good, it does take 30 to 45 minutes to get to the theatres, but it is definitely worth it. We just have to plan ahead. I really enjoy going to the theatre in Sheffield because I think we are able to see some great performers at the Crucible and the Lyceum that wouldn’t be seen elsewhere.

Carbrook Ravine

It’s a trust nature reserve. It might seem odd to include a small field on the edge of a big housing estate. But if you catch it at the right time you can walk through an amazing hay flower meadow – including oxe-eye daisies and yellow rattle – some of our traditional native flowers. It is incredible to see, and at the top of the hill there is a great view across the estate and the city and hills beyond.