Nathan Dodsworth is responsible for installing first ‘village green’ on The Moor on Sunday that will be the centrepiece of the annual ‘village fete’ on the precinct. He is director of Hallam Horticultural Ltd, a Sheffield-based domestic and commercial landscaping company, which has been making waves in recent weeks with its work on what is thought to be Ranmoor’s first Japanese-style garden as part of a project designed by landscape architects Weddle Landscape Design, which was commended for its work on the Winter Garden.
Born and raised in Sheffield, Nathan lives in Greystones with his wife and three children - the eldest has just gone to Manchester University. He started Hallam Horticultural in 2004 having previously run a music and events promotions company, which staged events such as the live on air launch party of BBC Radio 1Xtra and he has worked with a range of national and international artists such as Sunshine Anderson, Jazzy Jeff, Sean Paul, Ms Dynamite and the Artful Dodger.
The Moor ‘village fete’ runs from 11am to 4.30pm on Sunday and is free. Attractions include a coconut shy, a Sheffield photographic exhibition, Sheffield City Morris Men and a chance to get up close to owls, parrots, reptiles and rabbits.
I spent much of my, some would say mis-spent, I prefer life-enriching childhood and now adulthood within the surrounds of the park. Favourite memories are Sunday afternoon games of Wembley-style football, in all kinds of weather, next to Rustlings Road railings and trying to score the most spectacular goals as the number 88 bus went past carrying the “posh” folk to Fulwood. Andrew Gough, now our special delivery postman, usually won this competition though I did manage a few thunderous efforts of my own. I love seeing the same joy on the face of my children today as they enjoy the park as I do.
I find that a bracing stroll along the top on a blustery day in the Peak District is the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs of life’s stresses. I’ve also climbed up and down its face on many occasions and being there has definitely inspired my love of natural stone which we use in the construction of many of the gardens we work on.
It’s a marvellous river whose path takes in some of the best of the variety of environments Sheffield has to offer, from moorland hills and shady glades through leafy suburbs, bustling thoroughfares and into the heart of the city itself. One six weeks holiday myself and a friend took it upon ourselves to try and walk it’s length, right from its bubbling source to where it meets the Sheaf (usually we were actually in the river itself – it was a hot summer!). This meant that we had a few interesting journeys below both Brocco Bank and Ecclesall Road.
Like a moth to a flame I’m drawn there at the start of every season. Over the years I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions - joy, laughter, frustration, tears and seen all kinds of football from the occasional sublime to the more often down right bloody awful, but I still I go ‘cos I love ‘em. The groundsmen do a fantastic job too and the turf always looks lovely and lush every August.
I grew up in a house whose backyard (rather than garden) backed on to the gardens. There were day-long games of hide’n’seek, or a Jamaican derivative of the same called ‘Hot Roast Come Fe Supper’, on long summer days when 20 to 30 local children would play. It meant I knew every nook and cranny.
It was here that my love of plants and their care was first fostered. I was particularly fascinated in how in the rose garden the park keepers would prune the roses down to what looked like gnarled messes, feed with manure and then during the following year a profusion of bright, beautifully scented blooms would appear.
Much like Endcliffe Park, it’s been great to introduce my children to the joys of the ‘Tanics, especially when we go on a hunt for the brown bear.
I will always have a soft spot for the Leadmill as the first nightclub I ever went to. We loved it so much we would go down at 8.30 on a Friday night for the comedy club then stay through for the club night leaving just before the end to make our way to Church Street to catch the 984 late night bus home. Over the years I’ve been to many great concerts there - B.A.D., the Prisoners, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, King Kurt, Omar, Womack & Womack, Treebound Story, the Housemartins ... The list goes on!
The pub is my local - it takes about 30 seconds to get from my front door to the bar! What a transformation over the last 12 months! Great beers and some great live music. My highlights of this past year have been Pokey Lafarge & the South City Three, Wilko Johnson and seeing my friend George’s son, Zak, get on stage and jam with Frank White’s band.
Without a doubt, they are the city’s biggest asset. Sheffield is by far the friendliest big city in the country - even my Mancunian wife wouldn’t dare argue against that - and it’s all down to the people who live here. It’s been said many times before but only in Sheffield will you get two grown men referring to each other as “love”, and that’s something the city is rightly proud of.