Heather Dewick is a Sheffield book-binder ran Off The Shelf’s bookbinding workshop as part of the History Weekend.
She was born in the city but grew up in rural Nottinghamshire. She lives in Pitsmoor with partner Paddy, son Eric and Julie the dog. Her business is based at Bank Street Arts in the city centre. Here she walks us through her best pick of the region...
A really good spot for an all-round view of the city, just off Rutland Road. Not a beautiful view but an interesting one. I like the heathland feel of parts of this area and it has lots of paths to explore. All to the background sound of the clanging ski lift…
A recent discovery and can be accessed from Parkwood Springs, too. It is an abandoned graveyard, oddly bisected by the railway line. A very gothic, spooky overgrown place. It was apparently once a hotbed of body-snatching activity, all aided by the churchwarden. There are still some dodgy activities going on here, so don’t go alone…
BOLSTERSTONE, EWDEN VALLEY, BRADFIELD AREA
I first got to really know this area several years ago, from the lofty heights of a 16.3 horse named Rocky. I still get out there a lot but on my own two legs, a bit of a letdown after being able to see over walls and into houses.
We are often out here for family walks – it’s good for when you want to get out but haven’t the energy for big hills in the Peaks.
FRIDAY NIGHT RIDE
I don’t get out on this as often as I would like but it’s great fun when I do. I cycle to and from work most days but being in a group of 40 or so cyclists is quite empowering! There is a Sheffield-related theme to every ride, so you get to learn more about the city as you slog up its hills.
DUKERIES, NORTH NOTTS
Not far from where I grew up, I really like this area with its woods, fields, long roads and big skies. There’s plenty to do and it is heaven for a crafty types like me, with Welbeck’s Harley Gallery, Thoresby Gallery and Rufford. And Sherwood Forest, too.
Creswell Crags is fascinating, with its limestone gorge, and is home to the only cave art so far found in Britain. George Stubbs used the Crags as a background for many of his paintings, especially the more fanciful ones of horses being attacked by lions, but it seems a safe place to visit now…
INDEPENDENT SHOPS AND GALLERIES
There are plenty of resourceful and talented makers in Sheffield. You can see their work in Solo Gallery in Sharrow Vale, The Old Sweet Shop at Nether Edge, Cupola, Butcher Works and APG (formerly Archipelago).
LIMB VALLEY AND WHINFELL QUARRY GARDENS
I Have had some great walks here, especially with my friend Nat and a collection of our dogs. The Skunk Cabbage growing in the ponds has to be one of the oddest plants around, with its huge yellow flowers and terrible smell.
Another North Notts place. The owners grind their own flours, not just wheat but more unusual grains like spelt and barley. Then they make it into some really tasty food in the windmill’s café. If you go on a non-windy day you can have a go at turning the sails of the windmill with an enormous pole – it’s not compulsory but it can keep small boys occupied for a while.
I love a good stone circle – this one is near Middleton-by-Youlgreave. Its stones are laid flat, like a clock face, and it is a great vantage point in the White Peak.
My five-year-old son loves his trains, so we are here quite often to see the steam engine named ‘Mardy Monster’, which lives at the Heritage Centre. As its name may suggest, it is a bit temperamental.
My boy gets very serious about trains and will tell me about how an engine works and what all the parts are called. I try and sneak off to the Clare White Gallery, which sells art and craft with a Cornish theme, and has very knowledgeable and welcoming owners in Steph and Andy Pollard.
Elsecar village has a great old-fashioned park with café, ducks, crazy golf, the odd grass snake and lots of nearby footpaths.
This town is miles inland but to me has a real ‘Victorian Seaside’ feel. The river almost makes up for lack of sea, especially at Venetian Nights time when a flotilla of illuminated boats sails along it. I’m always happy here with a bag of chips, looking at motorbikes.
Had the most amazing time at nearby Bole Hill a few years ago, when the old lead workings had a rare open day. Visitors could go underground to explore and experience the life of a lead miner. For a one-off visit it was great fun, despite the terrifying ride down the narrow main shaft in what seemed like a big bucket attached to a chain. Got so filthy and tired that being hauled back up again was easy (unlike the life of the lead miners).
THE MYSTERY HAMMER
We hear this at night at home, sadly not as often as we used to. I’m not a big fan of noise but this is a great one, a deep booming, rhythmical sound, conjuring up an image of Viking gods at work in a forge.
It possibly comes from the Carlisle Street/Wincobank area – maybe a drop hammer? The whole part of this area of Sheffield must have sounded like this in the past. I would love to know where it comes from – or maybe not!