Sheffield volunteers clear up skiploads of fly tipping and litter from city riverside walk

A group of Sheffield litter pickers filled up at least two skips and 20 bags with rubbish from an area of the city that has been hit by fly tipping.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 10:17 am

Several groups got together to tackle Club Mill Road in Owlerton at the weekend, said Joanne Lee of Loxley and Wisewood Litter Pickers, who organised the mass clear-up and litter pick with Simon Ogden of the Upper Don Trail Trust.

After somebody mentioned to her that the partly-unadopted road was being targeted by fly-tippers, Joanne put the word out on the Sheffield Litter Pickers umbrella group Facebook page and Friends of Wardsend Cemetery put her in touch with Simon, who contacted his group and the Blue Loop river stewards.

Other volunteers in the 25-strong group came from local businesses at the nearby industrial estate, said Joanne.

Some of the volunteers with the Arthur's skip
Some of the volunteers with the Arthur's skip

Arthur’s Skips, who are based nearby, provided a skip for the day and took away two to three loads of larger dumped items including parts of cars, mattresses, beds and sofas from the unadopted part of the road, said Joanne.

Council waste disposal contractors Amey are collecting all the bags of litter that the volunteers filled.

The volunteers worked their way on the road that runs alongside the River Don from the Neepsend Lane/Hillfoot Road junction at the Farfield Inn to the industrial estate just past the old Silver Mill site.

Some of the litter-picking team at work on Club Mill Road, Owlerton

Joanne said: “This is a historic part of Sheffield and has been badly neglected and abused for a good few years. The local community is gathering to give it some love and raise the profile of this wonderful riverside walk - as part of the plans to connect the final sections of the Upper Don Trail linking Kelham Island all the way to Langsett.”

The 220 or so volunteers in Joanne’s group do weekly litter picks in their area, which covers a lot of S6.

“We’re going to have to go back and do a part two,” said Joanne. “There’s a lot of security fencing but it doesn’t stop people tipping there. It’s going to be amazing when you can walk from Kelham to Langsett and the Upper Don Trail Trust are are trying to connect the missing bit.

"It’s so quiet there and you can’t hear the traffic, just the sound of the river and the birds.

Some of the fly tipping that the volunteers found and cleared up

"However, it’s so abused. Even in the time we were picking, when I went back to see if the bags were labelled someone had fly-tipped something. It is a real battle at the minute.”

Joanne said of litter picking: “Even though it’s so depressing and gloomy in certain places, it’s really brought the community together. I’ve met people through doing this that I wouldn’t have encountered in normal life.

“When we were doing this through the winter, you couldn’t really meet people but we could do this and were socially distanced. People have been to places they didn’t know existed in their neighbourhood.”

To contact Loxley and Wisewood Litter Pickers, head to their Facebook page, or check out the Sheffield Litter Pickers page to find a group in your area.

A cleared section of Club Mill Road after it was tackled by the litter-picking teams
One pile of the rubbish bags filled by the litter pickers on Club Mill Road