Sheffield to Rotherham Bike Ride

12th June 2022

Burton Weir, Sheffield
Burton Weir, Sheffield

Stage 16 of the Sustrans Slow Tour of Yorkshire is from Sheffield to Rotherham.

Of the urban routes in the Slow Tour, this is probably my favourite. The backdrop to the ride is a great mix of the industrial and the natural, and the people I encountered along the way were without exception warm and friendly.

There is one significant caveat, though - see the warning below.

WARNING: at the time of writing (June 2022), the path by the Don on the last part of the route into Rotherham is closed. There's an ambiguous sign that suggests the closure may last until 31st March 2023, and zero effort has been made to create or signpost an alternative route.

Distance: 7.5 miles each way, so 15 miles there and back
Time: 1h each way, so 2h in total


Sheffield to Rotherham Bike Ride: Map

Sheffield to Rotherham overview map
Sheffield to Rotherham overview map, based on OpenCycleMap

The map above gives an overview of the Sheffield to Rotherham route.

This is the ride on Plotaroute; you can download a navigation file from there.

Sheffield to Rotherham Bike Ride: Sustrans Leaflet

This is the Sustrans leaflet for the Sheffield to Rotherham ride.

Sheffield to Rotherham Bike Ride: Route Notes

Sheffield to Rotherham

View from Blonk Street bridge
View from Blonk Street bridge, Sheffield

The ride starts from Blonk Street bridge. If the opportunity arises, would you mind gently telling the people of Sheffield that this is an odd name for a street and a bridge?

Head along Five Weirs Walk, with the river Don to your right. Go under the A61, then under the railway on Cobweb Bridge.

Cobweb Bridge, Sheffield
Cobweb Bridge, Sheffield

There are two short on-road stretches before Burton Weir (main photo at the top of the page).

In Attercliffe, a section of Five Weirs Walk is closed on a long-term basis after floods in 2019. Instead, you have to ride through the industrial estate that's home to Wayne's Auto Repairs.

Industrial estate, Attercliffe
Industrial estate, Attercliffe

When compared to the Duomo di Firenze or Disneyland Paris, the flow of tourists to this part of Sheffield is lower.

Return to Five Weirs Walk after the industrial estate, with the river Don on your left. I saw house martins here, and a sparrowhawk that tried and failed to catch one.

Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk

After crossing the river on Newhall Road, continue on Five Weirs Walk.

At Carbrook, you leave the river and negotiate a major road junction - but there is always a cycle path. In general the cycle infrastructure on this route is above average quality for the UK. On Janson Street, Sheffield shows it knows how to segregate pedestrians and cyclists.

Properly divided footway and cycleway, Janson Street
Properly divided footway and cycleway, Janson Street

After negotiating the road junction, you can head back to the river. Again, the path by the river is done properly, with separate paths for walking and cycling.

Properly divided footway and cycleway, Five Weirs Walk
Properly divided footway and cycleway, Five Weirs Walk

A little egret was fishing here.

Little egret seen from Five Weirs Walk
Little egret seen from Five Weirs Walk

This is a video of the little egret catching a fish. (A house martin puts in a brief flypast appearance).



There's more than one Sheffield Forgemasters building along the route.

Sheffield Forgemasters
Sheffield Forgemasters

Approaching Meadowhall shopping centre, there's a small wildflower meadow.

Wildflower meadow near Meadowhall Shopping Centre
Wildflower meadow near Meadowhall Shopping Centre

After going under Meadowhall Way, the path runs between the river and the shopping centre. Then it crosses the tramway.

Supertramway crossing
Tramway crossing

Next you go over the railway and under the M1, then ride on a path between the river (Don) and the canal (Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation).

Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation
Path by the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation

On this stretch, I felt that I was in the countryside. That happy feeling lasted until I got to Blackburn Meadows Nature Reserve. There, I came across a big ugly fence and unhelpful information boards with red crosses painted on.

Barrier & signs on canal path to Rotherham
Barrier & signs on canal path to Rotherham

At the time of writing you can't continue on the canal path. It seems there are flood alleviation works, and the path will be closed until 31st March 2023.

A tiny cardboard deviation sign sends you through Blackburn Meadows instead.

Tiny cardboard deviation sign, Blackburn Meadows
Tiny cardboard deviation sign, Blackburn Meadows

After the initial deviation sign, I didn't see any others - it seems they couldn't be bothered, and just abandoned people.

Rotherham

I did continue to Rotherham via Blackburn Meadows > Centurion Street > Bessemer Way > A6178 Sheffield Road > Westgate > Corporation Street > Bridge Street.

Bridge Chapel, Rotherham
Bridge Chapel, Rotherham

I got to the turnaround point, Rotherham Central Station.

Rotherham Station
Rotherham Station

Of course going via busy roads is completely different to cycling by the canal, even if there was the odd bit of cycle and bus lane.

It's really bad that no one bothered about a proper diversion route. It's the same old story - it's only cycling, so it doesn't matter.

Return Route

Return by the same route.

Sheffield to Rotherham Ride: Comments and Suggestions

1) The cycle infrastructure in Sheffield was quite good, but it generally did not give priority over minor side roads and driveways. This should be done, in accordance with the LTN 1/20 guidance.

2) The City of Sheffield should purchase a broom with stiff bristles, and sweep all the broken glass off the cycle paths.

3) The arrangements for getting people into Rotherham while the canal path is closed are non-existent. It's an abysmal level of service from those involved (presumably the council, the Environment Agency, and their contractors).

It would never be thought acceptable to close a road to motor vehicles and provide no information, no acceptable alternative route, and no signage - and it isn't acceptable to do this on a cycle route.

Have you done this bike ride? What do you think of it?

OS Explorer Map Sheffield & Barnsley

OS Explorer Map Sheffield

OS Explorer Sheffield and Barnsley - available on Amazon.

Bike Rides In and Around York

Bike Rides In and Around York front cover
Bike Rides In and Around York

Bike Rides In and Around York features a historical city tour, plus family rides, road rides, and mountain bike rides.

"This book is simply a treasure trove not only of great rides but also as a travel guide to the area."

Read more about Bike Rides In and Around York.

Trans Pennine Trail

Trans Pennine Trail overview map

The Trans Pennine Trail is a good idea, but the quality of much of it is so poor, I'm not sure it's ready to be promoted to the public.

Bike Rides in Harrogate and Nidderdale

Bike Rides in Harrogate and Nidderdale

Bike Rides in Harrogate and Nidderdale is a book of family, mountain and road bike rides.

"This guide is a wonderful companion whether you ride alone, with family or friends. Don't set out without it."

Read more about Bike Rides in Harrogate and Nidderdale.



Comment Box is loading comments...