Shire Brook Valley is located in south-east Sheffield, about four miles from the city centre. Its Local Nature Reserve, which covers approximately 100 acres, is based around the former Coisley Hill sewage works which closed in the early 1990s, following which a reclamation scheme turned the site into a wildlife area.
Habitats & wildlife
The Shire Brook runs west to east through the valley on its way to join the River Rother near Beighton. The course of the Brook has altered over the years, sometimes naturally but more often because of human intervention. In order to power water wheels, water from the Brook and other streams was collected using a network of dams and channels. Most of these can still be found and some, such as at Carr Forge Dam in the centre of the site and which dates from Tudor times, are still large ponds. Further ponds were created during the reclamation and these, along with Carr Forge Dam, are home to Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot and Kingfisher as well as Water Vole, dragonflies and amphibians – including the endangered Great Crested Newt.
Extensive woodland planting took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially alongside the new Mosborough Parkway and around the former sewage works. This mostly used native species such as Oak, Ash and Hazel. Further trees and shrubs including Hawthorn, Elder and Birch have self-seeded over former industrial sites and old meadows. These woodlands provide food and nesting sites for many birds such as Jay, Willow Tit and Song Thrush – joined in summer months by Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. The feeders near the Visitor Centre can be a good place to spot many of these.
On the north side of the valley is the steep hillside of Woodhouse Banks, now a mixture of old and new woodland and meadows. The south side of the valley was part of the old ‘Birley Moor’ which was divided into fields in 1799. Before this it would have been an open area of heath and scrub used by local people for grazing animals and collecting firewood. Small areas of Gorse, Heather and Bracken still remain on the steep hillside around Silkstone Ravine and on Wickfield Heath and new areas of heath are also developing on the site of the old Birley East Colliery.
Towards the eastern end of the reserve is a landscaped former landfill site called Linley Bank Meadow – now home to Skylarks and Meadow Pipits and a good location for soaring Buzzards. Further east again is Beighton Marsh, an area of Reed-grass which supports Reed Bunting, Grasshopper Warbler and Barn Owl, as well as Harvest Mouse and Water Vole.
The reserve has a car-park which is accessed along Stone Lane which leads off the B6064 close to Coisley Hill Interchange.
Exploring the area
From the car park, a network of paths and bridleways, including the Transpennine Trail, runs across the area. Most of these are fairly flat and easy to walk though some are steep and can be muddy, slippery or overgrown. An informative leaflet is available from the link given below which includes descriptions of four walks of between 1 and 2.5 miles in length.
Whilst no refreshments are available on or in the immediate vicinity of the reserve, these can be obtained in Woodhouse or at Crystal Peaks shopping centre, neither of which are far away.
Other nearby wild places
The Shire Brook joins the River Rother on the edge of Woodhouse Washlands which lies just to the west of the Beighton Marsh part of Shire Brook Valley Nature Reserve.
Postcode: Sorry, we couldn't find a postcode for this location.
Latitude / Longitude: 53.3517992, -1.3636869