July 5th 2016, a glorious summer’s day, three brave young men start a journey that will change their lives for the better – the Sheffield Round Walk. Chris Arnold (the author of this blog and leader of the walk) was longing for more excitement in his life, a quick Google search informed him that the 14 mile Sheffield Round Walk was the most fun he could have on a Tuesday without breaking the law. He enlisted his trusted companions Mark Leeming (TV’s Mickey Michaels and fried chicken aficionado) & Jonny Harrold (beer connoisseur and owner of 4 wooden staffs), packed a bag full of treats and off they went…
Now, prior to the walk I (I’ve gone from third to first person to sound less grandiose/annoying) was researching what pubs we could go to along the way, and I couldn’t find any blog, article, guide or otherwise that could help us in our quest. In fact, there was practically nothing at all online with regards to getting drunk on the walk! Disgruntled, I decided to write my own blog containing pub information once we’d completed our travels, hence I present to you…
THE SHEFFIELD ROUND WALK PUB CRAWL
Oh yes folks! Let’s get going. But first…
Now, the walk is roughly 14 miles long, so be prepared for a fair trek, but it’s very easy on the old legs bar one or two steep bits. I took two unfit drunks with me and they were fine. The walk is circular, ascending from Endcliffe Park through the Porter Valley, climbing towards the moorland edge of Ringinglow. The route then descends through the Limb Valley, Whirlow Brook Park and Ecclesall Woods before climbing once again through Ladies Spring Wood and Chancet Wood to Graves Park. From Graves Park, the walk continues through the Gleadless Valley, Meersbrook Park and Chelsea Park, before returning to the start at Endcliffe Park. The walk itself is maintained by Sheffield City Council, nice one guys, high fives all around.
I’ve broken the blog down into the stops we did, ten of them altogether, seven of them at establishments providing alcoholic beverages, so without further ado, I present to you…
STOP #1 – ENDCLIFFE PARK CAFE
A perfect place to start, the cafe sits on the edge of Endcliffe Park and will provide your stomach with a lining fit for a king. I had a vegetarian fry up with a latte and Jonny had a falafel burger whilst we waited for Mark to join us. The mushrooms were delicious and the coffee was supremely rich.
The weather was great and was set to stay that way, so if possible pick a day where the weather will be great. That is in fact my main advice. We set off around 11AM, heading out of the park following the Porter Brook stream and the Whitely Woods Trail until we reached our second stop.
STOP #2 – FORGE DAM CAFE
Another delightful place to stop, the Forge Dam Cafe sits alongside, you’ve guessed it, the Forge Dam and although they don’t serve booze we still had ourselves a drink. A Blood Orange San Pellegrino for myself a Babycino for Mark. I had no idea what a Babycino was and ridiculed Mark once I’d found out. Jonny just sat there and watched us drink like some sort of drink pervert. We thought we saw Richard Hawley sitting in the corner with a mate, and our suspicions were confirmed once the cafe worker shouted “FOOD FOR RICHARD” and our suspected Hawley stood up to collect. So there you go, star spotting AND a great day out, the Sheffield Round Walk has it all. Once Mark had finished his ridiculous drink, we set off once more, this time for a long time, heading all the way along the Porter Brook to Fullwood Road, walking past Mayfield Alpaca Farm and arriving at our first pub.
STOP #3 – NORFOLK ARMS HOTEL
By this point, you’re about a quarter of the way already – congratulations! We were all thirsty for a drink – a classic pint of Moonshine for me, a pint of Split Pin for Jonny and a cider of some sort for Mark. The walk up until now had been glorious and much less urbanised than we expected. We’d all lived in Sheffield for over 7 years and it felt great to be seeing parts of the borough for the first time.
We then set off once more, travelling down the Limb Brook, passing through Whirlow, and eventually arriving in Dore. We were hoping to find another pub sooner rather than later, however we were half way though the full walk before we did. Fiddlesticks!
STOP #4 – THE SUMMER HOUSE
By this point I realised why there wasn’t much stuff on the internet with regards to pubs on the Sheffield Round Walk, we’d walked around 7 miles and had only just arrived at our second pub. Still, spirits were high and we were certain plenty more pubs were going to be available in the second half of our trip. The walk from Ringalow to Dore was beautifully mystical, it was pretty much just the three of us the whole time.
Mark then pointed out that the Sheffield Round Walk only goes in one direction, so chances are you won’t pass people. Nice one Mark, you’re like some sort of detective wizard. Also this was a Tuesday afternoon and most normal folk are at work. At the Summer House we had a couple of bottles of King of The Hops & Curious IPA plus some crisps and pork scratchings to nibble on. After our stop we carried on our journey, much like the hobbits did in that story about the rings, and ascended a steep climb behind Dore train station. Jonny ran too fast up the ascent and had to stop to regain his breath. What an idiot. I had printed off some copies of a map detailing the walk, however the walk itself is so well signposted you would have to be an absolute tool to get lost on the route.
Anyway, the walk from now on has slightly more urbanised feel, no more long stretches in woods, but still delightful none the less. We followed our path until we hit the A61. You’re supposed to go over the road and continue into Graves Park, however we had gotten a booze thirst on so we travelled north up the road in search of a pub.
STOP #5 – THE BIG TREE
We originally wanted to stop at the Abbey on Chesterfield Road, but that was shut, so we walked further on down, past the KFC and into the Big Tree. Probably our least favourite pub from the whole walk, there was a big St George’s Flag hanging outside as the Euros were on, but it just reminded us of the recent Brexit vote. The beer selection was quite poor, but the prices were damn cheap. Myself and Jonny had a pint of Greene King IPA (£1.99!!) each and Mark had a Hazy Hog cider. I quite liked the IPA but Jonny shouted curse words at his pint for at least 5 minutes.
We had what we would describe as ‘top banter’ with the bar maid, and she filled up our water bottles for us. After spending most of the walk with the natural sounds of trees creaking and squirrels rustling, the loud noise of the street cars was unnerving and we headed into Graves Park, eventually rejoining the official walk path. The Graves Park trail leads you through a a golf course (we sat and watched a very good golfer hit a ball with his golfing stick for a bit) and eventually onto Hemsworth Road. Which leads us to stopo numero sixo.
STOP #6 – THE NEW INN
After the low point of the Big Tree, we were hoping for something better next. The New Inn didn’t quite hit the spot, although it was nice and clean inside. A quote painted above the bar read “Probably the best pub in the World”, the emphasis quite clearly being on the word “probably”. In fact, this pub loved quotes, there were quotes everywhere. Another one read “Always drink when you’re happy, never when you’re sad” which is great advice for people with depression but surely not a business strategy an establishment trying to shift units of alcohol should be pushing.
Anyway, the booze selection was slim once more, Jonny in particular being the booze connoisseur that he is, was starting to get ratty. I had a San Miguel, Jonny a Guinness and Mark a Stones. It was about 6:30PM by now and we were almost three quarters of the way through the walk. As we were about to leave Mark told us that we should hold on as his fiancé Nikki was going to be arriving by bus. “By bus?” I exclaimed, “buses don’t come out here do they?!” and literally at that second a bus pulled up behind us and Nikki got off. Oh how we laughed. Now the trio became a quartet and we carried on. To Meersbrook!
STOP #7 – THE TRAMSHED
The rest of the walk becomes much more urbanised, drifting in and out of forests, streets and parks. Coming over the top of Meersbrook Park as the sun was setting was a definitive high point, Sheffield really did look beautiful. A solitary tear ran down my face as I hugged Jonny, Mark & Nikki and whispered “never leave me”. That last sentence might not be true, who can remember, I had alcohol in my system and I was longing for more. Luckily for us the Tramshed was our seventh stop of the day and it really felt like a home run from now on. After the poor selections in our last two stops, the Tramshed was heavenly – we had a round of trendy beers and even trendier nibbles. Brass Castle Sunshine, Beaverton Smog Rocket – not names of forgotten 80s films but some of the beverages we indulged in at during our stop. We were in full pub crawl mode now and stop #8 was literally just around the corner.
STOP #8 – THE BROADFIELD
You can’t go wrong with the Broadfield, a few pints of Santium IPA, a nice little spot in the beer garden. I had been keeping pretty detailed notes about our journey throughout the day but by this point I had got lazy, all I have for this stop is “Good times – 5 stars”. If anyone who works at the Broadfield is reading this, feel free to use my review in any upcoming promotional material. It was starting to get dark now. Onwards we travelled into the night. Well, we were slightly delayed as I wanted to get a pizza and it took 20 minutes for it to cook in the fast food place opposite the Broadfield. But once that delicious pizza was ready, onwards we travelled into the night.
STOP #9 – THE UNION
Now. Up until writing this blog, I thought we had stopped off nine times throughout the day, that’s what I put on my self-congratulatory Facebook post anyway. Turns our I had completely forgotten about The Union.
A delightful little pub on Union Street, classic interior, nice beer selection and if my memory serves me correctly there was a sign advertising a music quiz on a Wednesday. By this point we’re nicely tipsy and spirits within the group are high. We’ve almost walked 14 miles today guys! We have achieved something with our lives! Take that all the teachers who told us we’d never amount to anything! LOOK AT US NOW TEACHERS. LOOK AT US NOW!
STOP #10 – THE STAG
Once we’d finished shouting at hypothetical teachers from our past, we travelled to our final spot – the Stags Head on Psalter Lane. Our friend Ben the Wizard (don’t ask, he’s just a wizard ok, there doesn’t need to be a reason) joined us for celebratory pints of Thornbridge beer. Mark’s pedometer informed us that we’d marched 40,453 steps and we’d debated whether the calories burnt from walking equaled the calories we’d put on through beer and pizza consumption. Either way, we’d had a lovely day and I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Put 11 hours to one side, whack on a decent pair of shoes and set off on your very own Sheffield Round Walk Pub Crawl.