Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2010/09/17 Amazing Attercliffe

Ride report Amazing Attercliffe 17 Sep 2010
It was a day of sunny spells with a brisk breeze and it meant that autumn has really come along – as did 12 cyclists new to Sheffield FNR including two welcome visitors from Chesterfield! The Canal Basin had us and some boats in it as (OMG!) 42 nightriders assembled for a dry, chilly ride around Attercliffe – this number is a FNR record. Some newcomers had been promising themselves to come along for some time, others had been brought by experienced nightriders, some had seen the posters in bike shops, and some had found it trawling the web. We started by crossing the swing bridges on the canal towards Blast Lane, out through the single arch in the wall, under the railway viaduct (which goes on and across the Wicker) and then onto Cadman Lane and over one of the 1819 canal bridges. Missed the left turn immediately after the bridge but doubled back on Effingham Rd to go across the Bailey bridge on the Don and cycle along the 5 Weirs path towards Attercliffe.

Some road crossings and lights led Mick to stop to regroup on Warren St by a sauna parlour. Our noise and presence brought the women from the sauna parlour down their stairs to come out to greet us in their workclothes and plenty of slap to find out who we were. They kindly offered us a variation on a FridayNightRide, “I can give you a FridayNightRide, love”. Tim is alleged to have promised “Laters” as we rode away and Mick was thinking, “What kind of bike does she have?”

Having waved our goodbyes we cycled on to the 5 Weirs Walk and went through Salmon Pastures and under Washford Bridge to turn onto Attercliffe Rd and head up to the 1805 manager’s house of Royd’s Mill,(now an Anatolian Cultural Centre) round to the right past the RC church of St Charles Borromeo (the only ‘working’ church left in Attercliffe and evidence of the Irish immigration in the nineteenth century) and back up to Attercliffe Rd opposite Spartan Works. Then onto Attercliffe Rd and right on Staniforth Rd across Pinfold Bridge and left onto the cycle paths which go round the back of the stadium. We stopped at the canal to look at the ‘turning circle’ near Chippingham St and then continued on past the steam hammer amongst the new houses and out across Coleridge Rd with the canal aqueduct on our right and to the back of the Sports Institute and Ice England where we all cycled up to the tundish.

Mick climbed up inside to the viewing platform to wave at all below who then proceeded to join him on the viewing platform inside the tundish. It was then he realised that 40 people on average weigh about 3 tonnes and perhaps the platform was not built with this kind of working load in mind but we all survived so no harm done! We took in the views over the Lower Don Valley as the light faded and all discussed how steel was made in the past. Several riders took the opportunity to ride down the terraced slopes and then it was onwards past the old Carbrook School (now offices and, I think, a club), through the Arena car park, past the Noose and Gibbet on Broughton Lane where we stared at the grim facsimile of Spence Broughton in a gibbet and skirting Centertainment we crossed Attercliffe Common to arrive at the Carbrook Hotel.

The new management were delighted to see us as we filled up the garden with bikes and entered the ancient seat of the Bright family to consume fizzy beer whilst comfortably seated amongst the Jacobean plaster and wood splendour of a seventeenth century drawing room. We filled up the entire room and the manager/DJ put on Queen’s “Bicycle Race” and welcomed the “FridayNightRide Crew” and played us out with Katie Melua’s 9 million Bicycles in Beijing but added, “ … and there all here at Carbrook Hall!”

Now we headed back towards the centre of Attercliffe (the village green used to be in the triangle of Worksop Rd, Leeds Rd and Attercliffe Rd) and we took to the cycle path of the 5 Weirs Walk to take us back along the Don like a gigantic lantern parade with our lights on. We crossed Newhall Rd and stopped below the churchyard whilst Mick explained that the cliff of Attercliffe used to be just below the churchyard but the course of the river was altered on the 1860s so the high wall of the embankment indicates the cliff that the Don used to glide by. From there all followed Mick into the dark tunnel of the path along the side of the graveyard and through the churchyard to emerge surprisingly on Attercliffe Rd next to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

From there we skirted round onto Newhall Rd past the Adelphi and across Newhall Rd again to take the back streets behind the Vestry Hall and Offices to turn left beside the 1629 Hill Top Chapel. This is one the oldest buildings in Sheffield and probably the oldest still being used for its original purpose. Not a good view this time of night so we headed on along Attercliffe Rd to cycle straight onto the forecourt of the Greyhound Pub where our host, Sharon, had the beer ready and the snug and even managed a few plates of free chips for us. I think we shall return.

I had to go early to a birthday party but I think all got home OK. We stopped at/saw about a third of what is on the map so it’s a good one to go and visit for a walk or ride during daylight. Enjoy!

Next Sheffield FridayNightRide
Amazing Attercliffe
Friday 17 Sep 2010
Start 6.30 pm Canal Basin (on the Hilton side)

Route: Canal Basin, then on to Attercliffe, through Attercliffe, round and about Attercliffe, back along Attercliffe and out of Attercliffe to Canal Basin again. Seriously, this ride will start with a ride into Attercliffe using paths and roads, and then on the cycle paths up to Broughton Lane and Carbrook Hall, back to Newhall, and then roads into downtown Attercliffe out into Darnall, back into Attercliffe and then back to the Canal Basin.

Heads up! The ride is just over 9 miles long (so a shorter ride) but there is a lot to see. Contrary to impressions it’s not flat but it is as flat as Sheffield gets – there are the remains of the cliff that gives the place its name. It’s all on Sheffield roads and cycle paths with the occasional street with the original cobbles/setts. Probably wouldn’t suit ultra-narrow rims. Can be clusters of broken glass so tough tyres recommended.

Map: The map is up at,-1.437235&spn=0.036123,0.111151&z=14&iwloc=00048f57366d67a741cb3

Refreshments: Could be Carbrook Hall for a brief stop and view for those that haven’t seen inside and definitely the Greyhound which has been a welcoming spot with a good bike park.

Background: Attercliffe, is now a district of the City of Sheffield but was once a rural village that is in the Domesday book (Ateclive – “at the cliff”). It was a centre of learning and dissent in the C17th with a couple of water powered forges where Newhall Rd crosses the Don, and it was a market garden for Sheffield up to the C19th. The canals and railways changed all that and its population went from about 2500 to 50000 from about 1819 to 1919 as the steel industry became the arsenal of the world and Attercliffe changed from a rural village to one of the most industrialised and polluted sites in the world. The wealth generated (but not necessarily shared) earned it the name the “Golden Mile”. Now it has uses for sport, entertainment and industry with Darnall being the main centre of population. It’s a bit of a transport corridor and needs some TLC.
See for an 1806 walk through Attercliffe!
See for a wonderful personal blog of growing up in Attercliffe in the 70s with a lot of facts and figures about Attercliffe through time
Parish Boundary: