22 Comments

Although I no longer live in the area, this was my childhood park. I'm so glad that its story is being told, and thank you for giving this excellent project a platform. The energy and commitment of the Friends is astonishing. There are even some early signs that perhaps they might be persuading a previously reluctant Council (who are the trustees of this park, which is owned by the people of Sheffield) to work collaboratively with them, although there is still considerable scope for improvement.

A small correction: the main road that passes Northwest of the park through Woodseats (Norton Woodseats to give it its Sunday name) and which is shown in the picture is Chesterfield Road, not Woodseats Road (which is somewhere else). In common with most roads named for places, it signifies where it runs to, not where it runs through.

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I’m amazingly lucky in having Graves Park only a few minutes’ walk away from where I live, and my history-minded imagination has been stimulated by a number of features in the landscape. There are gateposts dotted about, such as those near the boating lakes, and parallel lines of trees stretching from near the pavilion towards the woods. I understand that this latter marks the old packet road south from Sheffield, and continuing southwards, you can find more gateposts.

It’s lovely to see areas of open grassland being left unmowed (except for the edges), and these areas would look absolutely stunning if the money could be stumped up to replace some of the grass with proper wildflower meadows (a shout here for The Green Estate Community Interest Company and their partners Pictorial Meadows, whose seeds are available to the public; I’m not associated with either of these btw).

Also, what an interesting point about beech trees! They are so beautiful, both in the spring and in the autumn, but it’s true that the ground underneath them has very little visible plant-life. As you can see from one of David’s early photos in this piece, the footpath down the ravine walk almost disappears under their shed leaves, and can become a bit gooey. In other parts of the park there are lots of bluebells - the proper native ones I’m glad to say - and more of these jewels would be glorious!

Finally, a shout also for David’s own newsletter, “Bill’s Mother’s”. It’s such a refreshing read when all around us can be overwhelmingly gloomy. Please support him!! (Again, no personal interest to declare)

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Great read! You can read the research conducted to inform the project online - it contains a lot of interesting history, images and maps if anyone wants to delve deeper:

https://friendsofgravespark.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Norton-Park-review-report-Feb-2020.pdf

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What a fantastic, inspiring article. Great writing too. ('The leaves of the 20th century...' will stay with me for a while.) Makes me think about examining my day-to-day commitments with a view to volunteering. I'd love to see similar work in the Rivelin Valley, which I look out on from my back window.

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The Friends of Graves Park and Cllr(s) Auckland do an excellent job in defending the Park from the Council who apparently have tried to sell off bits of it or use it for their own purposes. The Old Nursery area at the top of the Park is an example. Previously the Council tried to sell the Land for use by St Luke’s Hospice. A seemingly worthy cause but still not in keeping with the Covenant. Latterly it has been report that they have been using the area as a Lorry Parking or Council Storage area. These activities although seemingly reasonable were challenged by the “Friends” to keep the Park for the People of Sheffield.

I am not a member but admire their defence of this Civic Gift.

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Fantastic article. Great to read about the plans for Graves Park. And a big 'well done' to all the volunteers who are making it happen. That funding bid would have taken hundreds of hours to write, with no guarantees of success. The fact they were awarded the money clearly demonstrates the strength and value of the project, which we will all benefit from. Thank you.

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Fascinating and beautifully written - thankyou. I lived in Woodseats for a couple of years, and had a wonderful view of the park. Until now I’d no idea of its long and complex history. As someone else has commented, I’d love to see similar projects developed for the Rivelin Valley.

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Nov 18, 2023·edited Nov 19, 2023

Absolutely adore Graves Park. Those living in surrounding suburbs like Norton and Woodseats are so fortunate to have it at their doorstep. Took a friend there for a fantastic afternoon walk a few months ago. They were overwhelmed by the size of it, the number of entrances and how much there was to explore. Only slight downer was not seeing the rhododendrens. Think it was out of season ;)

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Graves park is magic although it was 'magicer' when I was a kid. Lived on Cobnar Road - The Poplars - about 50 feet from the park from the age of 12 to 27 and again until about year 2000. I knew the park 'like the back of my hand'. No mention of the theatre or of the 'pavilion' and its garden?

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If MK and SB had been at all musical, they could have carved "Stupid Q-Pit, stop a-pickin' on me!"

I'm trying to think of an equally lame pun about the Cold Stream guarding, only it seems it's not doing that so much 😐 so I can't 😐😐

What I will do is to suggest that Prof. Rotherham and disciples test the soil in the woods for traces of nutmeg. It was the party drug of choice in the Middle Ages.

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Really great read, thanks. It's good to know what's going on in Graves Park.

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Cheers Ruth, why not try some nutmeg yourself, it might inspire you for that Cold Stream song pun!

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