Discover Endcliffe Park
Endcliffe Park, a large expanse of parkland and woodland, was opened in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. The park is situated 2 miles south-west of Sheffield city centre along the Porter Brook. Endcliffe Park is the first instance of green space, along this river, in a collection of parks known as Porter Valley Parks.
The Porter Brook Parkway, consisting as it does of a string of contiguous open spaces, is the finest example to be found in this country of a radial park strip, an elongated open space, leading from a built-up part of the city direct into the country.
It is possible to follow this network of reserves all the way out to the Peak District and access the popular Sheffield Round Walk from Endcliffe Park.
Most of the Porter Valley Parks are reclaimed, pre-steam age industrial landscapes. Endcliffe Park has been listed on English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
Inside Endcliffe Park
Consisting of grasslands along Rustlings Road and woodland along the Northern boundary, beyond the Porter Brook, Endcliffe Park has many interesting features adding to its popularity.
There is a playground, which was remodelled in 2008; a parkour training facility funded by the Sheffield Parkour Movement group in 2014; an outdoor gym, all of which are free to use, and the wonderful Endcliffe Park Cafe.
There is also plenty of room for field games and space for a plethora of events, held throughout the year. A short walk from the Park it is possible to find the enlightening Shepherd Wheel Workshop.
The Ponds at Endcliffe Park
Much like the winding woodland paths, the Porter Brook freely traverses through the many ancient trees of Endcliffe Park. It is damned, however, to form two old mill ponds, complete with traditional mill races that have since been partially blocked to create a dramatic waterfall effect.
At the site of the first pond, in the Western quarter of Endcliffe Park, is an island with no public access. The island, acting as a birdlife refuge, is inhabited by mallard, moorhen, and coot. It is also inhabited each winter by migratory black-headed gulls. The ponds themselves are visited by ducks, pigeons, herons, and kingfishers and the Porter Brook also plays host to a range of wildlife along its vast expanse.
Commemorating Queen Victoria
Main entrances to the Park are off Rustlings Road, and the former toll bar; Hunter’s Bar. Next to the entrance is a Grade II listed pavilion and lodge, constructed in 1891. There is also a statue of Queen Victoria and a commemorative tree planted by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, in honour of her Jubilee.
Alongside the statue at the Park’s entrance is another structure dedicated to Queen Victoria; an obelisk on the path towards Whiteley Woods. Both monuments were originally located at the top of Fargate in Sheffield city centre before finding their way to Endcliffe Park.
At the Park’s centre, is a dolmen, surrounded by railings. There is a coat of arms on the top stone and an inscription, referring to the founding of the park.
(Endcliffe Park was not the only park in England opened to commemorate Queen Victoria. Royal Victoria Park in Bath was another, and actually the very first park to open in her honour.)
Commemorating ‘Mi Amigo’
Endcliffe Park is also the crash site of the USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress ‘Mi Amigo’. The aircraft had sustained significant damage whilst defending Me-109 fighters, from a bombing mission over Aalborg, Denmark. On 22nd February 1944 it was returning to the States, when it crash-landed in the Park shortly after 5pm.
In the wake of the destruction, a handful of trees, which had not already been uprooted by the crash, had to be felled. However, ahead of the Park’s 75th anniversary in 1969, ten American Oaks were planted by Sheffield City Council to honour the ten lives lost during the crash.
A commemorative stone and description board was also placed at the site in 1969 after a fundraising effort by the Sheffield branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA). The RAFA also organises a memorial service at Endcliffe Park annually, on the Sunday closest to 22nd February.
Anyone looking to access the memorial site, which is marked by the distinctive dip in the tree-line behind the cafe, can do so via the Woodland Walk, or across the stepping stones next to the cafe.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Sheffield Treasure Hunts - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of England.