Mabel Fatokun

Sheffield All Shades of Green: The English City With More Trees Than Men

United Kingdom

  • 67,898,397
  • (244,376 km2

Sheffield, a hilly city in the middle of a valley, is home to seven gentle peaks and five water sources. The River Don and its tributaries, including the Sheaf, Rivelin, Loxley, and Porter Brook, played a significant role in its evolution. The fast-flowing water powered mills and became the birthplace of small steel items. The Industrial Revolution’s advancements solidified Sheffield’s reputation as the leading steel producer. Sheffield, once a major industrial hub, now boasts the greenest city centre in Great Britain, with 61% of its catchment area dedicated to parks, woodlands, and gardens, including one-third of Peak District National Park’s moors and heathland.

Sheffield, ranked as the UK’s eco-friendly leader in the 2021 Green Cities Report by NatWest and The University of Southampton, is not only known for its green credentials but also for its ambitious goal of becoming a net-zero carbon city by 2050.

Sheffield has a tree population of 4.5 million, outpacing its human population of 550,000. With more trees per person than any other European city, Sheffield covers nearly one-fifth of its surface, with a tree cover percentage of 18.4%, resulting in approximately seven trees per resident.

In 2022, Sheffield was recognised as one of the international Tree Cities of the World.

Sheffield’s ambitious Tube-style Greenground Map celebrates all 800 green spaces by highlighting various trails and walking opportunities, alongside existing routes like the 15-mile Sheffield Round Walk and the eight-mile Blue Loop, providing visitors with a comprehensive greenside experience.

As well as being the greenest city in the UK, Sheffield is the second-greenest city in Europe after Oslo, which pips this Yorkshire city to the green post with around 72% of green spaces. Sheffield City Council’s manager for city campaigns, Mark Mobbs, emphasizes the importance of green spaces connecting different parts of the city and being usable as part of daily life. He believes Sheffield has unique accessibility to genuine green spaces, not just small patches of grass, from the city centre and throughout the suburbs.

Sheffield, a city that combines nature and culture, is aiming to ensure its sustainable evolution for generations to come by incorporating green spaces into its city identity.


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