We live in the Sheffield muesli-belt, full of stealth vans, vegan shops, musicians, allotments, street art, community gardeners, home educators and activists, rock climbers and serious cyclists, antique shops, junk shops, upcyclers and recyclers.
Our incredibly steep, local park is full of picnickers in summer, reggae playing from makeshift, home-rigged bike trailer sound-systems. People lounging and chatting, lined up at the top of the park, gazing out over the city and the valleys leading out to the Peak District National Park to the west and the M1 motorway to the east. Doubtless they are plotting; making plans for their European vanlife or their next climbing adventure.
In winter, the park becomes a huge toboggan run. In heavy snow, it seems as though the whole of Meersbrook is out hoiking sledges, toboggans, skis and snowboards up through the park for thrills.
Bishops’ House stands at the top of the park. The original part of the house was built more than 460 years ago, making it the oldest timber-framed house in the city and it is open as a museum for visitors at weekends.
Meersbrook Park is also home to a number of community-driven, locally-focussed organisations which typify the area, and Sheffield in general. The Heeley Trust is a neighbourhood champion which aims to improve the lives of local people and protect green space. It is based in Meersbrook Hall, a Grade II listed former home of the Ruskin Museum, which has been given a new lease of life, providing courses and a community meeting point. The hall’s walled garden is run by Meersbrook Park Users Trust with support from Heeley City Farm and has been lovingly restored into a beautiful and productive space, open for community events, such as summer parties and Autumn apple days. The park is also bounded by two of the neighbourhood’s three allotment sites, the largest of which, Heeley and Meersbrook, covers an area almost equal to the size of the park itself.
We love our park, and we love our neighbourhood of free-thinking, creative, friendly, community-minded hummus dippers and salad munchers. It’s the ideal place to chill out, live frugally, plan our future and be inspired.
Do you live in Meersbrook but have a different opinion? Or do you have another favourite part of the city? Do you live somewhere else and want to sing its praises? Tell me in the comments below.