Places to see birds

Graves Park

Collared dove sitting in grass

Graves Park, Sheffield's largest park, is located 3.25 miles south of the city centre between the districts of Norton, Woodseats and Meadowhead. It has a mix of open ground and semi-natural woodland through which several streams flow in valleys. One of these streams has been dammed to create a chain of three small lakes.

The park was formerly part of the Norton Estate. In estate papers of 1887, it was described as 200 acres of 'rich arable pasture park and woodland' with timber, and abounding with oak and other trees, as well as 'sheets of water and extensive pleasure grounds'. In 1925, 154 acres of the estate were purchased by Councillor and Mrs. J.G. Graves, and presented to Sheffield Corporation for use as a public park.

Graves Park incorporates three woods; Cobnar Wood, Waterfall Wood and Summerhouse Wood. Trees include oak, beech, sycamore, ash, alder, elm, lime, horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, birch, holly and various conifers. Birds seen by our Group in these woodlands have included wren, dunnock, robin, blackbird, great tit, coal tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, treecreeper, sparrowhawk and the introduced ring-necked parakeet.

The playing field areas tend to be more sterile, apart from a few black-headed gulls and the occasional pied wagtail, but areas in which the vegetation is allowed to grow taller and where there are scattered trees can have a greater variety of species, including common snipe, mistle thrush, bullfinch and goldfinch. An example of such an area is the old plant nursery on the southern edge of the park. To the northeast of the park is Graves Park Animal Farm, home to many rare breeds of cattle, pigs, chickens and donkeys and always popular for a visit with children.

Birds found on the lakes can include Canada goose, mallard, tufted duck, moorhen, coot and goosander. Take care though as the wild birds here are often mingled with captive specimens, for example of wood duck. Grey wagtail may also be present around the water's edge.

Other birds our Group has seen on visits to Graves Park include buzzard, collared dove, house sparrow, jay, raven, redwing, stock dove and song thrush.

Graves Park lies adjacent to the A61 Meadowhead road. Parking on this side of the park is to be found at the end of Charles Ashmore Road. Another parking area is off Hemsworth Road close to the Animal Farm. Both of these have a charge for their use. Roads on both sides of the park are well served by buses; the 18 along Hemsworth Road and the 24, 25, 43, 44, 75 and X17 along the A61.

Access across the park is generally easy and there are many surfaced paths, although some of these do have relatively steep gradients. Refreshments are available at the Rose Garden Cafe which is open almost every day of the year and there are toilets at the Animal Farm.