Sheffield’s outdoor season is set to burst out of the blocks in March with the city’s first Festival of the Outdoors and details of the full festival programme have now been revealed.
The line-up features a smorgasbord of outdoor activities and events from city centre dual mountain biking and road cycling challenges to heritage walks, beer runs, yoga, archery and even a paddle board river clean up. Undoubtedly one of the most unique events in the programme will be a series of Urban Caving trips into the storm drain network below Sheffield’s city centre. Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) and the youth hostelling charity YHA (England & Wales) have teamed up with The Outdoor City to offer an exclusive opportunity to visit the underbelly of the city, in an urban adventure like no other. Guided by experienced caving professionals from the YHA’s Castleton Youth Hostel in the Peak District and an expert in the local area, participants will hear about the city’s ground-breaking work to uncover its lost waterways, whilst being wowed by an underground short film screening, taking “immersive” cinema to a whole new level. Urban Caving trips can be booked via the ShAFF website – but places are limited so be quick!
Sheffield Adventure Film Festival is one of the headline events in the Festival of the Outdoors, returning along with the likes of The Magnificent Seven hill climb, Big Running Weekend and Howard Street Dual mountain biking event, which all formed part of The Outdoor City Weekender in previous years. Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) will also kick off the festivities this weekend 2- 3 March.
The Festival of the Outdoors was born out of The Outdoor City Weekender, having exploded out of the original three day event programme and has now been expanded to the whole of March, offering ample opportunity to showcase Sheffield’s vibrant outdoor communities and promote fun, adventure and participation for all.
More than 40 organisers from across the city’s outdoor groups, clubs and businesses have come together to offer over 70 events across the month, with still some yet to be announced, making it one of the festival one of biggest of its kind in the UK.
This year organisers have also incorporated a number of accessible events for people with additional needs, highlighting the availability of adapted bike sessions from Cycling 4 All and Experience Community and an accessible, relaxed pace walk led by Parkinson’s UK Sheffield branch. Climbing For All Sheffield will also be attempting to climb the equivalent height of Europe’s biggest vertical rockface, to raise money for the charity.
If the line-up of outdoor activities wasn’t enough, Sheffield’s cultural scene is also set to present a stellar month of world class events in March, with the current Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition running at the Millennium Gallery, Richard Hawley’s musical Standing at The Sky’s Edge opening at the Crucible, street art spectacular Mausoleum of Giants and Sheffield Beer Week to wash it all down with. This March, Sheffield is the place to be!
Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment said: “The outdoor community has come together in an amazing way to support the Festival of the Outdoors and I hope as many people as possible turn out to enjoy the shows, activities and cultural buzz that’s happening across March.
“The waterways are a vital part of the character of Sheffield city centre and I look forward to sharing the story of and plans for these with people who visit the tunnel network with us. We are currently undertaking work in the area, and we want to see Castlegate transformed into a digital and creative hub with the top quality leisure and green spaces that people now expect from a city like Sheffield.”
Matt Heason, organiser of The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival said: “ShAFF is as much about the adventure as it is about the films, and whether you’re a seasoned explorer or just discovering your first taste of outdoor adventure we want to inspire you into action. This year we’re proud to be part of the Festival of the Outdoors as it showcases Sheffield and promotes fun, adventure and participation for all, and I’m really excited we’ve been able to team up with YHA and The Outdoor City to make our urban caving vision a reality. It’s a unique opportunity to venture into the depths of Sheffield that are normally out of bounds.”