Pavement tour: Ridgeway, Sheffield S12

Who knows the inside track on Britain's prime addresses? The long-standing local agents – of course – so each week we pin a different one down for an insider's walk around their manor.

This week: Karen Sikora of Blundells agency

Where: Ridgeway, Sheffield S12

To be found to the northeast of Derbyshire’s Peak District yet within easy reach of Sheffield’s city centre, the S12 post code is a little known gem of a district, with prices that are a steal, even for the Steel City.

Fringed by golf courses and with the nicely appointed Birley Wood club at its heart, S12 takes in half a dozen ‘townships’ as the Sheffield argot has it, including Gleadless, Charnock, Birley and the intriguingly-named Intake. 

Sheffield property for sale

Each has its own character and attractions, as Karen Sikora at local agents Blundell explains.  “There’s been an awful lot of investment in new schools, at Birley and Mertle Springs for example.  There’s a new one in Stradbroke Road and many of the schools, like Birley and Gleadless, get excellent reports.  So young families move into the area for this, and for the supertram, which takes them to Meadowhall [the vast shopping centre next to the M1] or the city centre in a few minutes.”

Besides young families and commuters looking for a pleasant location with good links, S12 has begun to attract buy-to-let investors, according to Sikora, helping to satisfy a burgeoning rental population.  There is a wealth of renovated ex-council property, next to some well-presented new estates.  

Ridgeway is the star

Of all the mini-districts, Ridgeway is the pick.  A quiet, leafy village with church, pubs and a river at the bottom of the valley, carpets of bluebells in spring and fine old houses lining the streets, it boasts Sheffield’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, The Old Vicarage, run by celebrity chef Tessa Bramley and her team.  Check out the sage-roasted saddle of Ridgeway hare with spiced pears and beetroot, stir fried leeks and celeriac.  You’d be hard pressed to see an actual Ridgeway hare in the fields, but Bramley clearly knows where to look! A four course menu costs £60 and is worth every penny.

Homes for sale

On the local estate agents’ menu are four bed Georgian-style detached houses for £325,000-£450,000, three-beds for £215,000-£300,000 and then 1930s semis all over S12 for between £120,000 and £150,000.  One- and two-bed apartments are popular with older residents (especially with ground floor access) and cost between £70,000 and £100,000.

These prices are lower than in neighbouring S20 and S8, but there is little to differentiate the postcode in terms of facilities and environment.  Shoppers can get to Crystal Peaks Centre in minutes, there are popular pubs such as The Phoenix and The Ridgeway Arms, along with a fine selection of parks and open spaces either bordering the district or within easy reach.  Norton Park has tennis courts and a well-stocked play area, Richmond Park in S13 is very pleasant and the rolling expanse of Graves Park is a short walk away.  “It’s really on our doorstep,” says Sikora.  “There are nature trails, ponds and lakes and everything.”

Things to do in Sheffield

Another few minutes’ drive, bus or tram journey brings you to the Rother Valley Country Park.  Created from a former coal mine, this is one of the undiscovered treasures of Yorkshire.  It has lakes for sailing, cycle routes, adventure playgrounds and even a waterskiing centre.  You wouldn’t believe the tricks these fit young Sean Bean lookalikes can do on their wakeboards.

More genteel leisure activities can be found at Birley Spa, once an upmarket hotel where Sheffield’s gentry would come to take the medicinally therapeutic waters, now a public bathhouse restored with a Heritage Lottery Grant. 

Sports facilities in general may have benefitted from the presence of Richard Caborn MP, the longest-serving sports minister in UK governmental history.  Current (Labour) MP for the area itself is Clive Betts, also a sports fanatic who runs the Commons football team and once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.  His 18th Century home in S12 is an old manor house with its own orchard, croquet lawn and ballroom. 

Famous residents

A smashed ballroom window once caused Betts to summon the local police, thinking that a shooting party had done the damage.  The Old Bill arrived, searched the premises and discovered a rather stunned (but otherwise unharmed) pheasant cowering behind a sofa!

“There’s a lot of history in the the area,” says Betts.  “There’s the old bridle path that used to go from Sheffield to London – you can still walk along part of it, next to my house – and the boundary between the old kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria.”

 “And the ex-bassist from the Arctic Monkeys lives here,” adds Betts’s boyfriend James. 

    • By David Nicholson
      16 December 2010
    Ridgeway is a little known gem of a district, with prices that are a steal, even for the Steel City.