Greno Woods is an ancient woodland, rich in wildlife and full of historic interest. Covering 169 hectares, it is one of our largest reserves and offers excellent opportunities for wildlife watching, exploration and recreation.
Acquired in 2012, the Trust owns Greno Woods outright. Although the woodland has been significantly altered by the introduction of non-native conifers in the 1950s, it remains a beautiful and peaceful place enjoy nature.
The woods contains some of the county’s most vulnerable habitats, including mature oak woodland and heathland. Walk along the Trans-Pennine Trail in spring and revel in woodland wildflowers including bluebells, honeysuckle and common cow-wheat. Take a similar walk in summer and enjoy the ripe blackberries and billberries, whilst autumn reveals a profusion of fungi. Birdwatchers will be kept busy through all seasons.
Criss-crossed by a network of footpaths and bridleways, Greno Woods offer many opportunities for walks both long and short. If you prefer to enjoy the outdoors at a faster pace, Excellent horse riding opportunities are offered, including a 3km bridleway loop (which links with bridleways in adjacent Wheata and Wharncliffe Woods). Cyclists can also follow the bridleways, or pass through the reserve on the Trans Pennine Trail which runs through the woods here, whilst adrenaline seekers are invited to try our three downhill mountain bike trails, including the famous Steel City run.
For those wishing to get off the beaten track, the reserve offers a number of orienteering courses. Families are invited to visit our den building area, find our geocache, or try our Greno Explorer challenge.
Lying on the northern fringe of Sheffield, Greno Woods, together with the adjacent Wharncliffe and Wheata Woods, forms an attractive matrix of woodland, heathland and ancient field systems. Taken together, they cover an area of 700 hectares, making them the largest area of woodland with high biodiversity value in Yorkshire. Small wonder then, that so many wild animals and plants are found here.
As the name suggests, Greno Woods is largely a woodland reserve, although an area of heathland is present at its heart. A great many tree species are found here, from ancient oak coppice stools to Victorian beech, to young sweet chestnut coppice and areas of conifer plantation. There has been woodland at Greno since before 1600 and many of the wildflowers found here are particularly associated with ancient woodlands. Look in spring and find sweet honeysuckle, bluebells, ramsons and greater stitchwort along the Trans Pennine Trail or along streamsides in Low Hall Wood.
Common cow wheat is another Greno specialty. This delicate looking plant brightens up the edges of paths with deep golden flowers in the summer. It is a hemi-parasite (meaning it gets some of its food from the roots of other plants) and has a fascinating relationship with the reserve’s hairy wood ants. The cow wheat flowers produce a sugary liquid from tiny glands below the petals that the ants are attracted to and feed on. Meanwhile its seeds contain a special oily structure delicious to the ants who carry them away to their nests, so spreading the plant across the woodland.
Wildlife is plentiful at Greno and whatever the season there is always plenty to spot. Walk the bridleway network in spring and summer and you will see the ride sides buzzing with insect life. Comma, peacock, red admiral and brimstone butterflies make a colourful show, whilst male speckled wood duel for sun spots under the woodland canopy. Look out for the hairy wood ants nests in sunny areas. These amazing structures are a marvel of insect construction. The material in the thatched ‘roof’ of a nest acts like an umbrella when it rains and like a solar panel in good weather, intercepting the sun’s rays and heating the nest above the temperature of the surrounding woodland. Also in sunny spots, look out for basking common lizard, particularly in the area surrounding the heath.
Greno Woods offers great bird watching opportunities. Bands of jays, great spotted woodpecker and wood pigeon are all easily spotted overhead, whilst shyer species such as woodcock and bullfinch lurk in the undergrowth. As summer approaches, the woods burst with birdsong – you may hear chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps as well as the more familiar calls of robins and chaffinches. In winter, visitors such as crossbill compete with squabbling flocks of coal tit, or grey squirrels, for pine nuts.
Other than the ubiquitous grey squirrel, Greno’s mammals are retiring and rarely seen. If you visit at dawn or dusk, you may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of fox or badger, a roe deer feeding in a woodland glade or brown hares in the fields at the woodland edge.
If you need to get in touch with us about Greno Woods or any of our other reserves, please email us or call 0114 263 4335.
Bird Survey 2015
Back in March 2015, volunteers and staff carried out a basic bird survey at Greno Woods. In the process of writing the Management Plan, we identified that we held no recent data on bird species in the site. We felt this was a great opportunity for the local community to get involved and use their birding knowledge.
After a short training session the volunteers walked three routes around the reserve between April and June, carrying out a “Point Count Transect” where they stopped at set points and counted/identified birds for five minutes within a 100 metre circle. Most of the surveys were done in the early morning but some were carried out at dusk.
Fifty species were recorded. The five most frequently encountered were wren, robin, chaffinch, blue tit and blackbird. Highlights included a pair of cuckoos, willow warbler, blackcap, chiffchaff, tree pipit, meadow pipit and spotted flycatcher; woodcock and tawny owl in the evenings; and a good selection of woodland birds including great spotted woodpecker, great tit, coal tit, goldcrest, treecreeper and many others. You can download the full survey report below.
Greno Woods Management Plan
Our management plan for Greno Woods covers the period April 2015 – March 2022. Physical works contained in the plan are aimed at increasing the proportion and quality of priority habitats on the site and maintaining features of interest. Works to maintain and improve recreational infrastructure are also included. A survey and monitoring programme is being implemented over the course of the plan, providing data on ecological conditions which will inform future management works.
In addition to these physical works, the Trust plans to engage the public in the management of Greno Woods through the Grenoside Conservation Group. On site information provision will be improved, as will the promotion of the site through the Trust’s website. An annual programme of events will be held to attract visitors to promote public understanding of its wildlife and history. The opportunity for volunteers to participate in practical work days will also be offered. Through the implementation of this plan, the Trust intends to ensure the woodland remains true to the vision:
“Greno Woods should be a peaceful woodland, supporting a rich diversity of wildlife, where the woodland’s archaeology and history are conserved and celebrated and where people of all ages from local communities and across the city can come to enjoy a variety of recreational pursuits in a beautiful, natural setting.”
You can download the Management Plan for Greno Woods below.
Renowned poet Ian McMillan very kindly wrote a poem to support our Appeal for Greno Woods called I Like a Wood.
Getting Involved: the Greno Woods project
Fancy learning how to identify woodland fungi? Or helping to restore a heathland? Or trying your hand at wood carving? There is a lot happening in Greno Woods and whether you’re 5 or 105, an individual, family, teacher or group, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
Since 2013, the Greno Project – a programme of woodland restoration, interpretation and educational activities funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Viridor Credits – has been providing opportunities for people to learn more about Greno Woods and participate in their management.
Here are some of the many ways you can get involved:
Volunteer Work Days
Held on the fourth Friday of each month (except December) community work days allow you to get ‘hands on’ with woodland management. The work carried out can vary from footpath improvement and access works to habitat and vegetation management.
Volunteer days run from 10am-3pm, meeting in the Forestry Commission car park on the Woodhead Road. Come along for the whole day or just an hour or two in the morning. Gloves, tools, and hot drinks provided.
For more information, please email us.
Walks and Events
We run a wide-ranging programme of events, for all age groups and interests, throughout the year. In particular, look out for our Wild Play events, aimed at families, and Wild Side events aimed at young people aged 8-13.
Ecology and Heritage Skills Workshops
These courses offer you the opportunity to learn more about aspects of woodland wildlife, or to try your hand at traditional woodland crafts.
Click here for information about upcoming workshops.
Reserves Advisory Group
To learn more about what is happening at Greno Woods, to input your ideas or ask questions, why not come along to one of our reserve advisory group meetings? Hosted by the Greno Conservation Society, we meet at Grenoside Community Centre every couple of months to discuss reserve business.
For more information, or for the date of the next meeting, please contact Chris Doar at email@example.com
Youth Engagement Programme
Are you a youth worker / teacher working with 13+? Want support and opportunities to get young people outdoors?
We can provide bespoke woodland heritage sessions or longer term projects for your group linked to the education / youth curriculum or just for confidence building and fun. Staff members, planning, risk assessments, tools and equipment and even funding towards transport is included.
For more details, please email us.
Schools across the city are invited to bring the national curriculum to life with a visit to Greno Woods. We have totally redesigned our Outdoor Learning package for 2014/15 and are currently offering amazing opportunities to schools who want to visit.
As well as creating a host of new sessions designed specifically for Greno, we can also contribute to travel costs to enable more children to access this wonderful ancient woodland and engage with a truly spectacular local treasure. Sessions available for all Key Stages.
Please email us for more information and booking enquiries.
Surveying and Recording
We are always interested to receive your records of wildlife seen in Greno Woods and regularly look for volunteers to help us with ecological surveys.
For more information please contact Chris Doar at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greno Woods project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Viridor Credits. The project was made possible by an award of £277,400 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Planning your visit
Greno Woods are open to the public 365 days a year.
How to find us
Greno Woods lie immediately north of Grenoside village, north Sheffield at OS Grid Reference SK 328 954. The main body of the woodland lies between the Woodhead Road and the A61 (see map below). Low Hall Wood lies east of the A61. See map below.
For access from the Woodhead Road, use the Forestry Commission car park at SK 325 950. Postcode for the car park is S35 7DS. Alternatively, park in Grenoside village for access via Greno Gate. Park on the B6546 Hallwood Road for access to Low Hall Wood.
Buses no.s 79a and 85 run from Sheffield City Centre to Grenoside village. Alternatively, buses that run along the A61 have stops adjacent to the reserve. Please contact South Yorkshire Passenger Transport for current services and times.
Greno Woods is well served by a network of footpaths and bridleways, as well as 3 downhill mountain bike trails. These are shown on the map below. Due to the topography of the site, and the location and availability of parking, access to the reserve for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility is limited. The Trans-Pennine Trail, running from Greno Gate to Sandy Lane is wheelchair accessible. For further information regarding access and conditions across other areas of the reserve, please email us.
Fancy a guided walk through the woods? The Wild Sheffield app will take you on one. Just download it onto your smartphone, free of charge from the Apple Store (Iphone) or the Play Store (Android). Once you have downloaded Wild Sheffield you can choose from one of the following routes:
Welcome to Greno Woods. Length: 2 miles.
(Spring/summer and autumn/winter versions are available).
This walk is a good introduction to Greno Woods and its wildlife. On the way, you can try and spot some wildlife and will also learn a little about the woodland’s history and current management. Includes a fiendishly tricky wildlife quiz.
Greno Woods Explorer. Length: 1.4 miles
Developed specifically for families or groups with children, this walk takes you on a mini woodland adventure. Follow the trail to build a den, hunt for a geocache, create some wild art and listen to the story of ‘The Brownies’ told by Yorkshire’s very own Ian McMillan.
Greno Woods through time. Length: 2.6 miles
This walk takes you on a journey through time. Use it to learn about the history of the woods and discover artefacts of its hidden past. Walk the coffin way, visit the wood ‘oyl and discover the role Greno Woods played in keeping the area safe from Napoleon.
Greno Woods for Families
The woods have plenty to offer for families. Wander the tracks, try out our den building area, search for the Greno geocache or try the Greno Woods Explorer challenge (part of the Wild Sheffield phone app, see above).
The Enchanted Forest Trail
Discover a brand new outdoor play destination with your little adventurers!
The Enchanted Forest Trail has been created especially for toddlers and young children in the Trust’s Greno Woods nature reserve.
The experience is designed to help the under fives explore the woodland reserve and have fun, while learning new skills and helping with their physical development.
The trail is themed around the tradition of the green man: a figure of English folklore and a herald of the land’s renewal in spring. Beautiful green man carvings by Sheffield-based sculptor Paul Casson-Yardley provide a helpful spotting game to encourage little legs along the way, and they also set challenges: to build homes for gnomes, pass though labyrinths and overcome obstacles. It ends by a picnic bench, ready to receive weary travellers.
We’ve got to have one of those!
The trail is the brainchild of the Trust’s Land Management Officer Pete Tomlin, who was inspired after being on holiday with his very energetic toddler! Pete recalls, “We visited three different activity trails for young kids, and had incredible amounts of fun. I came back thinking ‘we’ve got to have one of those on our reserves!’. This project has been a real personal journey and I’m very proud of the outcome. I’m looking forward to taking my son on the trail, and hope that our members will bring their own little ones to Greno for an adventure too!”
You can even present your little adventurer with a certificate once they have completed the trail! Download the certificate here
How to find the Enchanted Forest Trail
From the Forestry Commission car park on Woodhead Road, cross the road into Greno Woods. Through the main entrance you will see a track that heads uphill. Follow this for around 200m. The activity trail starts just before the top of the hill on the left hand side. Look out for the Green Man!
There are also three permanent family friendly orienteering courses set by South Yorkshire Orienteers, whilst our Greno Woods App for iPhone or Android provides themed walks. Our Greno Woods outdoor learning site offers experiences for schools from high-adrenaline obstacle course racing to river studies and fieldwork skills, thanks to generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
So what are you waiting for? Come along and explore the woods today!
The family activity trail has been created to improve the facilities available in Grenoside Woods for our youngest visitors. It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, distributed through the East Peak Innovation Partnership’s LEADER programme and Veolia Environmental