South Yorkshire

The smallest of Yorkshire's regions (appx 600 sq miles), South Yorkshire was formed in 1974 following local government boundary changes. Before this the majority of the region was contained within the old West Riding of Yorkshire. South Yorkshire is made up of the 4 boroughs of Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.

south yorkshire districts map

As with West Yorkshire, the Peninnes form the region's westernmost boundaries and have a major influence on the terrain with many areas of upland habitat, open moorland and steep sided valleys. This part of the region also lies on the carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield, especially around Barnsley, and there is widespread evidence of past and present industrial activity with numerous mine workings and former spoilheaps, many of which have been transformed into nature reserves and country parks. With an equally industrial heritage and dominating the south west Sheffield, one of the largest cities in the UK is also one of the greenest, with several exceptionally good wildlife habitats lying within few miles of the city centre such as Eccleshall Woods and the Shirebrook Valley, plus a sizeable chunk of the Peak District also close by. Further towards the east of the region towards Rotherham and Doncaster the land flattens out considerably and eventually becomes very low lying culminating in an area known as the Humberhead Peatlands, the largest expanse of raised bog in lowland Britain, most of which is protected as a National Nature Reserve.

Selected Top Sites (see map top right)

Designated nature reserve
Local site


Header Image - Hatfield Moor, Humberhead Peatlands

Header Image, S.Yorks Map image attribution - Nilfanion, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons