Rivelin Valley Chair – Sheffield, England - Atlas Obscura

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Rivelin Valley Chair

Seemingly straight out of a fairy tale, a steel chair sits on a tiny island only accessible by stepping stones. 


On the outskirts of Sheffield is the Rivelin Valley Trail, where beautiful riverside walks provide a mixture of nature and industry, lined as it is by ruins and remnants of various water wheels’ used to pump water to the mills and steelworks of the city in a bygone age.

Not far from the cafe and playground on the site sits a small island in the river, and on that island is a strange chair. Though it looks like it’s made of gnarled tree roots, closer examination reveals that the chair is actually sculpted from steel. It can only be accessed by a short trail of stepping stones from the river bank. The sculpture is the work of artist Jason Thomson, whose aim was to mix up the countryside and the industrial, while recognizing steel as the predominant industry in the city. It was created as part of the Second Nature project, which supports the exploration of Sheffield’s woodlands.As it is, you’re likely to see families and passers-by brave the sometimes partly submerged stepping stones, or wading out on warm days to the island to sit in the strange throne. 

Know Before You Go

Please note the address is that of the nearby cafe. Follow the path keeping firstly the cafe and then the playground on your right-hand side, over the bridge, and after approximately 0.3 of a mile, you’ll see the Island and the chair in the river.  Continuing on you will discover many of the remnants from the Industrial Age water wheels and buildings, as well as some lovely woodland and riverside walks. There is plenty of roadside parking on the main road near the entrance by the cafe. 

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