Sheffield is capitalizing on its assets and long-term investments to market itself as the “Outdoor City” of the U.K.. A campaign was announced at the European Outdoor Summit (EOS) to build on Sheffield's reputation as a green and sporting city through a website, theoutdoorcity.co.uk, as part of a broader strategy.
A study by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield's Hallam University shows that Sheffield has higher participation in outdoor recreation than the average in the U.K. Consumer spending on the outdoors in Sheffield is estimated to be around £93 million. Maxine Gregory, senior research fellow at the research center, estimates that outdoor-related activities generate £53 million of annual gross added value for Sheffield, amounting to more than £96 per inhabitant. Household spending on outdoor equipment in Sheffield is 3.2 times the U.K. level. Go Outdoors is based in Sheffield, as are scores of other outdoor and cycling-related companies.
Focusing on climbing, running, walking and cycling, the Outdoor City project is led by Visit Sheffield, a tourism organization, and Sheffield City Council. The campaign aims to attract yet more people to outdoor activities and further improve related infrastructure in Sheffield.
With the Peak District national park as a stupendous backyard (in the city boundaries), Sheffield is famously sprawling across seven mountains. The proximity of facilities for running, cycling and climbing is often described as an important asset for the city's inhabitants. They apparently take full advantage of these assets: Sheffield is often described as the climbing capital of the U.K., with more than 10,000 climbers and an estimated 14,000 park runners in the city. The Climbing Works boast about 100,000 annual visits.
Formerly famous for its steel works, Sheffield currently prefers to focus on assets such as its two million trees, making it the city with the largest number of trees per inhabitant in the U.K. As part of the Outdoor City campaign, the city wants to create extra recreation zones, to support events and infrastructure after the success of the Tour de France stage held in Sheffield earlier this year.