Green spaces

As one of the largest estates in the city, the University has a responsibility to ensure its green spaces contribute to this unique city environment. Most of our green spaces are open and accessible to the public.



Sheffield is estimated to contain more than 4.5 million trees, giving it more trees per person than any other city in Europe. With over 250 public parks and 52 square miles of national park, Sheffield remains one of the greenest cities in the country.

The University of Sheffield is proud to take care of around 10,400 trees across our estate. We recognise the many social, environmental and health benefits that these trees provide, including the removal of approximately 100 tonnes of carbon each year.

We take the responsibility of taking care of these trees seriously. We regularly monitor tree specimens across the estate to make sure that they are safe and live as long as possible.

Sometimes it is necessary to remove trees, especially for safety reasons or to prevent disease spreading. 

Our tree management policy includes a commitment to replacing any tree we have to remove with at least two new trees, often more. Some saplings will take several years before they begin to make the same kind of environmental impact as an existing mature tree. Therefore, whenever possible we plant semi-mature specimens to have a more immediate impact on the local environment.


We’re committed to maximising the ecological value of our green space for the benefit of a wide range of plants and animals. Our long term vision is to increase the amount of green space the University has and improve the biodiversity value of the existing estate. We hope to “connect” our estate with other green spaces, green corridors and the wider countryside, for example the Peak District. 

Biodiversity has an intrinsic value and is the earth’s life support system. It provides essential services such as clean water and air, crop pollination, coal and timber, natural flood mitigation and helps alleviate the effects of climate change. Culturally, biodiversity provides opportunities for recreation and tourism and contributes to wellbeing. 

Through our Campus Master Plan, we are introducing a diverse range of planting, including herbs and fruit, to enrich biodiversity and create a more pleasant and varied campus.

Water-conscious planting
We design our planting schemes with water conservation in mind. In recent years, this has included using more perennial planting, grasses, and wildflower meadows with the aim of reducing the amount of watering required on campus. All of our planting uses PAS 100 locally sources compost which retains moisture and reduces evotranspiration.

Green space and mental health

University of Sheffield research has shown how important access to green space is for mental wellbeing in urban environments. The Improved Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) project, involving members of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture, has shown the importance of green space for good mental health. We take these lessons seriously encouraging good maintenance of our green spaces and a variety of planting to encourage biodiversity. We are also fortunate to have many green spaces around the city which are close to campus and staff and students regularly enjoy these spaces.

As a world leading research university, we have a unique opportunity to enact our research on campus in a ‘living lab’. We are bringing together our academic expertise, our mental health support services and our landscaping services to find out how staff and students can engage with green spaces to benefit their wellbeing. 

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national scheme funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. First started at the University of Sheffield in 2018, Hedgehog Friendly Campus has now grown into a national campaign to help universities combat falling hedgehog numbers across Britain. Groups can gain accreditation status by undertaking various actions to make their campus safer for hedgehogs. 

Our active Hedgehog Friendly Campus team, made up of staff and students, monitors campus for hedgehog activity and raises awareness across campus of hedgehog-friendly action that can be taken at home. Our Landscape team has been trained to recognise hedgehog activity and actively works to help hedgehogs.

Our sustainability strategy

We have set the principles and direction for our sustainability strategy