Sheffield is the most geographically diverse city in England. Lying in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, the city nestles in a natural amphitheatre created by several hills and the confluence of five rivers: Don, Sheaf, Rivelin, Loxley and Porter. As such, much of the city is built on hillsides, with views into the city centre or out to the countryside. The city is roughly one third urban, one third rural and one third in the Peak District. At its lowest point the city stands just 29 metres above sea level at Blackburn Meadows on the Rotherham border, rising up to over 500 m in some parts of the city to a peak of 548m at High Stones on the Derbyshire border; however, 89% of the housing in the city is between 100 and 200 metres above sea level. Over 95% of the population resides in the main urban area.
Sheffield has more trees per person than any city in Europe, outnumbering people 4 to 1. It has over 170 woodlands covering 28.27 km2 (6985 acres), 78 public parks covering 18.30 km2 (4522 acres) and 10 public gardens. Added to the 134.66 km2 (33,275 acres) of national park and 10.87 km2 (2686 acres) of water this means that 61% of the 362.38 km2 that the city encompasses is greenspace.
Sheffield also has more types of habitat than any city in the UK. As well as urban, parkland and woodland it has agricultural and arable land, moors, meadows and freshwater based habitats. Large parts of the city are designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest including several urban areas.
Sheffield is located at
53°23′N1°28′W. Historically, Sheffield was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and, before this, the Saxon shire of Hallamshire. This area is now part of the county of South Yorkshire, and borders on Nottinghamshire’s forests and the Derbyshire Dales.
The city lies directly next to Rotherham with the M1 designating much of the border between them. Although Barnsley Metropoliton Borough also borders Sheffield to the north, the town itself is a few miles further. Directly to the west of the city is the Peak District National Park and the Pennine upland range, while the lowlands of the South Yorkshire Coalfield lie to the east. The southern border is shared with Derbyshire. Over the past hundred years this has been moved south as the Sheffield urban area has grown to encompass formerly rural Derbyshire villages.
The Sheffield metropolitan area includes the City of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley which makes up the county of South Yorkshire as well as the small towns and villages of neighbouring North East Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire that make up the Sheffield city region which has a population of 1,811,701 in 2003. These include Eckington, Worksop, Killamarsh, Dronfield, Chesterfield and Bolsover. These areas all form an economic base for Sheffield.