South Yorkshire comprises four metropolitan boroughs: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and the city of Sheffield. South Yorkshire’s physical geography is diverse. In the west the high Penninemoorlands, composed of limestone and millstone grit, descend to the valleys of the Rivers Don and Dearne, which flow into a lowland around Doncaster in the east. Much of the lowland, including the marshes of Hatfield, Thorne, and Humberhead, has been drained. The Don rises in the Pennines and flows eastward through the Rivers Aire and Ouse to the River Humber.
In the 19th century the proximity to coal supplies and the arrival of railways stimulated the region’s industrial growth. The Don valley became the focus of a belt of ironworks and steelworks extending eastward from Sheffield. Today South Yorkshire includes most of England’s main coalfield, but miningdeclined dramatically in the late 20th century. A few highly mechanized mines still operate around Doncaster, the headquarters of Britain’s remaining coal industry. The iron and steel industry, based in Sheffield and Rotherham, also declined during the late 20th century, but Sheffield, located in the Pennine foothills, is still known for its production of special steels and cutlery. Light manufactures, research and development, food processing, and service activities have compensated somewhat for the loss of employment in mining and heavy industry. Sheffield is South Yorkshire’s largest city and main service centre and the site of the University of Sheffield.
South Yorkshire is full of pleasant surprises. Once an industrial heartland, the region has been transformed into a 21st Century playground with a passion for music, sport and culture. So, alongside some of the UK’s best shopping, family attractions and nightlife, you’ll find some of UK’s finest Gothic architecture, museums and Victorian monuments. This engaging mix of old and new makes South Yorkshire a must for every generation.