Welcome to the Ben Rhydding Nature Reserve Website
Alongside the beautiful river Wharfe near Ilkley the Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve has a variety of habitats and is a great place to observe birds, plants, butterflies and dragonflies and if you’re really lucky you may even spot an otter!
Whilst there is interest all the year round the best times are Spring and Early Summer where the plants, butterflies and birds are at their best. Our famous orchids peak around the 2nd week in June
The reserve is owned by Bradford Council and has been managed by a small group of volunteers from the Wharfedale Naturalists Society since 2007. This has involved the control of invasive weeds, woodland management, footpath maintenance, litter picking, scrub clearance, wildlife surveys and a range of other activities to try and improve the site and maximise biodiversity.
With the support of Natural England, we were declared a Local Nature Reserve in October 2013 . We were all then thrilled when, on Tuesday 6th May 2014, the Lord Mayor of Bradford joined us to celebrate our success with our official opening. Tim Howson created this great website for us in the same year.
Over the following years we have largely go the himalayan balsam under control, our main focus is on controlling the bramble, removing hawthorn and re-establishing species that have been lost or are appropriate to the site.
We hold regular work groups, usually the 2nd Saturday of the month from 9.30 until about 12.30. We are always grateful for new volunteers – no experience is necessary and everyone works at their own pace and tools are provided why not give us a try?
If you would like to join us or arrange a group visit ( we can give guided visits) them please call or text me on 07770 840156 or email me email@example.com
We hope you enjoy this website and feel free to contribute to it.
Steve Parkes, Wharfedale Naturalists Society.
- BRGP Welcomes New Visitors (Sunday, June 17, 2018) - A busy weekend , Sat 16 June we were at Ben Rhydding Fete, where we promoted the reserve to the local community, alongside the great work of WNS, hedgehog records and woolly bear caterpillars! Am sure we will get a few more visitors especially as its peak orchid time, and may be a few more … Continue reading BRGP Welcomes New Visitors
- End of May brings a White Pheasant (Sunday, June 17, 2018) - This female pheasant was spotted on the reserve on the 31 May, its a white bird – not albino ( as can be seen but its normal coloured iris). These birds are believed to be “genetic throwbacks” – although some folk believe they are “marker” birds used by gamekeepers to locate flocks. The bird was … Continue reading End of May brings a White Pheasant
- Bird Sightings 24 March (Sunday, March 25, 2018) - A brief afternoon visit produced a good variety of birds including 3 goosander and a pair of oystercatcher on the fence posts on the opposite bank. With a singing chiffchaff and the lambs bleeting in the field opposite it definitely felt like spring. On the reserve the primroses on the bank were coming into flower … Continue reading Bird Sightings 24 March
- Workgroup Highlights Jan 13th Egret and Woodcock (Sunday, January 14, 2018) - A new year and and a resolution to post news more frequently! Very few birds on the reserve, today, we had hoped for some winter thrushes but with few hawthorn berries it was perhaps no surprise. However what we lacked in quantity we made with quality. Checking out the effectiveness of some of the glade … Continue reading Workgroup Highlights Jan 13th Egret and Woodcock
- New Spring Arrivals 20 April (Thursday, April 20, 2017) - Sand martins now number over 50, the best we have had for many years. The blackcaps and chiff chaffs have now been joined by willow warblers. With the river being so low the gravels and muddy banks have attracted a pair of redshank and a pair of common sandpiper. A female sparrowhawk was around I … Continue reading New Spring Arrivals 20 April
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