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 parkes.steve@hotmail.co.uk

Wharfedale Naturalists

We hope you enjoy this website and feel free to contribute to it.

Steve Parkes, Wharfedale Naturalists Society.

Recent Updates


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