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, the site was 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 got 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 walks through to sessions with groups such as Guides and Scout) then please call or text me on 07770 840156 or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoy this website, you can also see us on facebook. Please review us on Google – it helps us get funding
Steve Parkes, Wharfedale Naturalists Society.
- November Workgroup – Wildflower planting in the Wet (Sunday, November 10, 2019) - A big thank you to Brian, Frank, Ian, Isobel, Jonny, Katie, Lucy, Mick, Peter, Rachel and Tom for completing the fenced enclosures and planting out over 150 plants in the expanded mini meadow, sunny bank and riverside path despite the cold and mud, at least it didn’t rain! Additional thanks to Diane and Katie for … Continue reading November Workgroup – Wildflower planting in the Wet
- 12 Oct Small Mammal Survey and Scout Group (Sunday, November 3, 2019) - 12 Oct small mammals and young people engaging with wildlife and conservation A very memorable day – with our monthly workgroup coinciding with a small mammal survey run by Ann from the Yorkshire Farming and Wildlife Partnership, www.farmingandwildlife.net. plus a visit from a Leeds Scout group from Holbeck/Beeston who were camping at nearby Curly Hill. … Continue reading 12 Oct Small Mammal Survey and Scout Group
- Busy Busy June with 3 organised walks.. and our first bee orchid for 14yrs! (Wednesday, September 11, 2019) - We have had a good number of visitors attending, on the 16th June I hosted the Burley walking group, timed to coincide with peak orchid time. Steve Peel hosted another 30 for the Bradford Countryside walk on 12th June and we had about 12 for the WNS walk on 11 June despite the threat of … Continue reading Busy Busy June with 3 organised walks.. and our first bee orchid for 14yrs!
- April update -false alarm for a kingfisher nest but surprise visit by barn owl (Wednesday, September 11, 2019) - We made further good progress on the willow hide screen but still have a fair bit to do to make it effective, once complete we can cut some viewing slots. Rachel and Isobel planted up some wood anemones and Ian and his friend Mike (joined us for the first time from friends of Ilkley Moor) … Continue reading April update -false alarm for a kingfisher nest but surprise visit by barn owl
- A Memorable Day -Open Country and WNS Joint Work Group (Saturday, March 23, 2019) - A big thank you to Ian, Brian, Mick, Katie and Diane from the WNS BRGP workgroup who joined me, Chris and his team from Open Country on Sat 22 March. With 19 of us in total, it was our biggest session ever! Everything went to plan starting with the delivery of a ton of gravel for … Continue reading A Memorable Day -Open Country and WNS Joint Work Group