VISITOR PARKING If the lay by is full, Moss & Moor garden centre welcomes you to use their car park. If you do so, please use their lower car park leaving the spaces nearest the center for their customers.
DOGS There is a Dog Control Order on the reserve, failure to comply can result in a fine. Dogs must be kept under control and on a short lead at all times on all areas of the reserve, you must be in possesion of a dog waste bag , clear up their waste and remove it from the site. Please don’t let you dog enter the river, beck or ponds.
SAFETY Some sections of the paths can be quiet muddy and there are exposed tree roots. Please don’t go down the banks to the river or the lagoon or the beck and supervise children at all times.
ABOUT THE RESERVE 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 which are becoming increasingly common. 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.
MANAGEMENT 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, pond creation, grass cutting, installation of benches, wildlife surveys and a range of other activities to try and improve the site and maximise biodiversity. Every September Bradford Council survey the dead trees to ensure they are safe. The site was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2013
WORKGROUPS take place the 2nd Saturday of the month 9.30-12.30, we also run some sessions on Thursday mornings Please contact me for further details we always have space for more volunteers.
GROUP VISITS We regularly host visits from groups. Please contact me if you would like to arrange a visit which can be tailored in terms of time and content depending on the interests of the participants. Call or text me on 07770 840156 or email me, email@example.com
FISHING If you are interested in fishing the lagoon then please contact Ilkley Anglers who own the fishing rights. Only their members are allowed to fish.
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, Reserve Manager and Trustee Wharfedale Naturalists Society.
- August 8th Kingfisher and Otter! (Wednesday, August 10, 2022) - The secret to spotting otters is to go birdwatching and wait for a kingfisher to appear. That’s what Frank Munkes a regular visitor to the reserve did on Monday morning with stunning results. I believe we have here a male kingfisher eating a stickleback and a dog otter that includes the this section of the … Continue reading August 8th Kingfisher and Otter!
- Female Golden-ringed dragonfly (Monday, August 8, 2022) - A stunning female Golden-ringed dragonfly photographed by John Gavaghan last week. Will be checking back on our records to see how many sightings we have had in the past. From a distance its similar to a Southern Hawker so wondering if we have misidentified them I the past.
- A beautiful large emerald moth from last week Thanks to Graham Robinson (Monday, August 8, 2022) -
- Recent sighting of one of 3 White Letter Hairstreaks seen near the old metal gate towards the road side . Thanks to Peter Corry (Monday, August 8, 2022) -
- 1st Ben Rhydding Beaver Scouts (Tuesday, June 28, 2022) - Great to host 1st Ben Rhydding Beaver Scouts last night on their 1st visit. The sun shone and all seemed to have a fun time on our nature trail and a bit of pond dipping. Look forward to welcoming you back in the Autumn