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American Signal Crayfish



We discovered this American signal crayfish whilst working on restoring the beck. These were introduced into the wharfe over 20yrs ago and have spread everywhere. Unfortunately they brought a virus with them that our native crayfish are very vulnerable to and are now locally extinct.  I believe this is a large male. It is an offence to remove them from the river as its been discovered that they eat smaller signal crayfish and thereby keep the overall numbers down. They are also a popular food source for our local otters


Thanks to Geraint Evans for more wonderful pics. The kingfisher with the fish in its beak is female, the one drying its wings is a male. Unfortunately their nest was washed out a few days after these shots, but hopefully they will have found another spot


KF female . fishKF male wing


NEW RIVERSIDE WILD FLOWER AREA Thanks to all our work group volunteers for their hardwork over in March and April  At the spot in the pic we’ve sown a woodland seed mix donated by Wharfedale Naturalists Society. 30yrs ago the area was great for wildflowers but they were largely lost as a dense stand of hawthorns grew. We used the branches to create a natural barrier to keep rabbits and dogs off and to make a more robust barrier above the nearby river cliff to make it safer for our younger visitors174341139_1640585082802447_5909843739433592433_n



Overspill Parking

If you cannot find a space to park in the layby our friends at Moss & Moor have kindly offered for visitors to use their car park. If you do so, please use their lower car park leaving the spaces nearest the garden centre entrance clear for their customers.

CORONAVIRUS Please note the reserve remains open and welcome for local visitors to enjoy as part of their daily exercise routine. Please ensure you comply with government guidelines regarding social distancing.

Our weekend workgroups recommence 10 April 2021

Dogs must be kept under control and on a short lead at all times in consideration for the wildlife, breeding birds in particular and other visitors who may not appreciate your pet approaching them. This will be legally enforced by a Dog Control Order in the coming months

Small Workgroup 23 June

We had our first small Workgroup on since covid-19 lockdown with new Safe working practices in place agreed with Bradford council. Good views of kingfishers, blackcaps and a sparrowhawk a few sand martins nesting, brimstone, ringlet, meadow brown, small tortoiseshell butterflies,. Froglets on riverside path and toads under metal sheet.. Mini meadow looking great. Orchid decline continues now down to less than 30 due to long dry spells over last few years. Great to see more young families enjoying the reserve only one dog..on a short lead

Workgroup 23 June

Workgroup 30 June

We had another small Workgroup  on 30 June, our focus was to make a 40m stretch of steep and crumbling river cliff safer for our younger visitors. We were able to make a thick “dead hedge” along the bank using the hawthorn we had cut in the winter. Plants will grow through it over time and a family of blackcaps were already exploring it as we left. Birds included singing garden warbler and chiffchaff. At least 4 nesting sandmartin despite how high the river got to to, kingfisher, flock of 20+ long tailed tips, kestrel and 1st view of little egret for a very long time, rather overcast for butterflies but saw ringlets and a nice large skippere

Worgroup 30 June 2020

Careless Dog Walker .. 2 Dead Cygnets

Speaking on behalf of all the volunteers who manage the reserve…

We are distraught about the loss of the last 2 swan cygnets last Wed. We have clear signs up asking owners to keep dogs under control/on a short lead for the protection of breeding birds. We have not heard from the dog’s owner as to why their dog was running off its lead but these are the tragic consequences.

We do hope the swans will breed again next year and if they move onto the reserve will put additional signs up to warn the public of their presence.

We are looking at banning dogs off leads all year round – not just during the nesting bird season for the benefit of wildlife and all visitors. If people fail to comply then we do have the option to ban all dogs completely but hope it won’t get to this.

Dogs running off their leads also risk causing an accident with other vulnerable groups including young children and the elderly. Please let’s work together to make this special place safe for wildlife and people alike!

swan 2