Category: BRITAIN
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National Grid 00o00´/00o00´ 100 ha m, former industrial site (colliery waste) open water, reedbed, meadows, hedges and woodland

September-August especially for seabird passage (several visits most recent 09.04.09)


Birding Site Guide

Set in industrial sprawl on a former site of the coal board, with colliery waste mounds planted with trees this reserve would seem unpromising at first. Nothing could be further from the truth, this is an excellent site for birds and has a long list of species in good numbers with many rarities to prove it. The RSPB obviously believed in its potential when they took over the site a few years ago.

It is an easy to reach site being located not far SE of Barnsley between Brampton and Bolton on Dearne. Following the A633 from Barnsley the car park is off this road just after the roundabout with the A6195 at Brampton. Like all RSPB reserves it is well signed. Other towns nearby are Wombwell, Darfield, Thurnscoe and Wath upon Dearne. This large population catchment within a couple of miles was seen as a good by the RSPB for recruitment and education opportunities. The reserve therefore boasts high standards of facilities and visitor attractions, which incorporate many aspects of the industrial heritage including the converted farm buildings. There is a large RSPB shop above which the Gannets Cafe commands open views over the reserve. There is a well stocked education facility, wildlife garden, family area and kids play area.

From the car park to entre the reserve, as with other RSPB reserves you pass through the shop collecting your ticket (members free, non-members pay a few pounds). Follow the wheelchair friendly paths to the 5 hides one way or another hide the other way. The furthest hide can be reached in 20 minutes. It is possible to do a full loop going over the spoil mounds which are now planted with semi-mature trees.

From behind the car park there is also the Trans-Pennine Long Distance Trail which can be walked or cycled around this area or its full length.

The reserve has some interesting residents such as the colony Tree Sparrows. Other passerines are in good numbers too. The reserve is especially good for waterbirds and waders on passage.


Birds seen


Author: BSG