• What does "Site of Special Scientific Interest" mean for the Dearne Valley? With a Nod to the pioneers of Wath Ings.

    The Dearne Valley Green Heart Partnership comprising of The RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Garganey Trust and Environment Agency along with Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster Borough Councils, have been working with Natural England (the governments advisors on the natural environment) towards the accreditation of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status that officially protects vital habitats along the Dearne…

    • 12 May 2021
  • What’s going on at Wombwell?

    The sharp eyed amongst our visitors may have spotted a mysterious path that has appeared in the grass around Wombwell Ings, one of the satellite sites managed by the team here in the Dearne Valley. This isn’t a mysterious crop circle, but it is marking out the path of an essential piece of habitat improvement work on the reserve.

    Giving Nature a Home at Wombwell Ings, an NLHF funded project.

    As part of the Giving…

    • 19 Apr 2021
  • The Dearne Valley's original birders - say hello to Sid!

    Sid Renauf’s emotive interview in the first episode of this season’s Autumnwatch touched hearts and minds, so we thought you might enjoy reading a little more of the backstory to the miners who first realised the wildlife potential of Wath Ings.

    Sid’s a familiar face at RSPB Old Moor; a much-loved volunteer and avid birder, his connection to this special place goes back far beyond any RSPB involvement with…

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Locked-down, but not out!

    We are once again entering a lock down across England. 


    Although we were expecting this, it doesn't mean it's easy. We have picked through the legislation and we are making some changes to the offer here at Old Moor

    First of all, our shop. 

    From 5 November until further notice, the shop and visitor centre will be closed. Our retail store is classed as non-essential, and so we have had to pack…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • New members of the team in the Dearne Valley.

    For anyone that uses our Little Houghton reserve, you may see the newest members of the Dearne Valley team. 

    Konik's being unloaded at Little Houghton - Paul Gould

    Meet Ada, Trevor and Col

    Settling in nicely - Lucy Kucharik

    The ponies are a modern strain of the original European wild horse – the Tarpan. The wild Tarpan died out at the end of the last century, but a programme in Poland is trying to breed them back…

    • 3 Nov 2020
  • Tier 3 in South Yorkshire, what now?

    The timing couldn't be more perfect, as we enter the local half term and we're about to welcome the BBC's Autumnwatch on to the reserve, we get news that we're entering Tier 3 at 00:01 on Saturday morning. 

    But what does this mean for the reserve?

    Well, operationally, not a lot. We are still open, the shop and café will still operate as it has been, using one way systems and a take away only model. The…

    • 22 Oct 2020
  • Autumn arrives in South Yorkshire as RSPB Old Moor reserve hosts BBC Autumnwatch!

    For the last few weeks, the team on the reserve have been getting very excited, and we can now finally officially confirm, Old Moor is to be one of the base sites for this years Autumnwatch. 

    The RSPB’s dynamic Old Moor Nature Reserve, has been chosen to host Gillian Burke along with a small team from the hit BBC TV series . Gillian first showcased the Old Moor reserve back in 2018, sharing rare footage of the bitterns…

    • 20 Oct 2020
  • Autumn Reedbed Management

    Lucy has an update for us from the warden team:

    Now that the Bittern have finished nesting and the reeds have gone dormant for the winter, you’ll notice our wardens and volunteers have begun work in the reedbeds, cutting down young trees and clearing areas of reed. This can sometimes look quite dramatic, even destructive, but is an essential part of habitat management for the reedbed specialists we treasure at Old Moor…

    • 1 Oct 2020
  • Update, sightings update from Lucy and a fond farewell.

    We have another update from our fantastic intern Lucy, but first a couple of practical updates...

    We have now opened up Field Pools West hide and Wath Ings hide, meaning that all of green lane is now open. There is hand sanitiser in all of the hides and we are asking that those who are able to wear face coverings in the hides in line with current legislation.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive…

    • 6 Sep 2020
  • Covid-19 Update, Fancy a Cuppa?

    As parents prepare for their children’s imminent return to school and we are noticing the gentle shift from summer into autumn on the reserve, I’m back, with another access update from Old Moor.

    Firstly, some welcome news! We have opened another hide, and it’s a goodie! Wader Scrape hide is now open. This is one of our larger hides and offers fabulous views out across the mere, and it happens to be my favourite…

    • 25 Aug 2020
  • Another covid-19 Update; a little step forward

    It feels like at the moment I am spending all of my time talking and planning and thinking about how to keep visitors staff and volunteers safe as we navigate this brave new world. We do however have some good news for visitors to the reserve.

    *Some* hides are open!

    Taking advice from our health and safety team at HQ, and with some ingenious problem solving from Dave and the warden team, we have been able to open three…

    • 20 Jul 2020
  • Old Moor and Covid-19, an update

    With shops opening and plans for pubs and hairdressers to open soon, it feels like the world is slowly beginning to find its feet in this new normal, and in some ways it feels like the RSPB and Old Moor have been lagging behind. We know how desperate people are to visit our reserves and we know how important getting your ‘nature fix’ on our reserves is to so many people and we are desperate to share it with you, I’m hoping…

    • 25 Jun 2020
  • Introducing Lucy.

    Lucy is our all rounder intern, and is having possibly the oddest introduction to the RSPB! 

    Here she shares with us some of her highlights;

    With the reserve only partially open, I thought I’d share some updates on some of our breeding successes, as well as some other wildlife that can be found in the parts of the reserve that are currently accessible.

    Our nesting Bittern has been busy raising her chicks during…

    • 18 Jun 2020
  • Old Moor’s Reserve Team, the story this year up until lockdown March 2020 - plus a few updates.

    I thought I’d put together what we had been up to and some of the other activities, done by contractors, on the reserve up until lockdown in mid-March … plus a few updates.

    Since I originally wrote this and before I could post it to the website, the reserve has partially reopened and we, the Reserve Team, have been back working. This has been things like checking the site is safe, maintenance of the paths…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • Openish

    As you may have heard already, Old Moor is open once again. Well, as ‘open’ as it can be in the current circumstances.

    The Visitor Centre (and all its facilities) is closed. Entry is by the side gate; free for members and non-members – though I noticed a donations box near the entrance.

    The Bird Garden hide is closed but the Discovery Trail is open, though subject to a one-way system around the Wildlife…

    • 31 May 2020
  • We're opening... tentatively

    Like a lot of people across the UK and indeed the world, 2020 has not turned out quite as I had expected. 

    Like many of us I have found myself in a very different world as restrictions on movement and contact between people are put in place. Understandably, the RSPB were forced to close many of our reserves.

    As we are now beginning to see the easing of some of the restrictions on travel and spending time in green space…

    • 27 May 2020
  • Closure of Old Moor - 18th March

    Evening Folks. This is just to repeat the message that was posted on Old Moor's Twitter feed and Facebook page. The message is that...

    "Following the latest government advice we have made the difficult decision to close our nature reserve RSPB Old Moor including hides and trails, to visitors by the end of today, Wednesday 18 March. This is to prioritise the health and welfare of our staff, volunteers, supporters…

    • 18 Mar 2020
  • Pintail and Kite - Sightings, 17 Mar

    Old Moor was a quieter place than usual today. But thankfully, there were enough like-minded and determined souls in the Dearne Valley to provide a sightings update.

    Here’s the summary…

    As you can see, not a huge amount of change today, though a pintail on the Wader Scrape is always a welcome sight. Also welcome at any time is the distinctive outline of a red kite sailing across the valley. Is it me, or…

    • 17 Mar 2020
  • Chiff ‘n Redshank - Sightings, 15 Mar

    One of the wonders of mid-March is the return of the chiffchaffs. These are small, insect-eating birds, about the size of a blue tit. They spend their winters in the eastern Mediterranean or northern Africa. Then they make the impressive journey back to north western Europe, arriving in time for spring.

    Here’s today’s summary…

    Today at Old Moor, visitors couldn’t help but notice that the rising temperatures…

    • 15 Mar 2020
  • Med. Students - Sightings, 11 Mar

    Funnily enough, I was asked by a visitor on Monday whether we ever get curlew at Old Moor. Then one turns up today. Anyone got any questions about ring ouzel or hoopoe, just let me know…

    Here’s the summary of sightings from today…

    Except for that curlew and a pair of goosander there was little change in the sightings today. Even the bittern’s booms weren’t reported – or perhaps swallowed by…

    • 11 Mar 2020
  • Five Geese & A Strange Song– Sightings, 9 Mar

    Spring’s not a light switch. We don’t just reach a certain date and there it is. Instead, spring saunters in with each March day bringing the new season a step closer. Take today: five chiffchaff were in full voice on ‘Warbler Way’ - the path from Bolton Ings to Wombwell Ings. Another small step.

    Here’s the sightings summary…

    As you can see, there were a few surprises today. Five…

    • 9 Mar 2020
  • Sunday Sightings, 8 March

    By way of a change, I thought I’d tackle tonight’s sightings in a slightly different way. Comments, as ever, appreciated.

    Around dawn this morning six little egret left the roost on Wath Ings. With them were 49 cormorant and, unlike the egret, most of them stayed around the Mere for the rest of the day. There were also three grey heron.

    Today the warden’s count was of 161 Canada geese and 42 greylag

    • 8 Mar 2020
  • Marsh Harrier – Sightings, 3 Mar

    There were still the last remnants of the recent storms about today (have we got to ‘Vera’ yet?) but there was something else too. It’s not just the snowdrops, everywhere you look at the moment, there are signs of spring.

    Here’s today’s summary…

    On Old Moor’s Reedbed Trail, the bearded tit continued to show themselves well this morning. A pair were reported from the area by…

    • 4 Mar 2020
  • Blowy - Sightings, 1 March

    The new month in the Dearne Valley began with a brilliantly sunny - if blowy - day. Sadly, for those of us impatient for spring, there was little change in the ‘bird mix’ at Old Moor. That didn’t mean though, that there wasn’t plenty to enjoy.

    Here is the summary…

    Before I crack on with Old Moor, it was great to see the range of sightings on offer at the remarkable Adwick Washland today…

    • 1 Mar 2020
  • And Iceland - Sightings, 27 Feb

    Brilliant sunshine but cold, brisk winds brought a scattered picture of sightings today in the Dearne Valley.

    Here is the summary…

    It was good to see that the great white egret was once again showing at Edderthorpe Flash and to hear that the scaup was still being reported on Manvers Lake.

    An extra male stonechat joined the recent pair at Adwick Washland and it was good to know there were still plenty of field…

    • 27 Feb 2020