• A Year at St Aidan's - 2021 in review

    As another year draws to a close, it feels like an appropriate time to reflect on the ups and downs of life at RSPB St Aidan’s. A lot has happened over the last 12 months, but I’ll try to capture some  highlights and lowlights over the following paragraphs.


    We found ourselves back in lockdown at the beginning of the year, and those local visitors coming down to give their year list a good start were unfortunately…

    • 23 Dec 2021
  • Celebrate your inner Robin on our adventure trail this Christmas

    We’re delighted to be partnering with Netflix and Aardman on Robin Robin, a half-hour, stop-motion, festive story for the whole family, about a young robin trying to fit in. It’s debuting on Netflix on 24 November – get the date in your diary! 

    To celebrate, we’re inviting you to join exclusive Robin Robin-themed adventure trails right here at Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's this Christmas season. 

    Over 30…

    • 18 Nov 2021
  • St Aidan's and the Long-toed Stint - a Warden's-eye view

    Last week was an exciting and hectic week at St. Aidan’s. As we’re now settling back to some level of normality, I’d like to share a few of my reflections of our rare visitor.

    I was driving round the eastern reedbed on a sunny Friday afternoon, when I was stopped by a few of the local birders to show me a bird they were looking at. There was some debate as to the identity of the bird; initial thoughts…

    • 21 Oct 2021
  • October in the Aire Valley - what's on?

    As we move into October, the Aire Valley is starting to feel very autumnal. Alongside the changing colours of the leaves and the beautiful sunsets, there’s a sudden chill in the air – but there’s still plenty to see and do on site! Here’s a round up of what’s going on this month…

    Autumn means that our winter migrants are starting to move in. Recent sightings at St Aidan’s have included…

    • 3 Oct 2021
  • Nature Tots is coming to Fairburn Ings!

    Do you know any young explorers aged between 2.5 and 5 years? Looking for outdoor learning and play sessions to help them connect to nature? Nature Tots is starting very soon!

    Photo: Stephen Morgan

    We’re excited to be launching these new sessions at RSPB Fairburn Ings this autumn. They’re hands-on and sensory, encouraging child-led exploration and natural play – a fantastic opportunity to meet other young explorers and…

    • 9 Sep 2021
  • Optics Weekend - 4th and 5th September 2021

    Over the weekend of the 4-5th September, we’re excited to be hosting an Optics Weekend at Fairburn Ings - pop along for some expert advice on binoculars, telescopes, and a range of accessories, including tripods and digiscoping adaptors! We asked our Retail Manager, Dawn, to tell us a bit more....

    The upcoming Optics Weekend is a brilliant opportunity to have a friendly, no-obligation chat with one of our team…

    • 26 Aug 2021
  • Entry to Water at St Aidan's

    Over the past year or so, large numbers of people have continued to visit St Aidan's for daily exercise and recreation - walking, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the spectacular views. We're delighted that so many people have been able to enjoy the park throughout the lockdowns, and that it has helped them connect with nature at a difficult time. We have always tried to make St Aidan's accessible, and to ensure that…

    • 12 Jul 2021
  • What's On in the Aire Valley - July 2021

    The weather continues to be a bit changeable in the Aire Valley - but as we move into summer we're excited to have more of our facilities open, and more events and activities planned! 

    We want everyone who visits us to be able to do so safely and comfortably, so please continue to follow all current Government guidance around face coverings, social distancing, group sizes and hygiene as well as following signage on…

    • 6 Jul 2021
  • Baffled by binoculars? We can help....

    We’re very lucky at Fairburn Ings to have volunteers who specialise in optics – binoculars and telescopes – and who can provide advice and assistance to anyone interested in trying out and purchasing them from our shop. Dave is one of these volunteers, and has written us a guest blog all about RSPB optics – read on to learn more!


    "I'm a retired Yorkshireman with a lifetime love of nature & photography…

    • 29 Jun 2021
  • Green Fingers, and Getting Back Out There - Being a Garden Volunteer in the Aire Valley

    Today's blog is by Beth Gleave, one of our new Garden Volunteers, as she reflects on her reasons for joining the team and her experiences so far.

    As I child I always enjoyed playing in the garden, climbing trees or finding one way or another to end up caked in mud! I was endlessly fascinated by the changing seasons, little creepy crawlies, and the small miracles that present themselves in nature if you look closely…

    • 5 Jun 2021
  • Volunteers' Week 2021 - What's it all about?

    Today – 1 June – is the start of Volunteers’ Week. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to say thank you to our amazing volunteers, and celebrate the wide variety of work they do in the Aire Valley!

    Volunteering is absolutely vital to the RSPB - over the course of a year, more than 1 million hours are donated across the organisation. At St Aidan’s and Fairburn Ings, we have around 200 volunteers…

    • 1 Jun 2021
  • May Half Term - What's On?

    Although the weather in the Aire Valley has continued to be a bit less-than-inviting recently, it’s still been wonderful to be able to get out and about a bit more – and to see all the signs of spring appearing on our sites! Nest building, butterflies in flight, and the growth of spring flowers are exciting to see as we continue opening up more of our facilities and activities.

    Photo credit: Dawn Butter…

    • 20 May 2021
  • “Have you heard a cuckoo this year?”

    This is a question I find myself asking lots of visitors to our Aire Valley sites at this time of year. Sadly, cuckoo numbers have declined by 40% since the early 1980’s - so much so, that many of our visitors have yet to experience the enigmatic call that for so many generations has heralded the start of spring.

    Mercifully here in Yorkshire there are still excellent places to hear and, on occasion - for they are…

    • 10 May 2021
  • What's Open in the Aire Valley - April 2021

    As we progress through the roadmap and the weather starts to warm up a bit more (fingers crossed!) please see below for full details of what is now open in the Aire Valley.

    We’re excited to be able to welcome more of you back to our sites, and want everyone who is able to visit us to be able to do so safely and comfortably. Please follow all current Government guidance around face coverings, social distancing, group sizes…

    • 15 Apr 2021
  • Re-opening in the Aire Valley

    As we move into Spring and some lockdown restrictions ease, we’re pleased to have some visitor facilities open again in the Aire Valley.

    Both Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s are open for local exercise and recreation, in line with current guidelines – please continue to avoid unnecessary travel, and enjoy your local nature reserves and green spaces.

    We want everyone who is able to visit us to be able to…

    • 2 Apr 2021
  • A Winter’s Day at Fairburn Ings in 2020

    Nostalgia for a Pre-pandemic Time! - A Winter’s Day at Fairburn Ings in 2020

    10th January

    A Friday at Fairburn and forecast for a lovely bright day, although only 3 degrees this morning. Lily the dog and I are at the reserve ‘Rangering’, chatting to people and seeing what’s about. There are ‘swarms’ of tits on the feeders at the visitor centre, momentarily disturbed as visitors pass, then they’re back again in a…

    • 24 Mar 2021
  • International Women's Day 2021

    Today is International Women’s Day – and what better opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful women who work and volunteer in the Aire Valley? Undertaking a wide range of roles, their commitment and achievements are crucial to making our sites the amazing places they are. Let’s meet a few of them!

    Maddy – Reserve Assistant volunteer


    My role focuses on ‘hands on’ conservation, helping to…

    • 8 Mar 2021
  • Starlings and Goosanders

    Winter is finally upon us; the days are shorter and there has been a biting nip to the air and some of us have even seen snow. However, it always begs the question where do the birds go when it gets dark.  During this two-part blog we will delve into the winter roosts that we are lucky enough to get here at Fairburn Ings. Lots of birds flock together both during the day and on an evening, this is primarily for safety in…

    • 11 Dec 2020
  • What's Open In the Aire Valley- Update

    We’re excited to be able to re-open some of our facilities for you as of 3 December!  

    Both sites are in Tier 3, so here's a summary of what’s available in the Aire Valley.  

    Fairburn Ings

      (Photo credit: Andy Hay)


    At Fairburn Ings our visitor centre and shop offering take away refreshments will be open Monday- Tuesday, Friday- Sunday, 10am- 4pm as of Friday 4 December. The visitor centre and shop will be

    • 2 Dec 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Green

    Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Green


    We hope this blog finds you all safe and well, and enjoying what nature has to offer during this second lockdown.


    As we turn to look at the gorgeous greens present in the Aire Valley at this time of year, it reminds us just how much the previous colours red, orange and yellow hold sway in Autumn. But there’s still some great greens to be seen!


    Read on to find out more…

    • 24 Nov 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Yellow

    Here in the Aire Valley we hope you are all keeping well during this second lockdown. We're here to bring you round 3 of our Aire Valley Autumn rainbow, this week of course is yellow!

    So grab a cuppa and read on to be transported to our lovely sites.                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (Silver birch…

    • 13 Nov 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Orange

    We carry on with our Aire Valley autumn rainbow blogs- this week looking at all the gorgeous oranges to be seen while out and about. If you missed our first blog on all things red, have a read on our community blogs page! 

    Let's kick off with an Aire Valley staple- the sunset

    It turns out that sunsets at this time of year are actually better than during warmer months and here's why. 

    At sunset, it is harder for…

    • 6 Nov 2020
  • Aire Valley Lockdown Update

    We know that for many of you, Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s provide enjoyment and solace in the natural world throughout these challenging times.

    In line with Government guidance on essential, daily exercise outdoors, during Second Lockdown this is what is open to you in the Aire Valley as of Thursday 5 November: 

     Photo credit: Andy Hay. 

    Fairburn Ings

    At Fairburn Ings our car park will be open daily during lockdown…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Red

    I'm sure there are many of you out there who feel a sense of sadness now that the clocks have gone back and evenings are getting darker, especially with the changes that will come into place at the end of the week. But here in the Aire Valley we want to share the joys of Autumn with you, both for those who can't get out onto our sites just yet, and to remind us that it's not all doom and gloom. And what better way…

    • 3 Nov 2020
  • Aire Valley Opening Times Update

    We know many of you have been missing our delicious bird-friendly coffee or grabbing a bite to eat when visiting our beautiful Aire Valley sites and we have some great news! We now have a take away catering offer available at both of our sites, and our shop at Fairburn Ings is open for business.

    From Monday 2 November, we are temporarily changing the opening hours of our shop and catering offer, due to limited staff capacity…

    • 30 Oct 2020