YNU VC63 visit: Anston Stones Wood

This coming Saturday, 18 May, Yorkshire Naturalists Union has its annual field excursion to South Yorkshire; Barnsley Nats and other affiliated societies are invited. Last year Barnsley Nats joined them on a visit to Potteric Carr and the year before to Brockadale. They were splendid visits which we all enjoyed.

This year Barnsley Nats are invited to join the YNU in a visit to Anston Stones Wood off the A57 Worksop Road. It’s a species-rich area of mixed woodland, a SSSI, where Anston Brook cuts through a Magnesian Limestone gorge.

The flora is characteristic of limestone woodlands some of which should be in flower at the time of our visit. The reserve also includes areas of ungrazed grassland managed by mowing annually in September.

There are several well-made paths, with steps leading from the upper meadows and woodland to the stream side, making a round walk of around 4km. The organisers will lead a walk around this suggested route for those who wish to join this.

Meet at 10.30 in the car park of North Anston Parish Hall, Ryton Rd, North Anston S25 4DL. What3 words: ///apart.animals.measuring. Grid Ref: SK521842.

Leave the M1 at J31 and take the A57 east. At traffic lights in Anston, turn left to North Anston and Dinnington. The turn off to the car park is signed ‘Parish Hall’ and is opposite the school in North Anston. The toilets will be open from 9.45am! Bring something to have for lunch.

We will return to Anston Parish Hall at 4pm to hear about what everyone has recorded. Tea and coffee will be available.

Silkstone Waggonway, Wednesday evening, 24 April

Our first evening field visit this year is a walk along Silkstone Waggonway to look for and hear migratory birds and spot any spring flowers. Our leader is Ron Marshall. The venue has changed from the programme!

We are meeting for 7pm on Wednesday 24th April at Pot House Hamlet, Silkstone, S75 4JU; SE292057; ///ripples.attitudes.rigs. It’s well signposted from the A628.

As the daylight fades we may look for bats on the way back to our cars; finishing before it gets really dark!

Anthony (Tony) Hindley, 1927-2024

Tony Hindley with Annefie Roberts and Pat Hemsley on a field visit to Broadstone Reservoir

Tony Hindley, former President, Secretary and a Honorary Life Member of Barnsley Nats, has recently died. His funeral – ‘a celebration of a life well-lived’ was held in a packed Cawthorne All Saints Church on Tuesday 2nd April 2024.

Tony was a longstanding member of the Society, joining as a young man; he stepped down as secretary when he was 80 but carried on coming to meetings —the dapper gentleman at the back— until he became too frail. He made a surprise appearance with his wife Cynthia at the Christmas Social in 2022 . 

Annefie and I saw him just before this last Christmas, full of stories of Barnsley Nats over the years. As a young teacher in Barnsley he taught a number of pupils who became members of Barnsley Nats.

Tony Hindley (on the right) at the 150th Anniversary of Barnsley Naturalist and Scientific Society in 2017

Tony Hindley (on right) at the Barnsley Naturalist & Scientific Society 150th Anniversary in 2017

In 2017 he joined the 150th anniversary celebrations of Barnsley Nats. In 1958 he was photographed as a 30 year old at a presentation to Ralph Atkinson on Ralph’s 21 years as secretary.

Our thoughts are with Cynthia, friends and family.
Peter Roberts

Wildflower meadows – Chris Tomson


Our next indoor meeting is on Wednesday 20 March: Chris Tomson is giving a talk on Wildflower Meadows.

There are fewer traditional meadows today, affecting the numbers and diversity of insects and other wildlife. Chris has worked for many years with farmers on nature-friendly farming and we are looking forward to an informative and interesting presentation.

Wednesday 20 March, 7pm, at Worsbrough Common Community Centre, Warren Quarry Lane, Barnsley S70 4ND. Everyone welcome.

This will be our last indoor meeting until the Autumn; we look forward to seeing you there. During the summer we have our regular programme of field visits.

From Monk Bretton Priory to Barnsley Main field visit

This Saturday’s field visit will start by looking at the mosses on the walls near Monk Bretton Priory. Depending on the ground conditions, we will continue to the less managed part of the Barnsley Main former colliery site, looking at pioneering vegetation and wildlife. If you have a hand lens, do bring it. Our leader is Mark Dudley.

Meet at 10am, Saturday 9th March, at the public car park opposite the Mill of the Black Monks on Grange Lane, between Stairfoot roundabout and Cundy Cross. Grid reference: SE372064. What3words ///moss.breed.brains.

Meetings and field visits

Our next field visit is to the Monk Bretton Priory and Barnsley Main areas on Saturday March 9th, and our next indoor meeting is on Wednesday 20 March, a talk on Wildflower Meadows.

Barnsley Nats brings together people who share an interest in natural history and the wildlife of the Barnsley area. We have a programme of meetings and field visits throughout the year. Monthly indoor meetings take place from October to March at Worsbrough Common Community Centre. Field visits take place on the first Saturday morning of each month and on Wednesday evenings replacing the indoor meetings in the summer. See our programme page for details. Details for each event are also provided on this page.

Ancient Woodland Inventory Review

Wednesday 21 February, Worsbrough Common Community Centre, 7.00pm

Signs of Ancient Woodland?

England’s Ancient Woodland Inventory is being updated countrywide. David and Nick, from Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, will be telling us how they are looking for woodland older than 400 years across South Yorkshire, including, of course, Barnsley. What are the signs? How can we be sure?

David and Nick are using previous research, historical maps & documents, mapping technologies (GIS), and field surveys of botanical & archaeological features. “It’s a big job but we’re excited to be involved in creating such a useful planning tool to protect these unique habitats.”

On Wednesday they will be sharing their enthusiasm. It should be a really informative session and no doubt will stimulate questions and discussion. And perhaps we can join in!

Wednesday 21 February, 7pm, at Worsbrough Common Community Centre, Warren Quarry Lane, Barnsley S70 4ND. Everyone welcome if you have an interest in our local ancient woodland. Just come along.

South Yorkshire Natural History Day

Saturday 17 February, 2024, at Miners Welfare, Arundel Street, TREETON
—Festival of Amateur Natural History—
10.30am—3.30pm

The South Yorkshire Natural History day is taking place on Saturday 17 February with a programme of talks and displays on nature and wildlife in South Yorkshire. No need to book in advance; just turn up on the day. It starts at 10.30am and ends at around 3.30pm. All welcome; no need to book.

There are talks on Farmland Bird Surveys in Rotherham, 35 years on; White Letter Hairstreak Butterflies; Tawny Owls; Saving Swifts; Insects/Botany on Brownfield Sites; and Water Plants and Bank Stabilisation in the canal at Thorne.

Details can be found on the Sorby Natural History Society website: sorby.org.uk/south-yorkshire-natural-history-day-2024/

Reasonably priced food (sandwiches, cakes and biscuits) and hot drinks will be available at all breaks, and there’s a bar at lunch time.

Getting there! —Treeton Miners Welfare, Arundel Street, TREETON, S60 5PW.

Treeton is a village accessed via the A630 Sheffield Parkway. Arundel Street is found when coming from Catcliffe, turning right straight after the traffic lights over the railway bridge (Or, if coming from Aughton, turn left before the traffic lights) by Cohens Chemist. Then go to the end of Arundel Street, where there is plenty of off-street parking.

Trees in winter, 10 February 2024

This coming Saturday morning [10th February] we are visiting Locke Park in Barnsley to look at how to identify trees in winter.

We are meeting in Locke Park car park at 10.00am.

The car park is on Keresforth Hall Road (off  the A6133, Park Road): Post code S70 6NE. Grid reference: SE33620520. What 3 Words: ///speak.winter.custom. There are bus stops on Park Road near St Edwards Church. 

Hopefully the weather will be ok!

Annual General Meeting 2024

On Wednesday 24 January, it was our AGM: 7pm at Worsbrough Common Community Centre. Alongside the AGM was a review of our last year, illustrated by images of field visits in all weathers; followed by a film on developments in the Dearne Valley and at Carlton Marsh. Plus time to talk to each other and have a discussion.

The committee is losing some members and we would very much like to see some new faces. The Society can only continue if members support it!

Are you willing to lead a field visit?
Or keep a record of what we see?
Can you suggest a new site for a field visit?
Can you recommend a speaker?
Or suggest a topic for a talk or ID session?
Would you be willing to help plan the future programme of field visits
or talks and other indoor sessions?
Are you interested in taking on some administrative jobs?

Just let us know!

Here are the notes of the annual general meeting together with the report of the activities in the previous year: …


A major discussion at the AGM was on the financial implications of having to change our venue for indoor meetings.

We came to the conclusion that for the following year (2025) we would have to raise the personal subscription to £15 in order to pay for room hire and external speakers. We will start collecting 2025 subscriptions in October 2024.

We previously agreed to keep this year’s (2024) subscription at £10 and most members have already paid. If you haven’t paid and wish to stay a member, please pay your subscription as soon as you can.

If you attend some of our meetings just occasionally and do not wish to be a member, you may wish to make a contribution at the meetings you attend.

Adwick washlands, Saturday 13 January 2024

Great to see so many this last Saturday morning at RSPB Adwick Washlands; a good birding session with splendid weather! Thanks to Lesley for leading the field visit and for producing the bird species list. As usual, great for a variety of wintering birds; a highlight was the five or six Tree Sparrows in the hedges at the Bolton-upon-Dearne end of the reserve. And of course we examined the lichens as well!


Barnsley Nats Christmas Social

Thanks to everyone for coming to our Christmas Social yesterday and making it such an enjoyable event.

Thanks to Jill for a very enjoyable quiz. The nature table with rocks, lichens, beach finds and a 1950’s collection of eggs, kept people interested. Thanks too to Alan for downsizing the contents of his book shelves. And then Dennis showed us his invertebrate collection; yes all alive and fascinating.

Many thanks too for all the delicious food which was brought and sampled, a very good end to an enjoyable year of field visits and nature talks.

Wishing you all a happy Christmas and see you again in 2024, with our first field visit to Adwick Wetlands, on Saturday January 13th.

Anglers Country Park – Saturday 9th December

Our hope that the weather was better than last weekend’s, came clashing down with lashing rain! Still six Barnsley Nats members visited Anglers Country Park, dashing from hide to hide, and saw a surprising number of birds on the feeders and indeed on the water. And towards the end some sun! Just before we enjoyed a warming drink in the café.

And here are some lichens observed between the hides …