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!

Stainborough Dyke, Boylins Walk

There has been a change to our planned field visit for the 13th of April, which now takes us to the woodland around Stainborough Dyke and by the reedbeds near Boylins. This is an area that we visit occasionally and offers a very good scope on many aspects of nature. It’s mainly within the Lowe Wood and Falthwaite Local Wildlife Site.

We will be meeting in the Strafford Industrial Estate car park off Gilroyd Lane for a 10:00am start. Grid ref SE 324 041; what3words: ///launch.water.beast. Please dress for the weather, as it could be muddy in places. Leaders: Annefie Roberts and Doug Brown.

Nine members attended with the weather was warm with April showers. We took a circular route past Boylins and the bottom of Lowe Wood, over what is then Horse Carr Dike and along to the reedbeds of Strafford Mine water treatment works and then back to the cars via the TPT . We looked mostly at plants and were pleased to see some ancient woodland indicators, but fungi and birds were observed . A highlight for me were six House Martin seen over the reed beds. Doug

Thanks to Doug Brown and Gill Richardson for the species list.

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.

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!

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!


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 …

Royd Moor reservoir – Saturday 11 November 2023

Our walk around Royd Moor Reservoir. As well as the reservoir and ponds, this local wildlife site has areas of woodland and heath, so lots to see.

There was an impressive flight of around 300 Greylag geese landing on the reservoir with some remaining in nearby field. On the reservoir too were Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Mallards and plenty of Black headed Gulls with Teal displaying and a pair of Little Grebe at the silt pond. We also saw 3 Rooks, Carrion Crows, male and female Blackbirds, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Robin, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, and Chaffinches.

We spotted a number of flowering plants, just about still in flower:
Yarrow, Ragwort, Zigzag clover, Mallow, Hawkweed sp., Harebell, Broom,
Hogweed, Herb Robert with Goat’s Rue not in flower.

And then Insects: Zebra spider, a snail eating beetle, Harlequin ladybirds;
Galls: Lots of Pineapple galls, one Oak apple and a Marble gall on Sessile Oak, possibly some Cola nut galls; and Fungi:

Wortley Parkland: 14 October 2023

Wortley Hall parkland was the place for our field visit this Saturday morning, 14th October. With a total of 14 members from Barnsley Nats and Friends of Wortley Hall Gardens, the weather was typical for Autumn with blue skies and sunshine with a north westerly wind making to feel cold in the shade, at eight degrees!

We did a circuit of the gardens, admired the ancient oak tree and the fossilized tree stump, and found most of the fungi on the grass lawns.

This site appears locally important for fungi and deserves further visits.

Field Visit to Whitwell Moor

Whitwell Moor, near Stocksbridge, is an area of former Grouse Moorland with heather and grassland areas and a beech plantation at its southern end. Eleven of us, led by Doug Brown and Chris Tomson, visited Whitwell Moor on the morning of Tuesday 3rd October. We gathered in the rain at the western end of Long Lane.


There’s a plantation at one end of the moor, and owing to the weather we first went there, finding Russula, Bolete, and Amanita species. Porcelain fungi being one of the prize species.

As the weather improved we headed towards the open moorland around the trig point where the terrain is acid grassland. We thought that this area might be good for waxcap species but we found other species.

The party then headed back along the ridge, looking at an ancient stone wall a site that made millstones in the plantation.

The moor is part of the Broomhead Estate and is no longer managed for grouse shooting. We were keen to have to see any changes due to the natural progression of the moor since management was withdrawn.


The moor was no longer a mosaic of new and old heather. Scrub and some trees had taken hold; Birch and Bracken were spreading. Rewilding?

Finally better weather brought out butterflies including Red Admiral.


Well worth visiting again!


Bat watching Elsecar Reservoir September 20th

Our next field visit takes place on the evening of Wednesday, 20th September. We will be watching bats on Elsecar reservoir and nearby. We will bring some bat detectors! Leader Doug Brown.

Meet at the car park at 6.45 pm on Wentworth Road near Elsecar Heritage Centre and opposite Elsecar Park. Grid Ref SK 38449976. What 3 words: ///aunts.wanted.cuddled. Nearby post code: S74 8EP

Seckar Woods 6 September

Some of us joined the Plant Gall Society at Seckar Woods on Wednesday.

For over 300 years Seckar Wood was part of the Wentworth estate until it was purchased by renowned local photographer Warner Gothard in 1923 and later left in his will ‘for the people of Wakefield and Barnsley’. Seckar Wood has ponds and some heathland as well as ancient woodland. It is a SSSI and Local Nature Reserve, managed by Wakefield Council.

Rabbit Ings Saturday 9th September

On Saturday 9th September, our field visit is to Rabbit Ings, near Royston; meeting at 10:00 am in the car park off Lund Hill Lane S71 4BB
What3words: ///extreme.seemingly.grid. Grid reference: SE375117

Rabbit Ings is a country park located on the former colliery yard and spoil heap of the Monkton Colliery and then the Royston Drift Mine, which closed in 1989. The renovated 64-hectare site, situated near Royston, has a range of habitats including grassland, woodland, ponds and wetland areas. It can be a hotspot for dragonflies. Leader Michele Winder.

Counting Glowworms 23 August 2023

Doug Brown, one of our members, goes out on a regular basis to do a glowworm count on a transect of the TPT near Thurgoland. This Wednesday night, for our planned field visit, several other Barnsley Nats members went along too. We had a count of around 70 glowworms a-glowing; quite difficult to see but an impressive number these days.

Doug also set up a moth trap at the side of the trail for while we are counting the glowworms. And the following morning we assembled at Doug and Jill’s to see the moths collected on the TPT.

So a good conclusion to our summer field visits.