Barnsley Nats talks and other indoor meetings, October to March 2024

Our Barnsley Nats monthly indoor meetings are at 
Worsbrough Common Community Centre (Vera Mawby Centre)
Warren Quarry Lane, off Park Road (A6133), Barnsley. 

Post Code: S70 4ND
What Three Words: ///daring.medium.weds
There’s parking in the Centre Car park and on the Warren Quarry Lane roadside.

The Wednesday evening dates for our talks (at 7pm) are:
Wednesday 25 October 2023: A Carrion Crow in Close-Up by Steve Byers
Wednesday 22 November 2023: A Birdwatcher’s Year by Ron Marshall
Wednesday 21 February 2024: Ancient Woodland Inventory Review by AWIR Project leaders, Nick and David,
Wednesday 20 March 2024: Wildflower Meadows by Chris Tomson.

Our Christmas Social is on Wednesday 20 December 2023 and our AGM on Wednesday 24 January 2024.

Our full programme including field visits can be seen on our programme page, see tabs above or go to: barnsleynats.org.uk/programme/

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.

Mothing at Carlton Marsh –28 July

Some Barnsley Nats members joined Cliff Gorman and Harry Beaumont at Carlton Marsh Nature Reserve for an evening—getting on to a night– mothing.

Cliff Gorman reported: Last nights moth session with Harry Beaumont, members of our group and Barnsley Naturalists, produced 32 species of macro moths. They included Coronet, Poplar Hawk, Elephant Hawk, Bordered Pug, Fen Wainscot, Iron, Pale, Swallow and Pale Swallow Prominents.

Two additional field visits

Friday 28 July, 9pm: Mothing at Carlton Marsh Nature Reserve

Cliff Gorman has been in touch to invite interested Nats members to an evening ‘mothing’ at Carlton Marsh on Friday evening —if it’s not raining at 9pm!

Tuesday 1 August, ‘Yorkshire Day’: Dragonflies at Netherwood Country Park

Alistair McLean is leading a field visit at Netherwood Country Park for Dragonflies starting at 11am. It’s a joint venture of Sorby Natural History Society, the British Dragonfly Society and Sheffield Museums.

We visited the country park and its ponds a few months back —before the dragonfly season so now there will be more to see. The car park is off Bradbury Balk Lane, grid reference: SE 3956 0404. What Three Words : ///gateway.enveloped.bugs !!

https://british-dragonflies.org.uk/event/netherwood-country-park-dragonflies/

Wombwell Ings — Wednesday 26 July

Our Barnsley Nats field visit —on Wednesday evening, 26 July— to Wombwell Ings, one of the Dearne Valley wetlands sites managed by the RSPB; Ron Marshall leading our walk. A drink at the Old Moor Tavern after, for those who wish.

Meeting for 7pm near the junction of Everill Gate Lane and Pontefract Roadn near the Old Moor Tavern. Parking at the roadside along Pontefract Road.
Grid Reference: SE419029. What Three Words: ///astounded.climate.starch or ///history.otter.chucked

Yesterday’s field visit: Eight intrepid Barnsley Nats members braved the weather yesterday at Wombwell Ings; the highlights included the kingfisher darting along the Dearne, Egrets on the Ings –and of course the company; after our walk we retired, somewhat soaked, to the Old Moor Tavern.

Denby Delf —Saturday 8 July

Our field visit this Saturday morning was to the Denby Delf nature reserve, managed by the Garganey Trust, near Upper Denby, just over the Barnsley border from Ingbirchworth and Gunthwaite.

It’s made up of meadows, heathland, acid grassland, scrub and woodland in old quarry workings. The reserve has spectacular views over to Emley Moor and down the Dearne Valley. https://garganeytrust.org.uk/reserves/denby-delf/

The meadow was unmown and there were still orchids, just going over. There were lots of speckled wood, meadow brown and ringlet butterflies. Birds included yellowhammer, skylark, and meadow pipit; plants common spotted orchid, yellow rattle, tormentil etc. And much more. A brilliant site and well worth coming again! 

Images: Chris Tomson

Wednesday 21 June

A previous visit to the Strafford Mine Water Treatment reedbeds

Our next Wednesday evening field visit (21 June) is a welcome return to Boylin’s, the area near Strafford industrial park. It’s off the road (Gilroyd Lane) between Gilroyd and Stainborough.

It’s a general nature walk in an area with a stream (Stainborough Dike), reedbeds ( Strafford Mine Water Treatment Plant), grassland and woodland. So looking for plants, birds, butterflies and other invertebrates. It’s part of the Falthwaite and Lowe Wood local wildlife site. The Dove Valley Trail (TPT) skirts the site.

Meeting: We are meeting for 7pm at the Strafford industrial estate car park: SE324041. The selected ‘what three words’ location is ///launch.water.beast !

We have a species count of 103, many of which we see regularly. There will be more to add to the list when we get the insects species from one of our members. Birds that we saw ot heard include wren, reed warbler anf young bluetits. Insects were a snout-nosed moth, clearwing (possibably lunar hornet moth) nurseyweb spider and bishop’s mitre shieldbug. Plants included enchanters nightshde, crosswort, goats rue, everlasting pea and yarrow (flowers are just opening). Galls midge, Dasineura acrophilia, gall on ash; two mite galls, Eriophyes inangulis and E. laevis on alder; wasp gall, Andricus curvatur, on oak sessile