Old Moor Wetland Centre RSPB Reserve
OS Grid reference- SE 422 022
Situated at the heart of the Dearne Valley, Barnsley, Old Moor is a wonderful place to see wildlife.
The centre was opened by Barnsley Borough Council in 1998 as part of the regeneration of the Dearne Valley and then developed further with the help of a lottery grant in 2002. The RSPB took over the management of the site in 2003.
The 250 acre reserve is based around several lakes which form marshland and reedbeds, as well as the open water. There is also land based grassland and bushy habitat. There is also a small bird feeding garden which is maintained beside the visitor centre. Picnic areas are provided on various trails throughout the reserve. There are also several bird hides and viewing screens with good views of the main habitats.
In the summer the grasslands are carpeted with colourful wild orchids, and visitors can to see newly-hatched ducklings. In winter the reserve is an important stopping-off point for ducks, geese, swans and golden plovers. In summer the dragonflies and butterflies are spectacular.
The reserve has an excellent range of bird species which can be viewed through five superb hides.The centre boasts up to 2,000 lapwings. It also has over 250 tree sparrows, an endangered species as well as coots, little bittern, bittern, great white egret, little egret, kingfisher, wood sandpiper, dunlin, grey plover, greenshank and black tailed godwits.
There are lots of events, guided walks and family activities, as well as home-cooked food in the Gannets café and a well-stocked shop. The large visitor centre is housed in sympathetically converted eighteenth century farm buildings.
There is also the 'Kids Go Wild' adventure playground for children. There are also Wildlife Explorer backpacks available for hire. These contain bug jars, binoculars and guide books to help children get the most out of their visit. The reserve is a great day out for young and old alike.
From the M1- Leave at junction 36 and take the A61 (Barnsley). At the small roundabout, continue straight ahead on the A6195 (Doncaster) for approximately four miles. After passing the Morrison's superstore, follow the brown RSPB Old Moor signs.
From the A1 Leave at junction 37 (Doncaster), follow the A635 towards Barnsley, then follow the brown RSPB Old Moor signs.
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