Situated in the beautiful Bradfield Dale, on the north west corner of Agden Reservoir, Agden Bog Nature Reserve is a classic example of a type of bog that has now mostly disappeared from our landscape following the draining of the land for agriculture. Rich in flora, colour springs forth from purple moor-grass and heath spotted orchids. Birds, mammals and amphibians all thrive in this exceptional place.
The nature reserve is most notable for its botanical interest, with vegetation varying from sphagnum beds, purple moor-grass dominated wet grassland, extensive bracken beds to bird woodland.
Round-leaved sundew and cranberry are common amongst the moist sphagnum beds, whilst in the early summer hundreds of flowering heads from heath spotted orchids poke up, brightening the landscape. These are followed by the golden spikes of bog asphodel, and later in the season, the purple-blue globes of devil's-bit scabious. A patch of adder's tongue fern may also be found.
Don't forget to take a magnifying glass on your visit so that you can fully appreciate the beauty of the shagnum mosses and sundews.
The site is also good for spotting a number of mammals including brown hare and roe deer. Birds including nightjar, spotted flycatcher, siskin, lesser redpoll and common sandpiper have all been recorded nesting nearby, and black grouse may be seen. Common toads, common frogs and common lizards also make the nature reserve their home. Less common are golden-ringed dragonflies which breed on the mire and can sometimes be seen hawking over the site, or sunning on the tops of vegetation clumps.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is hoping to initiate a grazing regime; this would reduce the area of purple moor-grass and bracken, which will encourage expansion of the sphagnum beds. Common butterwort once grew amongst these beds and it is hoped grazing may enable its return. The site is currently managed with the kind assistance of Wharncliffe Heathlands Trust.
Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife book, which has detailed information on all of Yorkshire Wildlife and Sheffield Wildlife Trust’s reserves, is available to buy now from our online shop.
A bus runs from Hillsborough to Bradfield, 1km from the nature reserve.
Access from the A6102, taking the High Bradfield road at Oughtibridge. From High Bradfield turn right, half-way down the hill to Low Bradfield. Drive round Agden Reservoir and park off-road on the left just before right-hand bend and opposite the houses.
Want to see more of Agden Bog before your visit? Have a look below.