This wildlife haven - a fantastic mix of habitats from open water and riverside water meadows to woodland scrub and hedgerows -is in easy reach of the urban areas of Denaby and Mexborough. Bustling with wildlife including spritely kingfisher, elegant orchids and colourful pochard amongst others, Denaby Ings provides a much needed wildlife haven in a landscape scattered with farmland and housing developments.
Riverside meadows, dry meadows, open water, woodland scrub and hedgerow habitats are all found at Denaby Ings and support a diverse range of species.
Grey herons sit by the river waiting to strike. In the meadows butterflies are abundant visiting the assorted wildflowers, whereas winter sees flocks of migrant birds including fieldfare and lesser redpoll.
To catch a sight of the wondrous wildlife here spend time in two of the viewing hides which overlook the main marsh and provide excellent sights over the open water of the Ings and the river valley to the wooded crags in the distance. Follow the raised embankment of the old Dearne Valley Railway to reach them. The railway, which was once used to transport coal from the local mines, is now full of the sound of birdsong during the spring and summer.
Sparrowhawk,buzzard and kestrel are seen most days and in summer hobby and marsh harrier are both becoming more frequently seen.
Close to the River Dearne, the site plays an important role in flood relief - the iron gates of the sluice allow water to escape into the water meadows on the nature reserve when there is severe flooding. Local volunteers and the Trust work to maintain the path and to keep open areas free from scrub. The marsh and meadows are regularly mown and grazed to maintain the habitat for a diversity of species. The water levels in the Ings are monitored and controlled to provide a mix of reedbeds and muddy shoreline attractive to the birds.
The nature reserve has a long and varied history which can be traced as far back as Roman times, although more recently farming and coal mining has shaped the area. Mining subsidence has caused permanent open water areas to form where the River Dearne once flowed and these are now rich in aquatic life.
Please note the field centre is open on Saturdays only.
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.
Train to Conisbrough or Mexborough from Doncaster, then approximately a 30 minute walk to the nature reserve.
Denaby Ings lies north east of Mexborough. Take the A635 towards Barnsley for 1.5 miles to Marr. Just before the village take a left onto a minor road signposted Mexborough. At the staggered crossroads turn left towards High melton and almost immediately right downhill towards Mexborough. Bear right, over the Old Dearne and between a disused railway line and turn left into the car park.
Want to see more of Denaby Ings before your visit? Have a look below.