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Denaby Ings Nature Reserve

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.

Top Tip:

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.

Public Transport

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.

Denaby Ings Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group


Nearby nature reserves

Sprotbrough Flash Nature Reserve
2 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
5 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Maltby Low Common Nature Reserve
6 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Pastures Road
South Yorkshire
S64 0JJ
Map reference
SE 496 008
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
Aug - Nov
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Visitor centre
23.35 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for wheelchair access information.
Walking information
Permissive footpaths. Dogs are not permitted on the reserve.
Car park available on Pastures Road.
No dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Cattle graze the marsh, along with sheep in the meadows and pasture
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570


Factsheets and guides for your visit