Famed for its wetland birds including bitterns, Potteric Carr has a network of paths enabling visitors to explore the mosaic of habitats and enjoy the stunning vistas found at this large nature reserve. With excellent facilities including tearoom, shop, toilets and hides it really is a great place to visit.
Potteric Carr is an area of low-lying land to the south east of Doncaster which forms the floodplain of the River Torne.
The site is fabulous for birdwatching with marsh and water birds being particularly numerous. Over 230 species of birds have been recorded and 102 species have bred, with over 65 species breeding each year. A recent major extension to the site was designed to enhance this and has already resulted in booming bitterns. Spring and autumn are exciting times as a wide range of migrant birds can arrive at any time.
Potteric Carr's marshes support a wide range of plants providing a spectacle of colour throughout the summer. Plants include greater and lesser spearwort, water soldier, water violet and Southern marsh orchid. The disused railway embankments, constructed from magnesian limestone, encourage plants such as common spotted and bee orchids and old man's beard, Britain's only wild clematis.
Great crested and palmate newts are present in some of the pools and toads are common. Mammals include water shrew, harvest mouse and roe deer. The nature reserve is excellent for insects and other invertebrates too, with impressive lists of moths, spiders, beetles, bugs and hoverflies. Purple hairstreak and brown argus are among the 28 species of butterfly to have been seen, with 21 species of dragonfly noted.
A late afternoon visit in winter can provide a great chance to see a bittern. Ask for latest sightings at reception. Wrap up warm and wait quietly and patiently!
The mosaic of habitats we see today is largely due to recent management work by the Trust's staff and its hardworking volunteers. In the 16th Century the area was a small part of the Hatfield Royal Deer Chase but it eventually fell out of favour due to being continuously flooded. Over a period of 150 years various attempts were made at draining the area, the final successful attempt being in the 1760s. In the 1950s coal seams from Rossington Colliery penetrated under the area. Over the next 15 years, as subsidence occurred, the fen conditions returned together with the associated wildlife.
In 1968, a small area (13 ha) was declared a nature reserve by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Over time the area of the site was gradually increased by purchase or lease and, in 2005, was extended to 200 ha when a further 75 ha of former farmland was purchased and major developments took place to improve habitats and visitor facilities and create a new extensive marsh.
Find out more about Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, including information on the nature trails, café, education programmes as well as a daily sightings blog.
Level Crossing Closure
Network Rail has decided to temporarily close a level crossing on Potteric Carr Nature Reserve. This means that parts of the nature reserve are currently inaccessible. Please see the latest news post for more information.
*This means that not all routes shown on the current trail guide are accessible.
Wildlife Trust members free
- Adult £4.00
- Family £10.00 (two adults and up to four children under 16)
- Concession £3.00
- Child £2.50
Would you like to get involved at Potteric Carr? See our current volunteering opportunities here.
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.
From Frenchgate Interchange take one of the regular buses to Lakeside. Alight at the B&Q on Woodfield Way and cross to White Rose Way, then walk down Mallard Way. Nearest train station is in Doncaster.
From the A1 take the M18 east bound, taking the first junction left to Doncaster on the White Rose Way. At the first set of lights, take the right turning onto Mallard Way. Park at Sedum House.
Want to see more of Potteric before your visit? Have a look below.