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Potteric Carr Nature Reserve

Potteric Carr's brand new visitor centre is now open. The centre further enhances the experience of all those that come to the site and there is a brand new shop and tearoom with lakeside views.

Famed for its wetland birds including bitterns and marsh harriers, 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.


To read about the latest Potteric Carr Sightings, visit our Potteric Carr blog, which is written by Richard Scott. You can also read monthly reviews of wildlife sightings compiled by Roger Bird. An article written by volunteer Dave Carroll about the impact of an expanding nature reserve on wildlife can be found here.


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 breeding marsh harriers and 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, water vole, 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.


Top Tip:


A late afternoon visit in winter can provide a great chance of seeing a wonderful starling murmuration. 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.



Wildlife Trust members free

  • Adult £4
  • Family £10 (two adults and up to four children under 16)
  • Concession £3
  • Child £2.50
  • Please note that Potteric Carr will be closed over the festive season on 24th/25/26th/27th December.

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

Public Transport

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 and follow the signs to the visitor centre car park.




Nearby nature reserves

Sprotbrough Flash Nature Reserve
3 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Thorpe Marsh Nature Reserve
5 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Denaby Ings Nature Reserve
5 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Mallard Way
South Yorkshire
Map reference
SE 589 007
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Mar - May
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open 9am, last entry 5pm. The tearoom is open 7 days a week, 10am to 4pm and food is served until 3pm.
Gift shop
Visitor centre
Picnic facilities
Disabled toilet
Baby changing
200.00 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Car parking and entry to the visitor centre is free. There is an admission charge for the nature reserve. Access across the railway is unfortunately no longer permitted. Wheelchair-friendly, permissive footpaths and waymarked trails.
Walking information
Wheelchair friendly, permissive footpaths and waymarked trails. With the exception of working guide dogs, dogs are not permitted on the nature reserve.
The car park is open 9am until 5pm.
Guide dogs only
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01302 570077