Welcoming you back - a message from our CEO Rachael Bice

(c) Matthew Roberts

At Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, we’re getting ready to welcome you back safely to all of our nature reserves so that you can reconnect with each other and our wonderful wildlife.

I hope this message finds you safe and well.

It’s been a tough time for us all – who could have imagined we’d be where we are now, just a year ago? The natural world has been here for us, however, when we’ve needed it the most. We are grateful to all of you who have shared stories of how nature has provided solace and joy in the face of such worry, loneliness and grief. And we hope that, as we turn the page into this new chapter, it will continue to do so. 

Hopefully you enjoyed your walks locally over winter, and even the dullest of days were made that bit brighter by the song of a blackbird or a trill of a robin. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have felt a much-missed spring in your step as the world starts to burst back into life again. Spring is a season of awakening, of shaking off the old and embracing the new, and we can thankfully see it peeking its hopeful head out in our gardens, parks and hedgerows. 

From 29th March, we no longer need to stay at home and groups of six or two households can meet outdoors. We’re delighted to say that all our nature reserves will be open again from this time – perfect for the Easter break. Potteric Carr and Spurn nature reserves have both been awarded Visit Britain’s Good to Go certification, and we’re putting a number of special measures in place at all our reserves to help keep you and our wildlife safe.   

Most nature reserves are quiet sanctuaries for wildlife and gentle walks, where it’s more difficult to keep that all-important social distance from others. So here are our top six reserves to visit, where there is more space, wider routes and more parking – enabling you to safely enjoy meeting up with another household if you want to.

  • Potteric Carr nature reserve and visitors centre (Doncaster)
  • North Cave Wetlands (near Hull)
  • Spurn National Nature Reserve and Discovery Centre (Spurn)
  • Ripon City Wetlands (Ripon)
  • Dearne Valley Country Park (Barnsley)

To keep everyone safe, please check for updates or responses to new government guidance before visiting. Our website is the most up-to-date source of all Covid-related information, so always check our pages before visiting one of our nature reserves. 

Spring is a vital season for nature, where wildlife can be at its most vulnerable, so we are asking all visitors to take extra special care. You can help us to protect ground-nesting birds and wildlife like adders (who like to bask in the sun!) by staying to the paths, following signs and keeping your dog on a lead. As places predominantly for wildlife, dogs are not allowed at many of our reserves, which you can read more about in our previous blog, and another reason to check online so that you can plan the right visit for your family.   

Our staff and volunteers will be around to help keep you safe, and we welcome those visiting with their household or in small groups of six. Help nature to keep helping us by taking any litter home with you – Yorkshire is all of ours to cherish and keep safe. And please remember those who may be venturing out for the first time in a long time and stay at a safe distance. 

As restrictions continue to ease, we’ll be sharing some lovely activities with you as part of our new events programme! There will be something for everyone, whether you’re a wildlife newbie or an avid birder, so keep checking in on here and on social media for details of how to get involved. 

Help us keep Yorkshire wild and beautiful for everyone, forever!

Nature has given us so much this past year, and we each have a part to play in keeping our Yorkshire bright and beautiful over these next few months and beyond. Together we can ensure that our great outdoors remains just that - a Yorkshire that is safe and happy for people to enjoy, while also staying wild and special for our threatened and irreplaceable wildlife. 

With all of our best wishes from everyone at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust,
Rachael