Saltmarshe Delph Nature Reserve
During the bird breeding season (March to approx. end of June) there is no access to the footpath and hide at Saltmarshe Delph Nature Reserve – thank you for your cooperation.
Know before you go
Parking informationParking on lane.
Permissive footpaths. Please contact the Trust on 01904 659570 for disabled access information. A Trans-Pennine footpath passes the site.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMay to September, November to February
Open water and reedbeds contain lesser reedmace and attract marsh harrier and water rail, whereas in the woodland fringe mature willow, oak and ash grow. Birds of prey often frequent the site so make sure you take the occasional look up during your visit.
The site is divided neatly into two compartments by the Hull to Doncaster railway, known as the Delph and Willow Garth.
In the north east corner is an area of wet willow carr, a habitat which is full of song in spring with redient willow tit joined by reed warbler, blackcap and chiffchaff. Reed warblers breed around the lake and a small number of willow tits have previously bred.
In high summer, dragon and damselflies aplenty make themselves at home, with 19 species recorded. Other insects including the lesser stag beetle and ringed china-mark moth can also be found. This rich insect life in turn attracts bats including Daubenton’s that skim low over the lake surface.
Winter is a great time to see hundreds of ducks of several species on the water including gadwell, teal and shoveler.
- Spring: Birds - Mute swan; Marsh harrier; Cuckoo; Sand martin; Sedge warbler
- Summer: Invertebrates - Emperor dragonfly; Small red-eyed damselfly; Broad-bodied chaser; Southern hawker; Birds - Hobby
- Autumn: Birds - Teal; Wigeon; Gadwell; Invertebrates - Ruddy darter
- Winter: Birds - Great crested grebe; Willow tit; Water rail
The Delph was excavated in 1864 to provide spoil for the approach to the railway bridge close by. The Willow Garth to the west of the railway was commercially worked until 1956, providing materials to make agricultural baskets. In 1972 the site become a nature reserve. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust works to keep the ponds and reedbeds in their present condition and to control willow encroachment.
The nearest train stations is at Saltmarshe, which is 2.1 miles from the nature reserve. A Trans-Pennine footpath passes the site.
The nature reserve is 2.5 miles south east of Howden. Turn off the A614 roundabout signed Kilpin and Laxton. Take the Skelton road and proceed through the village, then turn left away from the River Ouse before the railway swing bridge. The nature reserve is 400m along the road to Saltmarshe.