BBC summer of wildlife freebie

marsh harrier
marsh harrier

One of the region’s finest nature reserves will be free to visit this weekend, 20/21 July, as part of the BBC’s Summer of Wildlife.

Yorkshire Water’s Tophill Low Nature Reserve, the only one at a working water treatment works, boasts a vast array of rare and difficult-to-spot species and will throw open its doors from 10am until 4pm each day.

Visitors will be able to take advantage of the expertise of those who work and volunteer at the site through a series of exciting activities including bug hunting, pond dipping, bird tours and specialist walks suitable for all ages.

Tophill Low is home to over 1,000 recorded species, from otters to rare marsh harriers, and from grass snakes to bee orchids.

Marsh Harriers have nested at the site for the first time this year and well within range of one of the 13 bird hides on site. It’s hoped the chicks will fly the nest during the Summer of Wildlife weekend so visitors could be in line to glimpse a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

Richard Hampshire, Yorkshire Water’s manager for the site, said: “We’re delighted to be opening up Tophill Low for free as part of the BBC’s inspiring Summer of Wildlife programme. We’re rightly proud of the facilities we’ve developed here, which are home to a rich jigsaw of plants, flowers, birds, bugs and beasties. It’s a perfect day out for everyone, just bring some interest and enthusiasm and take advantage of the 300 acres of beautiful nature reserve.

The reserve boasts newly-renovated visitor toilet facilities, which feature grey water harvesting and solar heating in an attractive cedar clad building. There is ample car parking and admission is free all weekend with a number of exciting events. For more information visit www.bbc.co.uk/thingstodo