Nature amongst the industry

SO many beautiful nature locations have inauspicious histories. Some may have been mine workings, some redundant industrial or military sites, and some – like Blackburn Meadows on the edge of Rotherham and Sheffield – were former sewage treatment works.

Blackburn Meadows, which is run by Sheffield City Council with help from the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, is now a really attractive birdwatching site surrounded by industry (and the remnants of former industry). It is easily accessible off the M1 and local roads and a good place to visit.

There are plenty of surprises, as well as old reliables, in terms of birdlife but the lucky nature lover can delight in butterflies and dragonflies at the right time of year around the lakes.

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But it is for the birds that Blackburn Meadows really stands out. It isn’t a huge reserve so everything is in a fairly compact place and you can see a lot in a short time.

The wildlife trust says that more than 140 species of bird have been noted at Blackburn Meadows over the years so there is plenty on offer throughout the year.

Obviously it is birds that live on water and around the water which will be most prominent and ducks, geese and swans turn up at various times or swim around there all year, and warblers can be spotted around the edges of the lakes.

Songbirds galore can be noted in the vegetated areas around the edge of Blackburn Meadows so keep your notebook open and your eyes peeled.

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It is always surprising what you can see in the heart of an essentially urban landscape and a visit to Blackburn Meadows will be proof enough that wherever you are there is plenty to observe.

The reserve has easy access and a car park. There is a footpath around the reserve and two hides to sit and see what’s on offer.

To get to the reserve from the M1, come off at junction 34 to follow the A6109 (Meadow Bank Road) towards Rotherham. Eventually you will see Psalters Lane which leads on to Steel Street and the reserve car park.

From Rotherham, you would come off the A629 Wortley Road and follow the A6109. Then look for Psalters Lane, as above.



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You can find out more about the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust at

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