Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society


November 2020 Newsletter Available Now! Click HERE

NEW! WNS Zoom Meetings

We are pleased to announce that WNS have arranged online talks on Zoom. Next up are:

26th January – Linda Jenkinson: ‘Swifts’
9th February: David White & Rob Jaques (BTO): 25 Years of Garden Birdwatch’
Past presentations:

6th October – The first presentation will feature Graham Standring of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust who will be speaking about the management of YWT nature reserves in the Yorkshire Dales.

20th October – Sara King of Rewilding Britain “Biodiversity impacts of beaver and pine marten reintroductions” Now available to listen to at: https://www.yorkshirerewildingnetwork.org.uk/presentations/

3rd November – Stef Pearse – on the subject of spiders. Now available to listen to at: https://youtu.be/9n3zEyLtYnA

17th November – Ian Brand “Botanical Medicine – from poisonous plants to today’s medicines”. Now available to listen to at: https://youtu.be/dR0sO5rt85A

8th December – Joint event with Climate Action Ilkley and the Ilkley Clean River Group: “Water in the Dales: are we keeping up with climate change?” by Rick Battarbee, Addingham resident and Emeritus Professor at University College London. Now available to listen to at: https://youtu.be/rxFMccpm4Cg and via the front page of climateactionilkley.org.uk 

12th January – Anne Riley: ‘The Nature of Lockdown in Burley in Wharfedale’. Now available to listen to at: https://youtu.be/AEASh4-QQTk

Each talk will start at 7.30, will last for about 45 minutes and will be followed by a question and answer session.

The Zoom link for each meeting will be emailed out to members in advance.

More talks are being arranged for the rest of the winter season.


As would be expected, all the Society’s normal activities are in abeyance at this time. The Summer Programme, with 25 planned activities/excursions, was ready to be rolled out when lockdown came into operation, and all planned activities were therefore suspended. It is likely that we will use this Programme for our 2021 events if things have returned to normal by then. With regard to the Winter Programme we will have to wait and see how the situation develops.

In the meantime, we intend to continue with our work to promote and support local conservation initiatives making financial contributions where appropriate. The Society gave financial support to a total of 16 projects throughout Wharfedale in our last financial year and these included hedge planting in upper Wharfedale, tools for the Grass Wood and Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Work Parties and a grant to support rewilding local initiatives.

Given the sadly depleted state of UK wildlife we are very keen to continue to promote this aspect of our activities notwithstanding the pandemic disruption. The majority of the money for these Grants comes from our annual membership fee which, for adults, is just £12-50. If you are not a member and would like to assist us in this work, please consider supporting us by joining Wharfedale Naturalists through the link on this website. This will be a boost to the Society and local conservation work at this difficult time and I am confident that, as and when things return to normal, you will come to even more value your membership with the opportunity it will provide for learning, entertainment and commitment to conservation.

In the meantime, stay safe and well and many thanks for your interest.

Peter Riley (President)

Annual General Meeting

We have been unable to hold our Annual General Meeting for this year as you will understand. We will keep you up to date on any developments on this issue.

A Flower for Wharfedale

The search for our own floral emblem. For more info click HERE.

New recording form 2020

Please find a link to the new recording form for recording what you see when out and about.  It contains details of where to send the form:


For those of you that wish to send your sightings directly to the recorders, a new recording form is available to download from here. It lists all the recorders from the Wharfedale Nats and all we request is a separate form is used for each recorder.

Funds for Conservation Projects available

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Every year the Wharfedale Nats like to support a number of worthwhile conservation projects in and around the Wharfedale area. For example, the Society has helped towards the costs of servicing equipment used by the Hay Time Project. If you have a conservation project, that would benefit from a small contribution by the Society, please contact our Secretary.

Gallows Hill Latest


A message from a recent visitor:

I took a trip down there myself and the following were seen/heard in just over half an hour. Bullfinch, chaffinch, blue/great/ long tailed tits, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, jackdaw, rook, crow, chiff chaff, greater spotted woody, wood pidgeon.

A nice spot. My first visit and I didn’t know where the car park was.
For other “first timers” take the pool road out of Otley. Go past the cemetery on the left. There’s an entrance to the new housing development after about another 200 yards. Turn left into this new development and there is a track on the right that leads down to the Gallows Hill car park. Enjoy!

More information about the site can be found here and, if you wish to become involved, Friends of Gallows Hill run a series of events and work parties throughout the year.
Details of events are available via the Gallows Hill Facebook group: Friends of Gallows Hill

Appeal from our butterfly recorders

Many thanks to Diane Morris and Paul Millard for all their hard work with the butterfly records. Those of you that attended the recorder’s evening will have heard their findings first-hand. In addition to the records you have kindly been sending them, they have appealed for people to report records from sites in Wharfedale which have previously gone unrecorded.

The Wharfedale Naturalists has a butterfly database dating back to 1948 containing over 60,000 records, but despite this there are 21 tetrads in our recording area, comprising over 60 square kilometres, that have no butterfly record at all. In an effort to fill in all the gaps, a list of these tetrads can be downloaded here and if any of these are near where you live or if you fancy a trip out this summer, try and see if you can spot a butterfly in one of our blank squares. If you are successful let them know, they will be pleased to hear from you.

Missing Tetrads

Missing Tetrads 1 – 21

The current butterfly recording form can be downloaded here along with some useful notes here. If you wish to print out a form and fill it in by hand, a suitable template is available here.

Diane and Paul would like to stress butterfly recording should be a pleasure, and not a chore, so if you’re in doubt about anything on the spreadsheet please let Diane know, using the contact form below, or leave the entry blank.

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