About the Wharfedale Naturalists

The Society’s aims, as stated in the Charity Commission Central Register, are “To promote and foster the study of all branches of natural history and by observation, research and record-keeping to add to the existing knowledge of these sciences both in Wharfedale in particular and in the world at large.” Wharfedale, for the purpose of our Society, is “The watershed of the River Wharfe to Rougement Carr.” Rougement Carr is a small wood on the north bank of the Wharfe, near Weeton.

It’s a challenging brief, even in a comparatively small area such as this. To meet it, the Society runs winter lectures, carries out conservation work, advises landowners on conservation management, manages its own reserves and arranges walks and visits to sites of natural history interest.

The winter evening illustrated talks are very popular. They cover a wide range of subjects from geology to marine life and botany to conservation. Whilst many deal with topics of local concern, others range more widely, from North America to the Mediterranean and Antarctic.

Strongly committed to conservation of the local natural heritage, the Society has been maintaining natural history records within its area since its inception. This lengthy run of data assists in monitoring wildlife sites, and providing credible comment and criticism where development is proposed. Records are passed to the National Biodiversity Network.

This relies on continuing data collection by our knowledgeable Recorders, who cover aquatic life, botany, butterflies, dragonflies, fungi, hoverflies, ladybirds, moths, ornithology, non-bird vertebrates – and the weather.

During the season the recorders, and guest specialists, lead numerous walks (30 in 2006) to explore the area. These are attended by large numbers of friendly and helpful members who are happy to welcome new faces and to share their own knowledge. The summer walks may have wild flower, geological, fungus foray or birdwatching themes.

It also organises a winter outing, to a wildlife destination, and winter walks offer a chance to discover some new places. During the winter there is a programme of intelligent talks on natural history themes and an active microscope section meets once a month.

If you’ve an interest in our natural heritage you’ll enjoy membership of ‘Wharfedale Nats.’