Spring wildlife arrives on the reserves as we pause for lockdown

We all find ourselves in challenging times dealing with the national emergency of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Unfortunately this means we’ve had to close the hide and car-park at Broomhill. Our trustees, along with most of our regular visitors and volunteers will be staying at home and complying with the government guidance.

For those local people who may be able to use local footpaths and view our reserves at Broomhill, Denby Delf and Thunderbridge as part of their daily exercise regime, we hope that they have been providing some healthy and inspiring respite during the lockdown.

Of course, spring is well underway now. The first migrants have been returning. Before the lockdown, the black-headed gulls had returned to Broomhill Flash and were noisily setting up territories, and the first little ringed plovers had returned to The Fleet. In the meadows and woods, the green shoots of spring were pushing up.

By the first week of April, in lovely sunshine, the first butterflies – commas, peacocks and small tortoiseshells were being seen.

Small tortoiseshell butterfly

Our Wings Across the Ings project was completed at the end of March. Unfortunately we were
unable to host our final two events – the photography and written word competition and
exhibition, and a celebratory event to mark the end of the project and to thank all our supporters.
We hope to reschedule these later in the year, so keep a look out on our events page or social media for updates.

We held one of the last educational events held at the hide was on 8th March. The pond, now
full from the very wet winter rains, proved of great interest to the kids, especially as some
frogspawn rescued from cart-track rut was introduced.

Some of the essential work on the reserves has had to be suspended but we hope that in due
course we can get about our normal business and finish off the fencing, the hide roof, new
birdboxes, landscaping, viewpoints and so on. Our farmer, Jonathan, will be turning his cattle out this month and nature will be carrying on as usual, so let us hope that things return to normal

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

10 thoughts on “Spring wildlife arrives on the reserves as we pause for lockdown

  1. Hi,
    Can I just pick up the point about farmers being essential workers
    providing food etc….
    The farmer in this instance is using the disputed track to run his topsoil business not actually farming in the true sense of the word! In fact my neighbours recently bought some from him!
    Can I also remind you that not everybody uses Facebook so why don’t you put up maps on the site to show where people can walk and take down the 2 notices that you have put on the track beyond the public footpath that crosses from East to West?
    It has been quite obvious that you don’t like criticism and freedom of speech. There is more freedom of speech in North Korea!
    All the Best!


    1. Hello again Paul,

      As stated previously, farmers are classed as essential workers at the moment and our neighbour has a legal right of access through the gate to carry out his duties. It is great that your neighbours are supporting a local business in these difficult times.

      Thank you for your suggestions about the map on the website and the two extra signs and we will remove the latter shortly as they are causing confusion. As you’ve identified, the plan is available on Facebook in the meantime, which hopefully caters for a good number of people, and we are aware that the village committee remains a source of further advice.

      I believe we’ve answered all your comments, and hopefully we will soon be able to re-open the concessionary path in parallel with the opening of sites run by other organisations.


      1. Thank You for your reply.
        It would be nice for more clarification on the site regarding where you can and can’t go. I am still having to explain to the general public where access is allowed.
        It would be great if the 2 signs were removed soon from the accessible circular path.
        It looks like the map detailing the allowed access was removed from the access from Denby Lane ?!
        Why would anyone do this ? Surely if someone was confronted with the notices they would rip down the notices rather than the map ?
        Very strange !
        It would be nice to have the track access from Denby Lane reinstated in due course.
        Thank you for replying to my query.




      2. Hi Paul

        Thank you for your message. We are asking people to use the public rights of way and a circular walk around the Delf which is the well-used path which goes down to the bottom meadow and returns back along the heath, as shown on the plan. It is a shame that some maps have been removed but thanks for letting us know.

        The restrictions are easing so we hope it isn’t too long before we can re-open the path in line with the re-opening of other local sites.


  2. Dear Sirs,
    I would like to commend you for the work you are doing on your reserves but I fully support the views of Mr. Edwards regarding Denby Delf. The signage at the access point to the permissive footpath is confusing due to ambiguity about where one is allowed to go & where it is prohibited.

    I take exception to your comments about:
    1. “what we do not condone is more people still arriving by car to walk their dogs because other local attractions have been closed ”
    2. ” It is illegal, as well as being damaging to the wildlife we are trying to protect, and it also puts genuine local people at higher risk of contracting the disease.”
    3. ” We therefore feel that by closing the permissive footpath from the road this will deter those people who have no regard for others or the environment”.

    I do not live in Upper Denby but at High Flatts so I consider myself as being “a local” but prefer not to walk along the busy main road to visit the Delf .
    My understanding of the law is that local travel to a suitable place for exercise is allowed providing that travel time is less than the time taken to exercise.
    I cannot see how I am more damaging to wildlife than somebody from Upper Denby or how I put other locals at a higher risk of contracting the disease as anybody else since my wife & I have been in “self isolation” for the last couple of months8 weeks. Even during the of “lockdown” whilst walking around the Delf my “social distancing” has never been compromised by close contact with other people.
    Restricting access to this site, in conjunction with the closure of the local Water Board reservoirs, means that the available spaces for exercise is reduced. Consequently, the concentration of people is increased and therefore increases the risk of the transmission of disease.

    As Mr. Edwards points out the “permissive footpath” is frequently used by large farm machines so pedestrians are unlikely to cause disturbance. The alternative access off Denby Lane and the path around the properties is more likely to cause disturbance to their occupants and is “less neighbourly”.


    1. Dear Dr Dixon

      Thank you for your comment. We are very sorry that you feel that your walk has been interrupted by our decision, but we do feel that it is in the best interests of the site and for the majority to implement the current guidelines as best as we can.

      Please be assured that the measure is temporary and we will be taking the lead from the government and how other countryside organisations respond in deciding when to end it.

      As you will know, many other sites and nature reserves in the countryside are completely closed and we are keeping the Delf open, albeit with restricted access points via the Public Rights of Way, so that local people can still use it for their daily exercise.

      We have since affixed a clearer plan on the gate to the site (which is also viewable on our Facebook page) which shows the Public Rights of Way and what we are permitting.

      Our decision was not taken lightly and is not directed at individuals. Our judgement was, and is, that the extra disturbance and increased numbers of people and dogs which were using the site (likely as a result of being displaced from other areas), was detrimental to both wildlife and people.

      Farmers are essential workers trying their best to provide the food that we all need, and our neighbour has a legal right of access to use the track.

      We hope that you will bear with us and find an alternative route in common with the many millions of us across town and country who are also restricted in our preferred choices for daily exercise.


  3. I was horrified to find that the permissive access to the Denby Delf has been denied with the rather weak reason that it is due to the Coronavirus situation. Why has this been decided 6 weeks into the lock down?
    We are getting passed the worst of the virus. People need open spaces to exercise and the Delf is ideal for this. I can’t help thinking that it has been done for other reasons. If for example you want to protect ground nesting birds then put up notices to advise the general public.
    I think this is a very heavy handed measure. Has this been agreed with Kirklees Council?
    It seems strange that we can go shopping and come into close contact but we can’t enjoy open spaces. I think you will find that people will take no notice of the signs especially as public footpaths run through the area.
    You are merely guardians of this reserve and your dictatorial measures will not be welcomed by the residents of Upper Denby who have put a lot of time and effort with information boards to
    inform people of the flora and fauna in the reserve.
    I am disappointed and disgusted by this denial of access. You won’t be making many friends by your action.


    1. Dear Mr Edwards,

      Thank you for your comment.

      To clarify, we have closed the permissive path from the main road onto the reserve, but the public rights of way network remains open. Therefore you can still access the reserve and enjoy it from the public footpaths which cross it, and the circular path around the escarpment as shown on the plan on our Facebook page.

      We fully welcome local people using the site as part of their daily exercise and following the government guidelines, but what we do not condone is more people still arriving by car to walk their dogs because other local attractions have been closed. It is illegal, as well as being damaging to the wildlife we are trying to protect, and it also puts genuine local people at higher risk of contracting the disease.

      We therefore feel that by closing the permissive footpath from the road this will deter those people who have no regard for others or the environment.

      We have an excellent relationship with the people of the village as our joint venture with the information boards has demonstrated and we hope that genuine local people from the local community will see this as a positive step.


      1. Thanks for the clarification!
        It certainly wasn’t clear from the notices which seem to suggest that the whole of the Delf apart from the 2 public footpaths are out of bounds.
        I am glad that the circular walk is allowed. Disappointed that our closest access point on Denby Lane (400yds walking distance from our house) is closed. We will now have to walk further up Denby Lane to access the public footpath and then walk back again to access the Delf.
        The local farmer’s tractor and assortment of vans, JCB’s and lorries continue to use the track while members of the public arriving on foot like myself and my partner are excluded.


      2. Dear Paul

        Thank you for your further comment.

        We hope that you continue to enjoy your walk to the Delf and please be assured that the measure is temporary. We will be taking the lead from the Government and how other countryside organisations respond in deciding when to end it.

        Farmers are essential workers and are doing their best to provide the food that we will all need in the future and our neighbour has a legal right of access to use the track to get to his fields.


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