Thunderbridge Meadows is found in the lovely wooded valley of the Thunderbridge Dyke, near Huddersfield. The reserve follows the western bank of the bubbling stream as it flows northwards, and consists of two ancient meadows connected by riverine woodlands and scrub.
The meadows are full of wild flowers, including many locally rare species such as meadow and wood cranesbills, greater burnet saxifrage and a wealth of grasses and sedges including wood sedge, pale sedge and carnation sedge in flushed ground on the eastern draining slope.
Abundant brambles (species yet to be determined) provide nectar sources and autumn food for wildlife including insects and butterflies such as meadow brown, ringlet and small heath as well as the scarcer white-letter hairstreak and wall.
In the river you can see brown trout, dippers and grey wagtails, as well as many old oak, alder and ash trees, which provide habitat for birds such as nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and tawny owl. At night, the site is used by foraging bats, badgers and roe deer. You may be lucky to hear and see displaying woodcocks.
What we do at Thunderbridge
The Garganey Trust manages the reserve by the regular cutting of the meadows in patches to provide a mixed structure favoured by different plants and animals.
We selectively cut brambles, other shrubs and trees which can invade the grasslands, and also keep a watchful eye on invasive weeds such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam. These have been recently controlled on the reserve as part of the Fenay Beck Project in partnership with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
A footpath follows the track next to the river, and visitors are welcome to enjoy the lovely setting of the reserve and its wildlife.