About this blog

Just having a bit of fun here, posting about walks and other stuff. I need to get out more.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sanctuary on my Doorstep

All my life, I have lived in South Yorkshire.
I grew up in a town called Wath-Upon-Dearne and attended Wath Victoria Junior and Infants school and then Wath Comprehensive school. I left school in 1977 and started work at one of the local collieries as an apprentice Blacksmith Plater Welder.
During my youth, my enduring memory of Wath was of the thick smog which hung over the town most days as a result of the huge coking plant that was situated on the edge of the town. Back then, there were also two collieries in the town, Wath Main and Manvers Main and a huge marshalling yard (Link) which transported the coal and coke all over the north of England.
The area was booming, families moved into Wath from all corners of Britain, new homes were built and there was money to spend. The local shops and pubs had never had it so good.... ..but the environment was paying the price.

Today all of the industry has long since gone. Where the coking plant and Manvers Main once were, stands Dearne Valley College and numerous Call Centres. A new road starts here and passes directly through the area where the marshalling yard was situated.
The land on which Wath Main proudly stood for over 100 years has been extensively developed and now hosts a golf course and a lake. Thousands of trees have been planted and the area is now quite pretty, totally transformed in the space of 25 years.
The new road continues here to eventually link up with the M1 and passes new housing developments, a rather tacky looking new hotel and the inevitable KFC. About 300 yards further along the road a rather innocuous sign post, just before a mini roundabout exclaims.."RSPB-Old Moor"......This is the sanctuary on my doorstep.

There have always been wetlands in this area adjacent to the River Dearne and when I was growing up in Wath my mates and I used to venture down there occasionally. We called it "Swan Lake" or "Swanny". There was not much there to interest us though and we generally stayed closer to home.

In 1998 Barnsley Council, as part of the regeneration of the area, opened up a visitor centre here in some converted farm buildings. Further development took place in 2002 as a result of a lottery grant , and the following year the RSPB took over the site. They have lovingly developed the site and other wetland areas close by, and what we have today is a first class area of outstanding beauty for all to enjoy.

Entrance to Old Moor

Please take time to have a look on the RSPB-OLD MOOR WEBSITE .
Theres lots of information on the website...and don't miss fat Berts daily updates on the days sightings at Old Moor!
Download the map and go and have a look around.

Old Moor Wetlands

Autumn Colours

Grey Heron in the rain.

Tufted Duck

The onset of winter at Old Moor

Icy view from the Wath Ings hide

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