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The River Derwent at the entrance to the Wheldrake Ings nature reserve
The River Derwent at the entrance to the Wheldrake Ings nature reserve

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Route No. 591 - Thursday 3 September 2015
A visit to Wheldrake Ings wetland nature reserve
(Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) - 4km
River Derwent . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 290 York


Crossing the bridge over the River Derwent into the Wheldrake Ings Nature Reserve
Crossing the bridge over the River Derwent into the Wheldrake Ings Nature Reserve

Track from the car park in to the reserve
Track from the car park in to the reserve


This hide is a tall structure overlooking meadows where wildfowl graze in the late autumn and winter. We stayed for a few minutes but there's not a lot of activity yet. A little further on there is another much smaller hide in a very dilapidated condition and the short flight of access steps has rotted away. We continued along the access track further into the reserve to a disused wind pump. Just beyond the wind pump the path turns sharp left and a little further on is an access walkway leading up to another hide called "The Pool Hide".

Today the weather was overcast and drizzly so Jim & I drove to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's wetland nature reserve at Wheldrake Ings on the River Derwent where there are plenty of observation hides with interesting outlooks to shelter from the rain. The site is approached along a narrow lane off the road from Wheldrake village. There is a small car park by the river Derwent at the end of the lane at map ref. SE 693 443. From the car park we crossed the bridge over the River Derwent into the nature reserve. We followed the track along the wooded bank of the River Derwent for about 500m to the first hide called "The Andy Booth Hide".

Following the track into the reserve
Following the track into the reserve

The Andy Booth or Tower Hide overlooking the meadows
The Andy Booth or Tower Hide overlooking the meadows

Dilapidated hide with decayed steps
Dilapidated hide with decayed steps

Just beyond the wind pump the path turns sharp left and a little further on is an access walkway leading up to another hide called "The Pool Hide".

A little further on there is another much smaller hide in a very dilapidated condition and the short flight of access steps has rotted away. We continued along the access track further into the reserve to a disused wind pump.

Disused wind pump
Disused wind pump

Walkway to the Pool Hide
Walkway to the Pool Hide

Herons seen from the Pool Hide
Herons seen from the Pool Hide

There was a group of mallard ducks here too but I did not notice any of the winter migrants that will populate the reserve later in the autumn.

We stayed at the Pool Hide for some time watching several herons at the far end of the lake.

Herons seen from the Pool Hide
Herons seen from the Pool Hide

View across the pool from the hide
View across the pool from the hide

Track to the last hide
Track to the last hide

A few mallards came out of the reeds and posed on this island
A few mallards came out of the reeds and posed on this island

The bird of prey was about the same size as a kestrel, fluttering slowly along the hedge top and then disappeared across a distant field. I suspected it was a hobby catching insects and later we saw numerous sand martins flying low over the water catching insects, which proved there were some insects about.

We left the hide and continued along the path to the end of the boarded walkway at the final hide. We sat here for a while too but only saw half a dozen mallard emerge from the reeds and swim across to a small island to stand out of the water. To our right, about 150 metres away, we saw a bird of prey.

Steps to the last hide
Steps to the last hide

Heading back from the last hide
Heading back from the last hide

Following the track out of the reserve
Following the track out of the reserve

Only a 4km walk but it's an interesting place to bear in mind for later in the year when there should be a great many winter migrant wild fowl to observe.

From this last hide we made our way back along the access track to the car park. In one of the fields was a large flock of black hebridean sheep, 'conservation grazers'.

Following the track out of the reserve
Following the track out of the reserve

The River DErwent at the entrance to the reserve
The River Derwent at the entrance to the reserve next to the car park

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