Situated just four miles from the centre of Leeds and nestling in a U bend on the River Aire, Rodley Nature Reserve provides a wonderful free resource for local people. Visitors often comment on what a peaceful place it really is. Many come for a spot of birdwatching and others for just an easy stroll.
The reserve was created in 1999 on the site of the old Rodley water treatment works on land owned by Yorkshire Water plc and it is managed by Rodley Nature Reserve Trust Ltd. The four main water bodies – the lagoon ,duck marsh, reedbed and wet grassland – were all dug out in 1999 on the rough grassland bordering the river and they now provide excellent birdwatching from a series of six hides, several of them with special facilities for wheelchair users. Other habitats include a willow coppice, two wildflower meadows, a six acre crop field growing bird-friendly seed crops and a series of dragonfly ponds. A hide at the Manager’s Garden looks out onto bird feeding stations which attract a wide range of birds throughout the year.
In the summer months the dragonfly ponds provide a peaceful and relaxing place to sit or potter around. Visitors are also encouraged to explore the wildflower meadows on well cut paths.
All the paths on the reserve are well maintained and provide easy walking with little or no gradients. There are seats at regular intervals to sit and enjoy the bird song and the peaceful surroundings.
And no visit to the reserve would be complete without a call at the visitor centre where you can be sure of a friendly welcome and a hot or cold drink. There are also good toilet facilities.
The reserve is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year from 10.00am to 4.00pm and admission is free. Other than guide dogs, the reserve does not allow dogs on the reserve in any circumstances in order to avoid disturbance to wildlife. More information can be found on the reserve’s website at http://www.rodleynaturereserve.org
Thanks to Peter Murphy Secretary Rodley Nature Reserve.
Mike Bush Community Reporter.