Celebrating 10 years of RSPB Old Moor in the Dearne Valley

The RSPB hosted a special event to celebrate ten years of providing a home for wildlife at its Old Moor nature reserve, in the Dearne Valley.

Reserve staff and volunteers were joined by special guests at Friday’s celebrations, including a number of people who were instrumental in the development of Old Moor as it is today.

Matthew Capper, Site Manager, said: “It was fantastic to bring everyone together to celebrate this milestone, and great that so many people could make it. Without the help of partners and individuals in the region, we really couldn’t have achieved what we have so far.”

Speeches from John Healey MP, Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive, Pete Wall, Dearne Valley Green Heart Project Manager and Peter Robertson, RSPB Regional Director, celebrated the many achievements over the past decade, both for the reserve and the Dearne valley as a whole.

John said: “RSPB and Old Moor can be proud of their phenomenal achievements in their first decade.

“It is firmly established and nationally recognised as one of the top nature reserves in the country. But it is so much more than that.

“Old Moor continues to be a linchpin of wider plans for regeneration and investment and is a key partner and driver of so many things we do in the Dearne Valley.”

The RSPB took over management of Old Moor – a former Barnsley local authority site, known as the Wetlands Centre – in 1993. During the past ten years the reserve has seen significant work in both the creation and conservation of habitat for wildlife and the development of a whole new visitor infrastructure.

Matthew said: “Visitor numbers have increased from 15,000, when the reserve first opened, to over 97,000 today, and a host of new wildlife has made the reserve its home over the years, such as bitterns, bee orchids, tree bees, saucer bugs and marsh harriers.”

Cllr Dorothy Higginbottom, the Mayor of Barnsley, also joined the celebrations along with representatives of the Dearne Valley Green Heart Nature Improvement Area, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, the voluntary sector and funders.

As well as celebrating the history of the site and achievements to date, there was also a showcase of future plans for the reserve, and guests were taken on a guided walk to see the developing discovery zone and conservation successes.

Matthew added: “We’re thrilled with everything that has been achieved at Old Moor over the past ten years, and we are committed to ensuring the site continues to provide a home for wildlife where people can learn more about, and connect with, nature.”