High Batts Nature Reserve
Earlier this year we joined a new Independent private Yorkshire Nature Reserve not too far from home. It took us a while to visit due to the terrible weather during March and early April.
About High Batts Nature Reserve.
High Batts is a private Yorkshire Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Ripon, North Yorkshire. It is to be found on a sand and gravel Quarry Site.
Located on the banks of the river ure. High Batts comprises 32 acres of mixed woodland with open clearings. A sand and gravel quarry operates close by. Restoration of parts of this working quarry has led to the creation of a conservation area. There are four hides on the Reserve together with a viewing mound.
The part of the Ure valley in which the Reserve is situated, Is underlaid by Limestone which was deposited from a warm and shallow sea over millions of years ago. Later in geological time, Huge deposits of gravel occurred. Caused by the river changing course, These deposits are the basis of the surrounding sand and gravel extraction industry. This has resulted in thin layers of mildly alkaline soils in the Reserve area, which produce an abundant and diverse flora within a range of habitats including stream, mixed woodland of birch, ash, alder, willow, etc., hawthorn scrub, and calcareous grassland clearings.
The Reserve is subject to flooding by the river. A wide variety of bird species has been recorded within the Reserve. The open indigenous tree species attract three species of Woodpeckers and a good variety and population of tits especially Marsh tits. An active winter feeding programme attracts healthy populations of Tree Sparrows, Yellowhammers, and finches, and particularly during the winter, up to 10 Marsh tits.
Over many years of recording, the Reserve has had its share of exciting rarities such as Nightjar, Wryneck, Pied-billed grebe and Great white egret. The Reserve has a wealth of insects attracted by the flora and copious amounts of dead and rotting wood.
Our First Visit
On our first visit to High Batts Nature Reserve. We were very impressed with how the reserve had been looked after during the long cold wet period since Christmas. The viewing areas/hides are very good. The wildlife comes close to the hides. We had the opportunity to photograph Yellowhammer, A variety of Tits and finches as well as the Great Spotted Woodpecker among others. We will be visiting this nature reserve a lot over the coming months as we can see its potential.