North Lincolnshire Council

Local Nature Reserves

Ashby Ville Local Nature Reserve

Ashby Ville (also known as Lakeside) is our most popular reserve for visitors in Scunthorpe. You
can park in Morrisons car park and the entrance is in the far right corner or in our car parking
area which can be found off Whimbrel Chase. The site has all abilities access so you can do a
circular route and also links to the Bottesford Beck walk. The reserve has a large pond which is
used for fishing and water sports.
Lakeside consists of an extensive area of wetland with acid grassland and two small copses (the
first is primarily Hawthorn with Elm and the other consists of predominantly English Oak, Hawthorn
and Elder). The site is a valuable habitat for resident, visiting and breeding birds as well as
providing habitat for mammals, amphibians and invertebrates.

There is a wide variety of birds that live and visit this reserve: Kingfisher, four species of owl
including Tawny and Long Eared, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Sky Lark, Sand Martin, Pied
Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Tree Creeper, Wren, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk,
Pochard, Little Grebe, Peregrine Falcon, to name but a few!

Mammals include rabbit, squirrel, mole, water vole, otter, common shrew, pygmy shrew, fox, brown
hare, roe deer and bat species common Pipistrelle and Daubentons.

Butterflies include Comma, Peacock, Small Copper, Large and Small White, Small Heath, Ringlet,
Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, and Skippers. Look out for the Cinnabar and Six-spotted Burnet

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Axholme Line Local Nature Reserve

Park opposite the junior school on the outskirts of Haxey Village.

The reserve is a 2 km stretch of a former railway line consisting of areas of grassland, woodland and scrub. The Axholme Joint Railway traversed the area, but the line has now been abandoned. There are still railway stations in Crowle and Althorpe on the line between Scunthorpe and Sheffield. The mosaic of habitats here creates a haven for birds, small mammals, insects and butterflies.

Wildlife and you

Many of the plants found on the reserve grow amongst the scrub on the embankments on central areas. You will see Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Rough Hawkbit, Field Scabious, Cowslip, Crosswort, Yellow Oat-grass and Upright Brome, to name but a few. Further north along the track, you will find low growing species such as Thyme-leaved Sandwort, Lesser Trefoil, Sheep’s Sorrel, Greater Burnet, Perforate St John’s Wort, Oxeye Daisy and Sweet Vernal-grass. There is also a spring on site where you will find plants such as Fool’s-water-cress, Yellow Iris, Clustered Dock, Water Figwort, Creeping Buttercup and Great Willowherb. In shaded parts look out for Sweet Violet, Honeysuckle and Wild Strawberry. Of the many birds that live and visit the site, look out for the Bullfinch, Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. Bats can be seen flying up and down the line as they feast on insects at dusk. Of the many butterflies that live here look out for the Wall, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Red Admiral and the Green Veined White.


The geology of the Haxey area comprises the Clarborough Member of the Triassic Mercia Mudstone Group (c. 230-240m years old) that dips gently to the east overlain by the more recent Coversands. The cutting for the railway line that runs from Epworth to the north past the primary school in Haxey was made directly into the bedrock and features steep 10m high rock slopes of > 450 (1:1) that are mostly concealed by thin topsoil, trees and undergrowth. There are however a few places, particularly at the bridge 425 metres north of the Haxey entrance, where red mudstone can be seen with thin beds of harder green marl, known as skerries, and of satin spar, a variety of gypsum. Springs were also observed at the foot of the slopes. The characteristic red colouration of the marls is a consequence of the hot terrestrial environment that was present at the time of their deposition. They are interpreted as coastal plain fluvial, playa, epitidal and shallow marine sediments that were deposited around the western margin of the Southern North Sea Basin at a time when the basin contained a hypersaline sea. Locally, as at Melwood Quarry between Epworth and Owston Ferry, the red mudstones have been extracted and used for making bricks.

All abilities access and volunteering opportunities.

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Belshaw Heath Local Nature Reserve

The reserve lies off Belshaw Lane, west of Church Town, Belton, in the Isle of Axholme. Belshaw Heath is a Local Wildlife Site (LWS) with about 3.6 hectares of broad leaved woodland and acid grassland. These are priority habitats that have grown over sandy deposits. Scarce or localised plants of sandy acid grassland include annual knawel, Bird’s Foot, Shepherd’s Cress, Trailing St John’s Wort, Little Mouse Ear, Heath Grass and Early Hair Grass. This site adds value to the nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is only 0.2 hectares in area.

The woodland comprises Oak and Silver Birch, with an understorey of Hawthorn and Elder. There are patches of Aspen and standing dead wood, which benefits fungi, beetles and nesting birds. On the woodland floor, the ground flora includes Greater Stitchwort, Wood Sage and Spring Beauty. Birds of the woodland edge include Green Woodpecker, Cuckoo and a variety of warblers. Grass snakes may be seen by lucky visitors. Acid grassland patches, where flower-rich, support a range of common butterflies, including Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, and Green-veined White. The Small Copper relies on Sheep’s Sorrel, an acid grassland plant, as the foodplant for the caterpillars. Woodland edge butterflies include Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Comma, Orange Tip and Holly Blue. Areas of bare sand within the grassland appear to support a variety of beetles, bumblebees and solitary wasps, though these have not been formally identified. The reserve is managed by North Lincolnshire Council in partnership with the Parish Council.

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Brumby Wood LNR

Brumby Wood Local Nature Reserve

At Brumby Wood you have several options to park, as this woodland is in 3 sections: Central Park car park, Ridge Walk car park or at the bottom of Cemetry Road (before Quibell Park) in Scunthorpe.


The wood is classed as an ancient semi-natural woodland, one of the few remaining ancient woodlands in the area. An ancient woodland is one which has had trees continuously since 1600 or earlier. If you venture to the boundary between these woods and Quibell Park, you will find a row of veteran Oak trees which are thought to be around 500 years old. Brumby was mentioned in the Domesday Book anda manor house has stood at Brumby Hall (found next to Central Park) since at least the 1390’s. The present hall, a Listed Building, dates from the 17th century and was once described as ‘the Hall I’ the wood’.

Early Industry

We know that people have been in this area for well over 5000 years, with discoveries of flint points and scrapers from Neolithic times and from the early Bronze Age. Woodlands such as this one would have provided charcoal for early iron-making since at least the Roman era: Iron Age and Romano-British pottery have been discovered in this area. The use of ‘Warrens’ in Scunthorpe is a main part of its industrial heritage alongside iron-making. The earliest documented reference in Scunthorpe of ‘Warrens’ used to breed rabbits was at Brumby Warren in 1616. Breeding colonies

were used during the Medieval period and by the late 18th century they were breeding rabbits mainly for their fur to trim clothing and hats.

Wildlife and you

The site boasts a mixed woodland where you can find a rich variety of flowers through spring and summer. Look for the Anemones, Violets and Celandine early in the year; Bluebells, Wood Avens, Yellow Archangel, Campion, and Wild Garlic mid-late spring; and in the summer, Giant Bellflower, Lord’s and Ladies, Enchanter’s Nightshade, Wood Sage and Ground Ivy. To the left of Ridgewalk car park, is the meadow which hosts a plethora of flowers throughout the year. In the meadow, look for Cowslips, Ox-eye Daisy, Field Scabious, Meadow Cranesbill, Common Knapweed, Adder’s-tongue and Selfheal Amidst the many flowers present. This provides a valuable source of food for invertebrates, birds, and bats as well as cover for birds and mammals. Mammals you might spot on your visit include rabbit, squirrel, Pipistrelle and Brown Long-eared bats (at dawn and dusk), fox, hedgehog, vole and Roe Deer. If you put your eyes to the skies you might spot some of the many birds that live and visit the reserve; Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Tawny Owl, Chiffchaff, Kestrel, Robin, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Songthrush, to name a few.

And last but not least, the meadow is a sweet shop on warm sunny days for the butterlies and day flying moths found in the area. Look out for these butterflies: Speckled Wood (flying along the woodland edge), Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Small and Large White, Gatekeeper and the Skippers. Also look for the bright red wings of the Cinnabar moth and the 4 or 6 Spotted Burnet!

All abilities access, volunteering opportunities.

Giant Bellflower Wood Anemone



If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact: For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Conesby Quarry and Blue Lagoon LNR

Conesby Quarry and Blue Lagoon Local Nature Reserve

To find Conesby Quarry and Blue Lagoon, drive past Eddie Wrights’ Speedway on Normanby Road in Scunthorpe and you will find Blue Lagoon on the left and the quarry opposite. The quarry is still a working site and is only accessible to educational groups by prior arrangement. On both sites you can see a variety of both flora and fauna, including orchids, acid loving flowers and plants, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians and a variety of birds and mammals.

Conesby has a stone track that takes you on a circular route around the site. Blue Lagoon has a cycleway through it and a circular trail, volunteering opportunities are available.

Viper’s Bugloss Common Centaury

Blue Lagoon Morning Shot

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact: organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Elsham Chalk Quarry LNR

Elsham Quarry Local Nature Reserve

Elsham Quarry, an 11.4 hectare site is currently classed as a Local Wildlife Site (LWS). This former chalk quarry has an interesting mosaic of habitats with open grassy areas, scrub and woodland. It is an important site for remnants of Calcareous Grassland, a priority habitat that occurs where grassland grows over chalk or limestone, to be Conservec. Key species found here include Salad Burnet, Autumn Gentian, Rough Hawkbit, Croowort, Greater Knapweed, Common Spotted Orchid and Bee Orchid. The reserve is managed by the Parish Council. Drive past the Village Hall and follow the road through the village and up the hill – the entrance to the reserve is on your right.

Common Blue Butterfly

Far Ings LNR

Frodingham Nature Reserve

Frodingham Nature Reserve

The Frodingham Nature Reserve is accessible if you park carefully within the residential area of Orchid Close (off Church Lane in Scunthorpe). Walk down the steps through a small wooded area and you will reach a boardwalk which takes you over the very boggy meadow to a footpath and another boardwalk.

You are standing by one of the last remaining wet wild flower meadows in Scunthorpe. This small site is rich in biodiversity and awash with wild flowers from spring through to the summer months. The reserve was the first one to be declared by the council in North Lincolnshire.


The iron and steel industry in Scunthorpe was established in the 19th century, following the discovery and exploitation of ironstone east of Scunthorpe. Initially, the iron ore was exported to iron producers in South Yorkshire. Later, after the construction of the Trent, Ancholme and Grimsby Railway, access was given to the area and the local iron production rapidly expanded using local ironstone and imported coal or coke. The growth of this industry in the area led to the development of the town of Scunthorpe in what was once a sparsely populated and entirely agricultural area.

By an agreement in 1860, a Rotherham ironmaster called Samuel Beale, agreed to lease 102 acres in Frodingham Parish at a rent charge of £550 per annum for 30 years. The nature reserve is found on part of the railway cutting that was excavated for the transportation of iron from Frodingham and other Scunthorpe sites, on the Trent, Ancholme and Grimsby railway which opened in 1866.

Wildlife and You

The site hosts a wide variety of flowers throughout the seasons. Look for the dark blue/purple Milkwort along the edges of the path, Hemp Agrimony, Water Mint, Ox-eye Daisy and the Yellow Bird’s-foot Trefoil. In the summer months, the site is covered with common spotted orchids and if you sit silently and watch the boardwalk, you might spot a Common Lizard basking in the sunshine.

Common Lizard

The flowers provide valuable nectar to insects, which in turn provide food for birds such as Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Kestrel, Robin, Blackbird and Collared Dove, as well as the Pipistrelle Bats that visit or

live on the site. You might also see butterflies, such as Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Small and Large Skipper, Small, Large and Green-veined White, and Speckled Wood along the edges of the trees. The Cinnabar Moth and 6 Spot Burnet are also found feeding on the flowers.

Common Spotted Orchid

Frogs, newts and toads all live on site and breed every year in the small pond in the far corner of the reserve. We also see a family of foxes on here every spring.

All abilities access, volunteering opportunities.

Kingsway LNR

Kingsway Local Nature Reserve (Post code DN15 7ER)

Kingsway was once a golf course with mature woodlands and grasslands. Today it is being managed as a Local Nature Reserve. The woodlands and open grasslands are rich in wildlife. The woodland is mainly made up of Oak, Birch and Sycamore trees with an understorey ot Hawthorn, Elder and Holly. In the spring, look out for flowers such as Bluebells, Lesser Celandine and Wood Avens. In the acid grassland at the bottom of the hill, you may see Lady’s Bedstraw, Hare’s Foot Clover, Sand Spurrey, Sheep’s Sorrel, Field Mouse-Ear, Common Stork’s-bill and Bird’s-foot. Further uphill, you may see pignut, agrimony and harebell.

Mammals you might spot on your visit include squirrels, rabbits, bats, voles, hedgehogs, foxes and a small population of Roe Deer. If you put your eyes to the skies you may spot some of the birds that live on and visit the reserve, such as Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Tawny Owls. The site also supports Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpeckers and a range of small woodland birds including Robins, Treecreepers and Nuthatches, to name but a few.

Tawny Owl

On warm, sunny days look out for insects in the grassland areas. The flowers provide nectar and pollen to a range of insects including ten species of butterfly: Small Skipper; Large, Small and Green-Veined White; Small Copper; Brown Argus; Meadow Brown; Ringlet; Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood. This amount of species means the site is locally valuable for butterflies in Scunthorpe.

Speckled Wood butterfly on elder berries


We know that people have been in this area for well over 5000 years, with discoveries of flint points and scrapers from Neolithic times and from the early Bronze Age. Woodlands such as this one would have provided charcoal for early iron-making; the remains of an iron smelting furnace excavated on Manton Warren south-east of Scunthorpe has been radiocarbon dated to 776-590 BC, making it the earliest dated smelting furnace in the country. Iron Age and Romano-British settlements have been discovered in the Scunthorpe area too.

The use of ‘Warrens’ in Scunthorpe is a main part of its industrial heritage alongside iron-making. The earliest documented reference in Scunthorpe of ‘Warrens’ used to breed rabbits was at Brumby Warren in 1616. Breeding colonies were used during the Medieval period and by the late 18th century they were breeding rabbits mainly for their fur to trim clothing and hats.


According to the geological map, the boundary between Triassic and Jurassic rocks crosses the site clipping the south east corner. Most of the site is therefore on rocks of Triassic (Penarth Group) age. These are shallow marine mudstones deposited 201 to 210 million years ago. All of the solid geology is however masked by much later deposits of sand. These are no more than 2 million years old and are the result of winds carrying material from cold desert-like areas to the west. On reaching the west-facing scarps of the Frodingham Ironstone in Scunthorpe and the rocks forming the Lincoln Edge, the wind was forced to deposit its load and so they blanket the solid rocks, occasionally forming dunes. The reddish colour of the sands is derived from the source rocks, red sandstones from the Triassic sandstones in the Vale of York. Other areas of similar sand deposits occur in Atkinson’s Warren and Twigmoor. Iron pans formed in the sand and provided the raw material for

the earliest iron-smelting around Scunthorpe, dating from at least the early Iron Age; in the modern period the Frodingham Ironstone was quarried for the iron and steel industry.

Volunteering Opportunities

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Phoenix Parkway LNR

Phoenix Parkway

You can access the Phoenix Parkway reserve from Phoenix as, it all links together via a cycle route or by parkway at the top of Snowdonia Avenue in Scunthorpe. We have benches along the main route and wooden sculptures throughout the site (look for the Kestrel, Dragonfly and the Bat). We have installed a bat box scheme on site which is monitored by the local Bat Group.


When you are on site you are standing on a huge, ancient sand dune. During the last Ice Age, rocks were crushed and ground up by the massive weight of the ice. When it melted around 10,000 years ago, all this debris was left behind. The smallest grains of sand were whipped up by strong Westerly winds and gathered in deep drifts like the one you are standing on today.


We know that people existed here and hunted here during the Ice Age – a flint hand axe (35,000 years old) found on neighbouring Risby Warren would have been used by a Neanderthal hunter. Mammoth teeth have been discovered in the gravel deposits that are found at Flixborough and Bagmoor.

After the ice melted, it remained cold and bleak, like the tundra is today in Russia. It gradually warmed. This site remained as open heathland with plenty of animals and waterfowl and thick woods nearby. Nomadic people came across the land-bridge froom the continent, ‘hunter gatherers’ who lived off the land. These people were attracted to natural clearings with a good view of the surrounding countryside. Their spears and arrowheads were tipped with tiny chips of flint, called ‘microliths’. This period in time is known as the’Mesolithic’ – 10,000 to 6,000 years ago! Many of these ‘microliths’ have been found here.

The Neolithic, or New Stone Age, began 6,000 years ago. People began to settle in one place, although they still hunted. They needed more land to keep animals and grow crops. So they felled trees. Neolithic stone axes and flint arrowheads have been found here.

The Stone Ages ended about 4,300 years ago when the people who arrived here knew how to make tools out of metal. Some lived very close to here on what is now Phoenix Avenue. Archaeologists have discovered Bronze Age pottery and cremated bones there.

Early Industry

On the same site there was evidence for Iron Age domestic occupation (c.400 BC) with evidence of smelting iron in a bloomery furnace, pottery, animal bones and a weight from a loom. We used to believe that the Normans brought rabbits to the British Isles, but recent discoveries have proved it was the Romans. Breeding colonies called Warrens began to be used during the Medieval period for meat and later in the 18th century, largely for the fur to trim clothing and hats.

Wildlife and you

The site boasts a mixed native woodland with open areas of sand which attracts a plethora of mammals, birds and insects. Woodland flowers you can spot throughout the year, include the Bluebell, Red and White Campion, Lily of the Valley, Forget-me-not, and Celandine. On open sandy areas look for hare’s foot Clover, Common Stork’s-bill and Stitchwort. If you look closely as you venture through the site you might spot wooden carvings of a bat, sparrowhawk, and a dragonfly.

Look for these butterflies in open areas, such as Small Tortioseshell, Common Blue, and Peacock; and the Speckled Wood along the edges of the woods. Other creatures to look out for are bats at dusk and dawn, foxes, rabbits, birds of prey and other birds such as the Green Woodpecker, Roe Deer and Hedgehogs.

All abilities access, volunteering opportunities.

Dragonfly Sculpture (1 of 3 to find) Kestrel

Brimstone Butterfly

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or kay.perry@

Phoenix & The Moated Site

Phoenix & The Moated Site

To reach the Phoenix and The Moated Site, park at the end of Moat Road behind the Skippingdale Industrial Estate and the reserve is straight ahead of you if you walk past the vehicle barrier and walk along the track ( The track will take you to a large pond on the right and then a litle further the Moat. The Moat is rich in history and we are currently putting together a historical information board to be sited here. If you walk past the slag bolders (from the former steel works) and follow the track round you will see up to 15 species of butterfly (the best site in town for butterlflies!). As you head down hill, the Saxon Settlement and Flixborough old church and graveyard are to the right. We are also gathering historical information to put an information board here for visitors. This part of the site is scheduled.

The History of the ‘Little Conesby Moated Site’

Occupation of this moated site is dated from the late 13th or early 14th century – via dating pottery found on site – through to the abandonment and desertion from the site in the 16th century. It is thought to have been built by the D’Arcy family who owned the manor here for over 300 years (after having acquired it in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest).

In the 1920’s, despite being a beauty spot of historical significance, the moat disappeared under the slag heaps of Lysaght’s Normanby Park Steel Works. The moat was lost when it was filled up with slag poured from ladles mounted on railway trucks.

In the 1980’s, the Lysaght’s works closed and were demolished, leaving behind gigantic slag heaps. As part of the clean up, all slag was to be removed from the site and the council agreed that the lost moat should be looked for. The search for the lost moat began, the site was evaluated by Humber Field Archaeology in 2000. The Team discovered the location of the moat, alongside the remains of a Medieval building on the platform within the moat, and so excavations began in 2003.

Archaeological Finds

On the site they found a stable, manor house, kitchen, gatehouse, bridge and causeway. As archaeologists investigated the bottom of the moat, they uncovered organic material including a wooden bowl, several pairs of shoes (pointed toe from 14/15th century, blunt toe from the late 15th century and ‘broad’ Tudor shoes), textiles, traces of cereal grains, hemp, linseed and hazel nuts.

They uncovered the remains of a timber bridge and evidence of a gatehouse aligned with a metal trackway and a metalled yard. A non-domestic building was also found (13th-14th century) outside of the moated area. A large iron key was discovered on the causeway – could it have been left under the doormat as the inhabitants abandoned the site?

There were specially moulded bricks (one of the largest varied assemblages of Medieval ceramic building materials found from a rural site in the region) and painted glass showing the wealth of the owners. Pottery findings identified two main periods of activity; the late 13th to early 14th century and a later period of demolition of the structures on site. The demolition of the hall was dated by the discovery of an un-worn penny of Henry VII (AD 1500-1509) found in the rubble.

The Saxon Settlement at Flixborough

This site is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. It includes the remains of an Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical site, probably a nunnery, a ruined medieval church and its attached graveyard. Excavated buildings and finds confirm that it was a high status site occupied by people who had access to skilled builders and the products of fine craftsmen. Pre-Norman monasteries and nunneries are rare nationally, and are normally identified on the basis of early documentary evidence. However, there is no recorded history here and it has solely been identified on the basis of excavated finds. It has produced more archaeological evidence than many other documented sites.

Findings of the Dig

The remains of an Anglo-Saxon settlement were excavated by Humberside Archaeology Unit between 1989 and 1991. An unprecedented Middle to Late Saxon rural settlement sequence was uncovered. There were six main phases of occupation, dating from the early 7th to the 11th centuries AD. The greatest period of activity was during the 8th to early 11th centuries. The site is particularly exceptional because of the association of 40 buildings, floor surfaces and massive refuse dumps. This orderly disposal of the rubbish by the inhabitants provided an unprecedented amount of evidence on the character of occupation, as well as indications of the wealth and social status of its population. There were over 10,000 recorded finds, including many luxury artefacts that were associated with elite lifestyles and activities, including literacy. The majority of the buildings were houses, many of which had internal stone and clay hearths. There were also exceptional buildings, one of which may have been a chapel for the leading family of the settlement. Within it 5 inhumation graves were discovered. The layout of buildings and other structures changed significantly over time.

The Ringlet Butterfly Common Toad

Volunteering opportunities

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Sawcliffe Hill LNR

Sawcliffe Hill Local Nature Reserve To find Sawcliffe Hill, drive up the A1077 from Scunthorpe town towards Dragonby. Before the Dragonby turn off there is a layby on the right where you can park. Walk past the vehicle barrier and up the track and the reserve is on the hill to the right. It was planted as a community woodland many years ago and due to its location you will find more wildlife than visitors. The key species on site include Common Lizard, Grayling Butterfly, several species of orchids, and a plethora of birds and mammals.

Common Birds Foot Trefoil

Green Woodpecker

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact:

For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Silica Park (Pond) LNR

Silica Pond Local Nature Reserve

To find Silica Pond, head down Scotter Road from Asda supermarket and the reserve car park can be found on the right just before Silica Lodge Garden Centre.

Geology In glacial times (around 10,000 years ago) sand was blown across the region and landed over the underlying geology to create a layer of sand known today as the Coversands. Silica Pond is found on a Coversands site.

Industry Before the 1990’s, Silica Pond was quarried for its sand. Across the area, disused pits or quarries often became flooded and were used as wildlife reserves, for fishing, and even water sports. At Silica Pond, fishing goes hand in hand with the wildlife.

Wildlife Silica Pond is one of the best sites for butterflies in Scunthorpe. This is due to the mosaic of habitas found in a relatively small area, including native woodland, ponds, marshy areas, scrub and acid grassland. The grassland provides an excellent habitat for a wide variety of flowers such as Common Knapweed, Yarrow, Common Centaury, Harebell, Campion, Lady’s Bedstraw, and Smooth Cat’s-ear. The wetlands hold species such as Tufted Forget-me-not, Water Mint, Marsh Pennywort, Water-plantain, Bulrush and Mare’s-tail.

Some of the butterflies you may see on a sunny day in the grassy areas include the Comma, Small Copper, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, and Peacock. Speckled Wood will be seen on the rides that take you through the wooded areas at the back of the site. Other invertebrates, birds and mammals all live in or visit the reserve. We have a small herd of Roe Deer that frequent the site regularly and live alongside the rabbits, bats, foxes and hedgehogs that are present. Birds on the water include Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Swans. In the wooded areas, we get Woodpeckers and visitors from neighbouring gardens, such as Blackbirds, Blue Tits and Robins. Swifts feed over the water. Other creatures that live here include frogs, newts and toads and many species of fish such as Carp, Perch, Tench and Pike.

Common Swift feeding over the water Common Frogs

If you want to get involved as a volunteer on our Local Nature Reserves contact: For organising a school visit to one of our reserves contact either the or

Waters’ Edge Nature Reserve and Barton LNR

Local Nature Reserves in Barton on Humber

Waters’ Edge

At Waters’ Edge in Barton (signposted from the main roundabout) you will find a visitor centre with a café and toilets. The reserve has a Ranger who can assist you with any site enquiries and who you can contact if you would like to be a volunteer on the site.

The reserve is a picturesque wetland haven and home to a wide variety of plants and animals. There are two areas that form part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Over 160 species of birds and many animals have been seen at Waters’ Edge and the reserve’s wetland habitat is particularly rich in wildfowl. There are extensive ponds, meadows, woodlands and reedbeds connected by a network of paths and raised walkways. The reserve is an excellent location to see a wide range of living things in a variety of habitats, and offering spectacular views of the Humber Bridge.

Until a few years ago this was an area of severe industrial blight. The chemical factories that stood here closed in the mid 1980s leaving the ground contaminated with toxic waste. In the late 1990s a multimillion-pound project was initiated to clean up and transform the area to what is now Waters’ Edge, a 100-acre haven for wildlife on the Humber shore.

Thousands of native trees have been planted around the reserve and the range of plants found here is considerable. The rich diversity of habitats in the reserve makes this an excellent location to see a wide rant of plant and animal life. The reedbeds in the reserve are particularly important being classified as not only a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) but also classified as a Wetland of International Importance.

The plants in the park have an important role to play providing not only food but also shelter for the wildlife that makes the reserve its home. The common reeds around the Humber Estuary provide habitat for rare birds such as the Marsh Harrier and Bittern, while the Birds Foot Trefoil, an attractive yellow flower, that is found in the shorter grasslands is a food plant for the Common Blue butterfly’s caterpillars.

Hawthorn is the main hedge plant on the reserve. Its blossom appears in spring – hence the proverb “Ne’er cast a clout till May be out”, meaning don’t shed your winter clothing until Hawthorn is in flower. Its red berries in the autumn provide a good food source for birds such as the Redwing. The Sea Aster flowers in late summer to autumn in the Saltmarsh beyond the floodbank. There are also wading birds to be seen on the riverbank mud at low tide, Kingfishers, Herons and Grebes are at home on the ponds.

All abilities access, toilets, café, visitor centre, shop, volunteering opportunities.

Events are run throughout the year on these reserves. For more information about future events visit our What’s on in North Lincolnshire page.

Waters’ Edge Country Park and Visitor Centre is part of the South Humber Bank Collection visitor attractions. Both the park and visitor centre run a regular programme of events – see our Waters’ Edge pages for more information.

There are many other nature reserves in North Lincolnshire, also managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

The Environment Team
North Lincolnshire Council
Church Square House
PO Box 42
DN15 6XQ

Customer Contact Centre

01724 297000