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Young people become wildlife explorers on Ilkley Moor

The Friends of Ilkley Moor held fun and informative ‘Wildlife Explorer’ events on Ilkley Moor on the 15 and 16 August.

These events were organised for young people, one suitable for wheel chairs and push chairs, so that they could discover the wildlife of Ilkley Moor. Young people explored the different habitats of the streams and tarns, and the animals, insects and plants which live there. Animal tracking and pond dipping were part of this event. Wetland plants within and around the tarns were identified and recorded; as well as amphibians and invertebrates found in the tarn. People also learnt how to survey for mammals using tracks and signs.

The group walked along the lower slopes of the moor, and then across to a wetland area and then climbed up to the stream and upper tarn close to White Wells Spa cottage, to be shown the plants and animals characteristic of the tarns and streams and surrounding habitat.

Plants discovered were heather, cross leaved heather, bilberry, cowberry, lichens, gorse, rowan, hazel, oak, goat willow, ash, and birch trees; water horsetail, yellow iris, soft rush and the grasses of yorkshire fog, crested dogs tail, cocksfoot, sweet vernal grass and meadow grass. Species recorded from the tarn were water snails and sticklebacks.

As well as exploring the upper tarn, the lower tarn and the stream some of the groups were shown the natural spring behind White Wells cottage, the famous plunge pool and learnt about the history of Ilkley Moor as a spa town.

As part of the event the young people learnt about the importance of wildflowers for the conservation of bees and butterflies; they potted native wildflower seeds in pots to take home, helping in the conservation of our native wildflowers, bees and butterflies.

More practical conservation days in habitat management took place where volunteers helped clear bracken from an area important for wetland plants; and helped dig out drainage ditches that were overgrown with vegetation.

Tracy Gray said, ‘people had lots of fun on these events as well as helping to conserve Ilkley moor and learning about its wildlife’

The group have two outings which will round off its 2022 programme:

Saturday 3rd September: An evening event starting at 7pm to discover the moorland bats that inhabit Ilkley Moor. This a guided walk around the tarns and pine woodland; bat detectors will be available and please remember to bring a torch.

Sunday 11th September: A guided walk to the Green Slack area of the Moor where there is a fascinating concentration of archaeological features. Please note that the meeting point for this event is Cow and Calf car park, not White Wells car park as published in the printed programme.

Booking is required and can be made in advance by contacting Tracy Gray on 07780 535860 or email;

For further information about the Friends of Ilkley Moor please visit the group's website:


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