Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve

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Flotilla of Mute Swans with Fairburn village on the horizon

Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve is a Local Nature Reserve in Yorkshire, England.[1][2] It is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on behalf of the local naturalists who set it up.

Situated in the Lower Aire Valley, and includes the whole of Fairburn & Newton Ings SSSI, Fairburn Ings is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR), it is also a Statutory Bird Sanctuary, (one of only 10 in England)with a focus mainly on wildfowl and waders, although many other birds can be seen. It lies to the south and west of Fairburn, near Castleford. The word "ings" (singular "ing") is of Old Norse origin and means "damp or marshy land that floods", a reference to the area being flooded regularly by the River Aire.

Lying alongside the River Aire, the 1000 acre nature reserve includes a large lake and a number of smaller lakes, ponds and dikes; the area has been the scene of industrial and mining operations for 150 years, and all the water bodies are the result of subsidence of former coal-mine workings, up to 600m underground, providing habitats for wildfowl and many other birds.

The site is bordered by predominantly arable farmland to the north and east, and urban environments to the south and west. One third of the site has been developed from 26 million cubic metres of colliery spoil which have been landscaped to create a large complex of herb rich grassland, wetlands and woodland.

Habitats at Fairburn Ings include flood meadows, wet fenland, marsh and reedbed, woodland and scrub. The reserve has the highest number of bird species recorded at any inland site in the United Kingdom, at 283. Listed in terms of the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan, the reserve contains:

  • UK BAP habitats:
  • BAP species of these habitats include:

Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix), Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), Skylark (Alauda arvense), Song Thrush (Turdus philatelist), Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Linnet (Carduelis cannabina), Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyorrhoea), Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), Corn Bunting (Milaria calandra), Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris ) and Pipistrelle Bat (Pipistrellus pippistrellus).

Birds of conservation concern of these habitats include: the Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigrocollis), Garganey (Anas querquedula), Redshank (Tringa totanus), Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) and Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricalia).

Visitor facilities[edit]

There is a Visitor Centre and five hides. Entrance to the reserve is free but there is a charge for car parking.


  1. ^ "Fairburn Ings". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 
  2. ^ "Map of Fairburn Ings". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°44′27″N 1°19′18″W / 53.740700°N 1.321650°W / 53.740700; -1.321650