by ANTONY CLAY
IF you fancy staying in South Yorkshire for your trip into the natural world, why not pay a visit to the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Centenary Riverside in Templeborough?
It is a rare green treat amongst the housing and industry near the M1 and attracts much of interest.
It is also an important site in that it is designed as a floodplain and is part of Rotherham’s Flood Alleviation Scheme. Basically, it floods so businesses and homes nearby don’t.
Centenary Riverside is alongside the River Don and is a 4.5 hectare wetland reserve with a wildflower meadow, a series of ponds and wetlands.
It was developed on the site of a former steel foundry which closed its doors back in 1993, as did so many.
The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust took over the site in 2006 and made it what it is today. It opened as a reserve in 2009.
But its historic link hasn’t been forgotten with elements of the industrial past used in the impressive sculpture Steel Henge.
Urban nature havens are vital, and not just for the animals and plants. It is a gloomy human environment that doesn’t have a green spot to escape to, such as a park or an urban wetland. To be fair, Rotherham as a whole does very well for greenery but that doesn’t make what there is any less valuable.
At Centenary Riverside you can trek along footpaths to explore the site at your own pace.
But what is there? Sand martins are a regular and the reeds are home to a variety of birds such as little ringed plovers. The bird list is quite impressive but so are the mammals and particularly insects, especially butterflies fluttering about on the wildflower meadow bank.
Centenary Riverside is a nature spot which brings together the past and the present, and preserves fauna and flora for the future. It’s location puts it in the heart of Rotherham and Sheffield and it certainly represents the area’s positive forward-looking spirit.
Should you be feeling particularly active, the Trust holds regular volunteer work days at the reserve. Find out more by contacting the Trust.
Find out more at http://www.wildsheffield.com.