This page introduces programmes and projects on biodiversity in the Barnsley Area

Nature improvement areas (NIAs) are a landscape scale approach to environmental conservation. The aim of the Dearne Valley Green Heart Partnership for the NIA is to help restore and enhance the ecological networks of the river, its floodplain, and its link to habitats on surrounding slopes andhills.

GREAT NEWS: Dearne Valley Wetlands notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Natural England announced the designation of a group of sites within the Dearne Valley Nature Improvement Area (NIA) as a new SSSI - Dearne Valley Wetlands on 13 May 2021. Following a time for stakeholders to comment, Dearne Valley Wetlands SSSI was confirmed by Natural England on 19 January 2022.

It’s for the nationally important bird species found in these places including wetland birds such as Bittern, Lapwing and Redshank and Avocet, as well as the Willow Tit.

You have to look at the maps of the SSSI to see all the sites, including Carlton Marsh, Edderthorpe Flash, Houghton Washland, Wombwell Ings, Broomhill Flash, Park Hill Brickyards, Old Moor, Bolton Ings and Adwick washlands. Worsbrough reservoir willow carr is included as is Barrow Colliery. There are other pockets of habitat too, the total area amounting to over 650 ha.

Large parts of the SSSI are used for flood risk management by the Environment Agency. Other parts have been reclaimed from former pit-stacks and railway tracks.

The SSSI designation ensures that the national importance of this place for nature and people can be fully taken into account in future decisions regarding its use and management.  

Well done everyone: Natural England and Dearne Valley Green Heart NIA partners, including the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Garganey Trust, Environment Agency, and local councils.

Press release:


For the Dearne Valley Wetlands SSSI notification including maps and sites included:

Read Pete Wall’s blog as well - The day I’ve dreamt about for 20 years …