RSPB Fairburn Ings

fairburn ings whats on yorkshire location


Neatly situated near Leeds, York, and Wakefield, Fairburn Ings offers a wonderful experience for nature lovers and families. With a history spanning over six decades, this former industrial zone has evolved into a sanctuary for wintering and breeding birds.

About Fairburn Ings


Once scarred by coal mining, the landscape now flourishes as a refuge for various species. The subsidence-induced depressions have become open waters and vibrant ecosystems including wetlands, reed beds, and grasslands. Old mining waste areas have metamorphosed into thriving habitats.

Remarkably, the reserve serves as home for some of Britain’s most endangered bird species, such as bitterns, bearded tits, and little egrets.


The dedicated management team employs diverse strategies for habitat upkeep. Wet grasslands provide homes for redshanks and curlews and are a stopover for migratory waterfowl. The team uses cattle grazing and water level regulation as key management tools.

Freshwater ecosystems here are bustling with aquatic life and birds. Efforts like willow pruning aim to increase biodiversity around the water bodies. Likewise, the reserve makes constant improvements to nesting islands for water birds.

Seasonal Highlights

In spring, the air resonates with melodious bird calls, including the distinctive chiffchaff. By summer, dragonflies add hues of colour to the Discovery trail. Autumn offers sights of green sandpipers and black-tailed godwits, while winter brings congregations of wigeons and goldeneyes.

What to Look Out For

  • Bitterns can be heard during early spring and are visible during their feeding in May and June.
  • Tree sparrows are commonly sighted near the visitor centre, being quite sociable birds.
  • Kingfishers remain a year-round spectacle; their ‘peep peep’ call and stunning plumage are not to be missed.


  • Visitor centre
  • Car park
  • Toilets
  • Accessible toilets
  • Baby changing
  • Refreshments
  • Picnic area
  • Binocular hire
  • Guided walks
  • Viewing point
  • Nature trails
  • Shop
  • Educational facilities
  • Play area

How to Reach Fairburn Ings

The nearest railway station is Castleford, situated three miles away. Buses do operate, albeit infrequently, to nearby villages. By car, exit J42 on the A1(M) and follow the signs for Fairburn.

images: Sam Turley (


RSPB Fairburn Ings, Newton Ln, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 2BH
Get Directions

More info