Places to see birds

Blacka Moor

Heather moor at Geltsdale

Blacka Moor comprises 181 hectares of heathland, woodland and bog on the south-west edge of Sheffield. The area was presented to the City of Sheffield in the 1930s by Alderman J G Graves for the use and benefit of its people. It still belongs to the Council, but is now managed by the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.

Blacka Moor's woodlands are home to great spotted woodpecker, tawny owl, jay, nuthatch, treecreeper, song thrush and woodcock - with chiffchaff, willow warbler, wood warbler, blackcap and both pied and spotted flycatchers joining these in the summer. Areas of conifers may support coal tit, goldcrest, siskin, and crossbill.

Higher up, these woodlands grade into open heathland interspersed with copses and scattered trees - mainly of rowan and birch. This interface between woodland and moorland is of particular importance for birds such as tree pipit, linnet, willow warbler and whitethroat. Other heathland birds include abundant meadow pipit - joined in summer by cuckoo, whinchat, wheatear and stonechat. Reed bunting, grasshopper warbler, curlew and snipe favour the wetter areas of Cowsick Bog and Strawberry Lee Pastures and a small population of skylark breed on the latter. Other species, such as merlin and golden plover, feed on open areas of the reserve but breed elsewhere.

As well as birds, Blacka Moor is known for its population of bilberry bumblebees. It is also one of the finest sites in Sheffield for moths which include beautiful phoenix, Chinese snout, small character and ruby tiger. The ease and regularity of seeing red deer - the UK's largest mammal - is another bonus.

Blacka Moor has a number of small parking areas around its edges. At its top corner and just off the A625 Sheffield to Hathersage road is Stony Ridge car park and a short way back down this road is Piper Lane layby. Parking for the lower part of the reserve is at the end of Strawberry Lee Lane which can be found by turning off the A621 Sheffield to Baslow Road near the edge of Totley to take Hillfoot Road. At the bottom of the hill, turn left onto Penny Lane and, shortly after passing the Cricket Inn, turn right into Strawberry Lee Lane and continue to its end.

Buses 65, 215, 271 and 272 stop near the top edge of the reserve and the lower edge can be reached from the 97 bus - getting off at the Cross Scythes pub near the edge of Totley and following the route for Strawberry Lee Lane described above.

There is an extensive network of paths and bridleways across the reserve. However, the topography means that some routes require steep uphill climbs. In addition, some areas can be wet and boggy.

There are no toilets or refreshments in the immediate vicinity of the reserve but these can be found close by at the Fox House Inn further along the A625 as well as at the Crown, Cricket and Cross Scythes inns on the edge of Totley.

Blacka Moor lies adjacent to the Eastern Moors - covered in a separate entry in this section.