Places to see birds

Orgreave Lakes and Treeton Dyke

Male wigeon swimming
Wigeon Photo: RSPB

Orgreave Lakes and Treeton Dyke lie just under five miles east of Sheffield city centre, on opposite sides of the River Rother. Like so many of South Yorkshire's birding sites, much the area is a remnant of the coal industry. Its mixture of river, lakes, open ground and woodland of various ages is now proving attractive to a wide range of birds and developing as one of the most regularly watched and potentially interesting sites in our area.

The lakes are home to wildfowl throughout the year, including little and great crested grebes, moorhen, coot, mute swan, wigeon, gadwall, teal, tufted duck and pochard. Goldeneye and goosander can also be found - especially in winter months. Gulls are frequent and may include less common species. Typical waders at the lake edges include lapwing, common sandpiper, ringed plover and oystercatcher. A whole host of other species may however turn up, especially at times of passage and, in the last few years, these have included ruff, sanderling, black-necked grebe and black tern. In autumn, V-shaped skeins of pink-footed geese may be seen overhead, replacing the swifts, house martins and sand martins found in the summer months.

Along the River Rother, look out for kingfisher and grey heron fishing in what was once one of the most polluted stretches of river in England. Surrounding Orgreave Lakes is extensive rough grassland where a variety of small birds may be found including skylark, meadow pipit, pied wagtail and linnet. Hedgerows and areas of scrub and young woodland also support a range of smaller birds, including bullfinch, song thrush, and fieldfare and redwing in the winter months. In summer, chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps can be abundant and whitethroat and lesser whitethroat may also be present along with sedge and reed warblers on the reedy edges of Treeton Dyke.

Immediately to the east of Treeton Dyke is Hail Mary Hill Wood, a semi-natural ancient woodland. Along with nearby Falconer Wood, this supports a good range of woodland birds including both sparrowhawk and common buzzard.

Access is possible from a number of directions, including from near the sports ground on Washfield Lane in Treeton. At the bottom of this road is the railway line that divides the area in two. To reach Orgreave Lakes, cross the footbridge and continue to another bridge across the River Rother. The lakes are then ahead and to your left and a complete circuit of these is possible. Alternatively, turn left along the track before the railway line and follow this to Treeton Dyke Angling Club, from where a path skirts the eastern side of the lake, between this and the bottom of Hail Mary Hill Wood. It is possible to do a good circular walk taking in both the Orgreave and Treeton Dyke areas, although this does involve walking along a section of the B6200 between Fence and Woodhouse Mill.