From 11th January 2023, the Reserve will be open Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays. Please refer to our news item for further details

Thank you for visiting The

Rodley Nature Reserve website.

Rodley Nature Reserve is designed to bring wetland wildlife back into the Leeds area.

About Us

Situated just four miles from the centre of Leeds, Rodley Nature Reserve is different to most wetland reserves in that the wetlands were all dug out from scratch from rough grassland close to the River Aire. When Yorkshire Water plc decomissioned the Rodley Water Treatment Works in 1993 it was with a wish that their land should be developed as a nature reserve. The land is situated in the Aire valley, an important flyway for migrating birds.Rodley Nature Reserve Trust is a registered charity run by a board of trustees. The Trust’s objectives are –

The care and management of the land as a nature reserve by habitat management for wildlife, in particular the wildlife of wetland habitats and the education of the public in the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of wildlife.

There are no paid staff at Rodley. Volunteers work on habitat management, the manning of the Visitor Centre and looking after school and other visits. Managing such a large area requires a good deal of manpower and money and we are grateful to the generosity of the public, the fundraising activities of the Friends of Rodley Nature Reserve and the income generated from our participation in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, one of the government’s agri-environment schemes, which collectively enable us to maintain and continue to improve this beautiful green space for people and wildlife alike. We are also grateful for the continuing support of Yorkshire Water PLC who own the land.

To view the Rodley Nature Reserve Data Protection Policy please follow this link

A recognised ‘Flyway’ for wildfowl and waders on migration.

Four Hundred and One

The number of species of moth recorded on the Reserve.

Eight Hundred and Seventy Two

The number of school children who enjoyed the Rodley experience last year.

One Hundred and Seventy Three

The number of bird species recorded on the reserve to date.

Yorkshire Water PLC decommission the water treatment works at Rodley1993

Rodley Nature Reserve registered as a charity and a 60 year lease with Yorkshire Water plc finalised on the same date.August 1998

Work commenced on digging out the four main wetland areasMay 1999


First open day for visitors heldOctober 1999

The reserve opens to the public on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer monthsJune 2000

Michael Meacher, Minister for the Environment, officially opens the Reserve28 July 2000

2 Michael Meacher opens reserve July 2000

The Friends of Rodley Nature Reserve is establishedNovember 2000

The first Dragonfly Ponds dug and shapedApril and May 2004

3 First DFponds dug Apr May 2004

Wet Grassland Hide and ramp constructedAugust 2007


Education Pond used by a school group for the first timeJune 2008


Two hides on the Willow Path destroyed by vandals in an arson attackSeptember 2009


A new hide - the Mike Sheldon Hide - constructed overlooking the Lagoon with a wheelchair friendly rampSeptember 2009


Two new steel hides installed on the Willow Path to replace those destroyed in September 2009February 2010


The reserve is admitted to the government's Higher Level Stewardship SchemeApril 2010

Extension to Visitor Centre completed. Second dipping pond completed but kept closed throughout the year to allow it to establishMarch 2011


Wheelchair ramp to the picnic area constructed. Major refurbishment of kitchen area in the Visitor Centre.October 2011


Work on Fish Pass finished.December 2012


First guided walk to the Fish Pass for the public.September 2013

Sand Martin Bank Project completed on LagoonFebruary 2014


Work completed on continuation of hard path from Willow Path Hide to Reedbed Hide.June 2014


Thatched gazebo constructed.November 2014


The Poplar Field and Poplar Carr are added to the land managed by the Reserve.March 2015


The Boxing Day Flood. Following 24 hours of continuous rain the river burst its banks, flooding much of the Reserve. Hedges were ripped out and the Dragonfly Ponds and Education Pond badly damaged. Thanks to an army of volunteers the Reserve was able to re-open on 6th January.December 2015

P1240069 reedbed hide and Tim's timeline smaller image 3

Poplar Field - the planting of 375 trees is completed and shrub planting (470) is startedFebruary 2016

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The new purpose built Lagoon and Reedbed Hides are opened to the public.May 2016

P1020976 new lagoon hide resized 300px

Rodley Robins - the new Saturday morning club for children holds its inaugural meeting.May 2016

P1090494 robins members having completed their bug hotels resized 300px

The first Leeds Birdfair takes place on the Reserve.June 2016

P1080557 birdfair general view resized 300px

Harvest Mouse Release Programme - a new release site is prepared on the Scrubland and the first release of 63 mice takes place.June 2016

P1030824 new harvest mice pens resized 300px

Reedbed - contractors are employed to dig out a large amount of reed from the Reedbed to keep the waterbodies open.December 2016

P1180186 reedbed 25th dec after cutting resized 300px

The Reserve is announced as winner of the BBC Countryfile Magazine Nature Reserve of the Year Award 20185th March 2018


Official opening of the new Manager's Garden Hide by Councillor David Blackburn on behalf of Green Leeds LtdMarch 2018

P1390411 Green Leeds opening of MG Hide no poles resized for timeline

A new hard path to the Manager's Garden is completed thanks to the generous support of the Co-op Community FundJuly 2018

P1070223 path to Manager's Garden for website timeline

Contractors clear out the badly silted ditches on the Wet Grassland using tracked vehiclesNovember 2018

P1070757 6th nov 2018 work commences resized for timeline

The Reserve is awarded Open Country's Good Access Award for 2018 for making the Reserve so accessible for visitors with disabilityDecember 2018

P1070963 Open Country award resized for timeline

Work on major improvements to toilet facilities completedJanuary 2019

Landscape Stewardship Award presented at Leeds Architectural Awards ceremonyFebruary 2019

A new hard path from the Reedbed Hide to the Dragonfly Ponds is completed thanks to the generous support of the Co-op Local Community FundJune 2019

Poplar Field Wildflower Meadow established2019

Coronavirus pandemic - Government restrictions introduced 24th March. Reserve in full lockdown. 11th July restricted re-opening with no access to Visitor Centre, facilities or hides until end of year2020

Reserve closed again from beginning of year until 31st March then re-opens but without access to Visitor Centre and hides. 26th June Visitor Centre and hides re-open2021

Visitors are able to watch live images from the Barn Owl nest box on the Scrubland on a monitor in the Visitor Centre for the first time2021

Despite the Reserve's closure work starts on a major redevelopment of the Duck Marsh on 8th March and finishes on 26th March2021

A new hard path from the public dipping ponds to the Willow Path is completed, again thanks to the generous support of the Co-op Local Community Fund2021

Timeline Block Title.November 2014

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