New wildlife centre could be established in Nidderdale AONB

Architects visualisation of the new wildlife centre, credit Group Ginger
Architects visualisation of the new wildlife centre, credit Group Ginger

A new wildlife centre could be constructed on the shoreline of Gouthwaite Reservoir.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has submitted an application to establish ‘Gouthwaite Wildlife Centre’ at Colt House Bridge Car Park near Ramsgill.

Currently a viewing platform is open to the public there and provides views of the area and wildlife, including Skylarks, Kingfishers and Mallards. It is believed the development could provide a boost for tourism and educational opportunities.

Bernie Higgins of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: “When we were looking at plans for this part of it was for holding works so people who are even just passing by can enjoy the reservoir, understand why it is there while learning about the birds and find out what else they can do in the area.”

She added: “When people bring out their kids they will be able to take in the area then find out what they can do next.”

Designs of the centre include a bird watching area, offering 180 degree views of the reservoir and wetlands. The existing platform will however be kept but extended towards the south of its current position.

Ownership and project management of the centre will be taken on by the Trust but the proposal is part of a long-term effort by the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership.

Headed by Nidderdale AONB they aim to create opportunities for learning about the environment and wildlife across the area.

Iain Mann, AONB Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership Scheme Manager said: “We are conscious that there isn’t anywhere in the Area of Natural Beauty that tells people about the wildlife.

“What we hope is to have something in place that informs people of how important the area is for wildlife.

“I think that there is also a big economic opportunity here by introducing a new attraction to Nidderdale that people enjoy to visit. When people like an area for this reason it can have a big knock-on effect.”

Funding through the National Heritage Lottery has paid for expenses including architectural and concept drawings.

To establish the centre developers will need close to £100,000, the Trust will be leading efforts to apply for funds to pay for this.