Bridge at the lower Redmires Reservoir footpath to encourage appropriate access. Photo: Steph Wood

Making nature more accessible at Redmires

Wildlife volunteers have been helping make it easier for people to get closer to nature at Redmires Reservoirs, a popular-but-nature-sensitive beauty spot in the Sheffield Lakeland region, thanks to funding from Yorkshire Water.

Working with Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and their dedicated volunteers, Yorkshire Water have invested more than £40,000 at the well-loved location so visitors may see the wonderful wildlife which depends on the habitat around the reservoirs – including the endangered water vole – in an appropriate way.

Water Vole eating grass on bank of wetland. © Terry Whittaker / 2020 Vision

A management plan has been co-written with the Trust to allow nature space to thrive, while keeping appropriate access in mind. Part of this plan included the creation of a new footpath around the Lower Reservoir, allowing the Upper and Middle Reservoirs to remain a quiet sanctuary for wildlife with no public access off the permissive routes.

Keith Tomkins, Programme Manager at Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said:

“As part of our joined-up working, Yorkshire Water have invested £43,000 at Redmires Lower Reservoir on improving the footpath condition and installing a bridge to create a brand-new permissive footpath.

“In addition to this, works continue to improve and create new water vole habitat on the moorland. Water voles are our most rapidly declining mammal due to habitat degradation and predation by the American mink. However, Redmires is believed to be one of the last historic strongholds of water vole in the Sheffield District and it’s important we all help protect them.”

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust volunteers stand on the newly installed bridge at the lower Redmires Reservoir footpath to encourage appropriate access. Photo: Steph Wood

Fifty of Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s volunteers contributed a staggering 578 hours of their time to this work and the Trust has engaged with more than 600 visitors, helping them make the most of this popular and sensitive site.

Philip Tennyson, Yorkshire Water Countryside and Recreation Advisor, said: 

“Working in partnership with Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust has allowed us to think holistically about the site to improve the space for people and wildlife. 

“I’d like to thank the volunteers who have dedicated their time, because without their hard work and dedication we wouldn’t have been able to do it. A huge thanks also to the Heritage Fund and Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust for their support making Redmires a better home for nature and a better destination for visitors.

“We hope visitors enjoy the new footpath and, if they’re lucky, get to see a water vole feeding in the ditches around the reservoirs. We are asking visitors to make sure to stick to the footpaths and keep your dog on a short lead, as the water voles and upland birds are very sensitive to disturbance.”