88) Sprotbrough Flash, Sprotbrough, Doncaster, DN5 7NB.
 
Sprotbrough Flash is a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve located half a mile south of the village of Sprotbrough, South Yorkshire. It is free to visit and to use the carpark on Nursery Lane.

You can park just off the road on Nursery Lane next to the river - please note that this can get very busy.
Alternative parking - please only park in the Boat Inn if you are to use it as a customer - there is a penalty parking notice that states none patrons will be charged! Patrons are asked to register their cars in the Boat Inn.
I spoke with the manager and asked if blue badge holders can park in the two disabled parking bays?
His answer was yes, for an unlimited time (up to midnight) so long as you enter your details on the parking notification for customers device in the Boat Inn, (obviously you would need to be a customer so perhaps a drink before and after or a meal! there).
From the small carpark or Boat Inn it is a two minute walk along the towpath to the nature reserve.
OS Map Reference SE53730 01502
what three words    blesses.loosed.inflating
Sprotborough Flash offers a mixed site with ancient woodland, a large lake and small area of grassland. The lake is home to birds of wetland and wet woodland like reed and sedge warblers, reed buntings and tufted ducks. The woods have patches of bluebells and violets.
The impressive diversity of wildlife found at Sprotbrough Flash results from the range of habitats which have developed on the unusual magnesian limestone bedrock. The nature reserve is located in the Don Gorge, where the River Don cuts through the elevated limestone ridge to the west of Doncaster.
The site protects fragments of ancient woodland on the slopes of the gorge, while wildlife-rich grassland can be found on the limestone plateau and a restored quarry site at the north end of the nature reserve.
The limestone woodland, protected within the nature reserve, is dominated by ash, wych elm and sycamore, with a varied shrub layer typical of this woodland type, with species such as hazel, spindle and guelder rose. There are some magnificent specimens of small-leaved lime and an avenue of mature yew, and the woodland immediately to the north west supports a nationally notable array of ancient woodland invertebrates. The wood is home to good populations of breeding woodland birds - all three species of woodpecker have been recorded here. In spring enjoy the woodland flowers like violets and bluebells
Small areas of limestone grassland occur on the plateau at the top of the wooded slopes, supporting a dizzying variety of specialist limestone wildflowers and insects. Over recent years the areas of this valuable habitat has been significantly increased through scrub removal and its condition has been enhanced by the introduction of conservation grazing, using traditional breeds of sheep.
Botanical highlights include good displays of cowslip, common spotted and pyramidal orchids, with common twayblade, bee orchid, carline thistle, quaking grass and autumn gentian among many others.
Brown hares can be seen on the grassland and dashing across the adjacent arable fields, while grass snakes are also a common sight basking on the grassland in the morning sun.
Amongst the bird highlights to enjoy are great crested grebes displaying in spring; birds around the flash during summer months include blackcaps, reed and sedge warblers, whilst ravens nest nearby and are seen flying over most days; autumn brings tufted duck and gadwall; and on winter days enjoy grey heron and
cormorants can be spied warming their wings.
 
Able visitors looking for a longer walk can climb up the side of the Don Gorge to reach ancient woodland and limestone grassland. If your are a wheelchair / power chair user do not try to leave the path after the second hide by taking the path to the right of the path - there are steps and so it is not suitable for wheels.
Facilities on site:
Limited and slightly unlevel parking (small carpark) on Nursery Lane, two blue badge bays at the Boat Inn - subject to being a patron of the pub.
Disabled and general toilets at the Boat Inn. There is also on street parking in the village of Sprotbrough though this is half a mile away and involves a hill, the pavement is narrow but wide enough for a mobility scooter / wheelchair, drop kerbs are provided.
Accessible route:
The accessible route is short, a 1.5 mile linear route- though you can extend this by heading either way along the well made path alongside the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation.
Terrain:
On path, then on a wide footpath along the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. Small sections on dirt path.
There is one viewing screen ( with disabled viewing) and two hides, both hides have viewing for disabled visitors to use.
Accessible route details:
From the carpark head towards the Boat Inn and take the path right along the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. The first viewing screen is reached very soon on your right. The two accessible viewing hides are located as you progress further along the obvious path. You just retrace your route back to your vehicle after you have finished your visit.
The hides provide shelter from the elements (roofed).
What might you see?
The lake is home to birds of wetland and wet woodland like reed and sedge warblers, reed buntings and tufted ducks. The hides are excellent places to observe kingfishers, egrets, herons, hunting.
Keep an eye too for raptors, during our visit we saw kestrel, buzzard, the lake has been visited by osprey.
Along the path do also look for the different types of insects that can be found here. You may also see mammals - we saw deer and voles.
Writers note:!
This is one of the best places I have ever visited to get accessible views of kingfisher's in the wild.
During our visit, we observed 4 being chased by hungry gulls after the small fish they had caught.
Of course nothing in nature is without luck - but over a historic period of time the hides have a good reputation. If you have time do check out St Mary's church and the old Refectory, the childhood home of the WW2 airman Group Captain Douglas Bader!!
The text below is taken from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website.
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