Surveying the Dearne

This project will aim to gain a greater understanding of key environmental sites across the Dearne, in order that they can be protected, preserved and enhanced for the future.

There will be two stages to the project:

  • Community led engagement activities to better understand key sites looking at both the heritage and wildlife.
  • Surveys bringing together experts and the local community to develop more detailed knowledge of key sites.

The Project

This project will aim to gain a greater understanding of key environmental sites across the Dearne, in order that they can be protected, preserved and enhanced for the future. These sites will fall into three broad categories:

  • Former colliery, industrial and associated sites
  • Roadside verges
  • Woodlands

Community Led Engagement

There will be a focus on “citizen science” environmental engagement and surveys of key sites in the Dearne, bringing experts together with the local community. It will develop the skills and knowledge of local people. It will also create a sustainable record of the rich biodiversity and heritage of the Dearne Valley. There will be community based surveys led by specialists who will equip local people with the skills and knowledge to learn more about the sites and have the skills to carry out further surveys on their own.

Detailed Surveys

As part of the second phase more detailed work will be carried out through partners and by commissioning a specialist team of consultants. They will carry out detailed surveys and continue to engage with the local community.


Former Colliery, Industrial and Associated Sites

South Yorkshire once hosted over 30 deep mines, with the majority being in the Dearne Valley. These have been restored and reclaimed with varying degrees of success over recent years. This has led to a large area of land, not suitable for development that is part of the Dearne Valley’s growing natural resource. Many of these sites are now public resources, at the heart of the community and are actively used by a range of people. Due the various approaches taken with the reclamation of colliery sites (some of it man made, some of it through nature) it has resulted in a wide and often unexpected range of species being found. This project will help capture the sheer range and variety but also understand why they are there as a result of the various land reclamation methods. This mosaic of sites is considered to be very rare in the country and increasingly uncommon in South Yorkshire.

Roadside Verges

There are verges throughout the area, often overlooked but they do form mini nature reserves, in many cases the only nature in some areas. They can provide wildlife and biodiversity refuges and act as wildlife corridors connecting more established and recognisable habitats. They can be home to rare species as well as intensive amounts of species. The verges are often long established, being the last vestiges of long lost landscapes. In many cases they have escaped the pesticides used on farmland, leaving them as safe habitats for a range of flora and fauna.


The Dearne has a wealth of significant, valuable and varied woodlands ranging from ancient woodlands to contemporary planting. Through the involvement of local communities in bringing under-managed or neglected woodland back into sustainable management this will help protect and enhance the Dearne Valley’s natural environment. An important element is supporting local people and partners in developing and interpreting several key priority woodland sites, based on their historical and/or biodiversity richness. This will increase the public and local communities understanding, use and enjoyment of these natural and valuable resources.


All News, Press Releases and Events relating to this Project are listed below

Locations in the Dearne

All locations that are affected by this project are as follows: