Rodley Nature Reserve has won a prestigious BBC Countryfile Magazine award – beating tough competition from some nationally renowned RSPB sites.
Volunteer-run Rodley took first place in the nature reserve category thanks to what judges described as ‘the evocative story of its incredible transformation’ from a water treatment works into a haven for wetland wildlife.
Rodley Nature Reserve trustee David Nesham said:
“We’re absolutely delighted. We never expected to be nominated and certainly never expected to win, especially as we were up against some very stiff competition – it’s been a real David versus Goliath contest against some big reserves.
“It’s a real fillip for the volunteers and the local community. We’d like to thank everyone who voted for us!”
What an incredible morning @RodleyNR – winners of the Countryfile Magazine Nature Reserve of the Year 2018 – fabulous recognition for the Reserve, it's volunteers and for our local community pic.twitter.com/coOjjgPTjK
— David Nesham (@rnrnesh) March 15, 2018
Judge Fergus Collins added his praise. He said:
“This is a massive triumph for the volunteers who maintain the site.
“Right on the edge of Leeds, this previously little-known wetland jewel brings the wild to a huge number of urban and suburban people as well as providing an important stop-over for migrant birds and crucial breeding habitat for wildfowl, amphibians and invertebrates.”
Fergus Collins, BBC Countryfile Magazine editor, said the awards received a high number of votes. He added:
“To have nearly 30,000 people vote in our awards shows how passionate they are about the British countryside.
“The shortlists, elected by readers and the BBC Countryfile Magazine judging panel, generated a completely fresh set of candidates in each category – and this created a huge amount of healthy debate during the voting period. I’d like to congratulate the 20 very worthy winners and runners up and thank everyone for taking part.”
The final shortlist of nature reserves also includes:
•RSPB Ham Wall in Somerset
•RSPB Arne in Dorset
•Clara Vale in Tyne and Wear and
•Loch Druidibeg, South Uist
Other Countryfile awards were for national parks, beaches, landmarks, gardens and others. A full list can be read here.