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Welcome to the Lower Ure Conservation Trust’s website.
LUCT is a small charity but with big successes; working hard to promote and support our local wildlife, whilst thinking big landscape scale. We manage Nosterfield Local Nature Reserve, generally acknowledged as North Yorkshire’s premier wetland grassland nature reserve.

Ospreys Overhead

© Whitefield Benson

The Lower Ure Conservation Trust is embarking on an ambitious programme to try to entice ospreys to breed in North Yorkshire.

The aim is to build a series of artificial nests in suitable locations in the catchment areas of the Rivers Ure and Swale to try to attract this iconic, fish-eating bird of prey.

The success of the species in Scotland since the late 1950s has been well documented.  Around 200 pairs now breed north of the border and since 2001, pairs have moved south into England to breed successfully in the Lake District and Northumberland; as well as those introduced to Rutland Water.

As a result, growing numbers of birds now migrate over North Yorkshire to and from their journeys to Africa.  The aim of the LUCT project is to provide the best possible condition for some of them to stay around during their immature years and then later, hopefully, breed.   Artificial nest sites could provide the key to making the county, in osprey terms, a family-friendly attraction.

In preparation for the initiative LUCT director Simon Warwick has traveled to Kielder Forest and spoken to those involved in a similar and successful scheme there….learning about nest construction, preferred sites and optimum conditions to attract ospreys, even down to painting the outer nest area white to replicate the ‘whitewash’ produced by growing chicks!

Two sites in North Yorkshire have already been identified and it is anticipated that possibly 6-8 man-made nests will be built in total, either on top of suitable trees or on specially-constructed platforms.

The locations will be kept secret to safeguard the security of any birds that are attracted.  However, the Trust is confident that one nest will be constructed in a more public area to allow, should breeding eventually take place, visitors to view the comings and goings.

Work on nest construction will begin in earnest in 2013.  Subsequently, it is anticipated that migratory ospreys will view them from their lofty vantage points before taking a closer inspection during other flights in following years.  This is a long term project which could take several years for any success to be judged.  However, the landowners approached so far have been supportive of the initiative and enthusiastic about the prospect of success.

LUCT was created to enhance areas of mineral extraction once production had been exhausted. And its track record in implementing practical conservation measures which produce exciting results is enviable.  The breeding at Nosterfield of avocet over the past four years and bittern in 2012 are two such successes for North Yorkshire.  Will osprey be the third, now that fishing opportunities in the region are also being expanded following mineral extraction?  It is, after all, rather good at that sort of thing! By Richard Wells

Regional News

Harrogate & District Naturalists’  Society Bird Report for 2010,

featuring Nosterfield LNR, is now SOLD OUT

The 2011 Bird Report is expected to be published in November, for more information please email Jill on 

Nosterfield LNR

Read about our Premier Wetland Grassland local nature reserve – click here