New Earswick was founded in 1902 by the Rowntrees, the same family now remembered for their chocolate factory. Like the Cadbury’s at Bourneville, Salt at Saltaire, and Lever at Port Sunlight, they had a social conscience that led to founding a ‘model village’. I’ll talk more about them and the village in future posts.
The nature reserve was established in 1948, and by 1953 had a management committee overseeing operations. Remarkably, at least one or two people who worked on the reserve then are still involved now).
The central feature of the reserve is the pond, and this formed naturally as the clay pits filled with water.
From 1902 to 1933 these clay pits were used to create the bricks and tiles that created the houses of the original village. Today nearly all the works are gone, though the odd foundation of a structure can be found amongst the trees and shrubs.
The reserve is not open access, and residents have to apply to get a key. There are however open days several times a year.
Records have been kept of much of the wildlife that has been recorded on-site, and over the next year I’ll talk more about that. I’ll also be recording what I see, and posting more on the history. I hope it proves an interesting series within the blog.