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Science & Nature Events

With nearly half the Harrogate District designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) it won’t surprise you that wildlife is everywhere when you visit Harrogate, Ripon and Nidderdale.

A Natural Haven

What better to way to learn about and experience the natural world than to be guided by experts who can take you right to the best places to see remarkable species?  Wetland bird reserves and peat moorlands guarantee a range of waders and while curlew and oyster catchers are reliable regulars, the passing migrations means a number of other rarities are frequently spotted.

Natural Science

The events organised across our beautiful and rural area do not just cover nature, but also the scientific topics of the natural world, including talks on the science and evolution of the landscape and its moorlands.

Dark Sky Events

Through the winter months there are frequent events offering visitors a greater understanding of the sky at night, and what to look out for. 

The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has fantastically dark skies that truly showcase the majesty of the night sky. 

A number of events take place through the year that includes talks and photography and knowledgeable experts who can introduce you to the sky.

Natural Wonder

With a number of ancient woods, many of which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the flora and habitats to be seen are wonderful.  In May, carpets of bluebells turn the woodland floor into a carpet of vivid blue, and a number of walks and events are held to allow people to enjoy this spectacular sight without worrying about finding the right wood at the right time.

Guided through Nature

Guided nature walks reveal the range of birds around the woods or moors with local experts sparing you the pressure of hastily flicking through the bird book to identify that bunting or plover. 

Instead you can enjoy the spectacle as sky larks and northern lapwings dive and swoop above you.  Alternatively the crueller side of nature can be glimpsed as peregrine falcons, buzzards and kites search for carrion and prey.

While you may find deer tracks in many of the local woods only those up early, or particularly lucky will see them out in the woods.  Deer walk events allow you to glimpse these graceful creatures up close, learn about how the herds are cared for and in autumn, witness the savage clash as the antlered male’s battle for supremacy.

Events are added to the pages all the time so if you’re visiting in the future be sure to check back soon.

Number of items:

Number of items: 31

Ongoing Events

  1. Pond dipping

    Add Pond dipping to your Itinerary

    Pond dipping

    Type

    Science

    Ripon

    Newts, water lice, water boatmen, molluscs, pea mussels... There’s an extraordinary world just waiting to be discovered hiding under the surface of the still ponds in the water garden. We’ll provide the nets, identification charts and the pots so you can see what you might find. Pop along to the...

    Dates

    From:
    15 Aug 2018 To 15 Aug 2018
    From:
    29 Aug 2018 To 29 Aug 2018
  2. Brimham Adventure at Brimham Rocks

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    Brimham Adventure at Brimham Rocks

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Pateley Bridge

    Do you feel lucky? Join the rangers for this lucky dip of activities. From making wild animal homes and den building to stick trails, what will be picked out of the hat?

    Meet at the car park

    Dates

    From:
    16 Aug 2018 To 16 Aug 2018
    From:
    23 Aug 2018 To 23 Aug 2018
    From:
    30 Aug 2018 To 30 Aug 2018
  3. Felt making at Swanley Grange

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    Felt making at Swanley Grange

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    Felt is one of the earliest forms of fabric. It’s produced using hot water, soap and friction to mat woollen fibres together. Come to Swanley to have a go at different kinds of felting, from needle felting to tramping on the cloth.

    Dates

    From:
    20 Aug 2018 To 2 Sep 2018
  4. Making felt bugs

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    Making felt bugs

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    Felt is made as wool fibres are pushed together using heat, water and pressure.  From a spider to a bumble bee, come and have a go at making a felt bug using the same process that the monks would have used in medieval times. Use soap and water to make your own felted bug!

    Dates

    From:
    20 Aug 2018 To 2 Sep 2018
  5. Mass for St Bernard

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    Mass for St Bernard

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    For Fountains Abbey St. Bernard of Clairvaux was an important figure. Bernard was a French abbot and monk who founded the Cistercian Order, and it was this order that the monks at Fountains chose to follow. To commemorate St. Bernard there will be a Mass held in the abbey. Everyone is welcome.

    Dates

    From:
    20 Aug 2018 To 20 Aug 2018
  6. Deer Watch Walk

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    Deer Watch Walk

    Type

    Walk

    Ripon

    Trot along to see if you can spot the deer. Can you see the difference between the Red, Sika and Fallow deer? Our knowledgable wildlife volunteers will be able to tell you all about them on this guided walk. Meet at the Visitor Centre.

    Dates

    From:
    21 Aug 2018 To 21 Aug 2018
    From:
    22 Sep 2018 To 22 Sep 2018
    From:
    20 Oct 2018 To 30 Oct 2018
    From:
    3 Nov 2018 To 3 Nov 2018
  7. Busy Bees

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    Busy Bees

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    Keeping bees is quite a craft, the monks would have made ‘skeps’ to keep bees for their honey and highly-prized wax for making candles, honeyed wines, mead and for sweetening food as they didn’t have sugar. Swanley Grange turn into a hive of activity for this weekend with fun activities to get...

    Dates

    From:
    25 Aug 2018 To 26 Aug 2018
  8. Wildlife Detectives

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    Wildlife Detectives

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Harrogate

    Get Wildlife Detecting this summer by joining wildlife expert Richard Baines out in the field looking for signs of animal habitation and their tracks.

    The event is run by The Wild Watch project operating in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Perfect for junior wildlife enthusiasts...

    Dates

    From:
    26 Aug 2018 To 26 Aug 2018
  9. Apple juicing at Swanley

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    Apple juicing at Swanley

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    We know the monks at Fountains Abbey produced ale and perhaps cider. Other monasteries in the country certainly did. Join in the apple juicing process and sample the delicious results from your hard work. We’re using apples from our orchard which are all northern varieties from the sixteenth...

    Dates

    From:
    22 Sep 2018 To 22 Sep 2018
    From:
    29 Sep 2018 To 29 Sep 2018
    From:
    20 Oct 2018 To 20 Oct 2018
    From:
    27 Oct 2018 To 27 Oct 2018
  10. The Galapagos: An Evening with Monty Halls

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    The Galapagos: An Evening with Monty Halls

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Harrogate

    Monty Halls is a broadcaster, speaker, naturalist, former Royal Marine, marine biologist, travel writer and leadership specialist. Earlier this year Monty returned to his favourite place on earth The Galápagos Islands but for the first time he was not adventuring there alone. His wife Tam and their...

    Dates

    From:
    28 Sep 2018 To 28 Sep 2018
  11. A Really Wild Evening with Sue Flood, Lucy Cooke and Miranda Krestovnikoff

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    A Really Wild Evening with Sue Flood, Lucy Cooke and Miranda Krestovnikoff

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Harrogate

    Join us for a great night out with 3 inspirational women in conversation, as they discuss their wildlife, nature and photography careers. Hear stories and anecdotes about life in the wild and discover why these intrepid women feel they have the best jobs in the world, not just another day at the...

    Dates

    From:
    29 Sep 2018 To 29 Sep 2018
  12. Wildlife & Safari Travel Show

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    Wildlife & Safari Travel Show

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Harrogate

    Step closer to the world of wildlife, safari and conservation travel.

    On 29-30 September 2018 the Wildlife & Safari Travel Show comes to the Harrogate Convention Centre. This is where your jaw drops. Meet the change makers, the conservationists and travel companies who will excite, educate and...

    Dates

    From:
    29 Sep 2018 To 29 Sep 2018
    From:
    30 Sep 2018 To 30 Sep 2018
  13. Walk on the monks' way

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    Walk on the monks' way

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    Step back in time and journey along the 7.5 mile historic route between Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks. Starting at Fountains Abbey visitor centre you will follow your guide through the beautiful Yorkshire landscape. Bring a packed lunch as there will be a chance to stop and munch along the way....

    Dates

    From:
    30 Sep 2018 To 30 Sep 2018
  14. Fountains by Floodlight

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    Fountains by Floodlight

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Ripon

    Experience something truly special this autumn as you explore the illuminated ruins of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water gardens. Listen to a live performance from the choir and join an evening guided tour, you might even catch a glimpse of our mysterious roving monk. 

    £10 adult, £5...

    Dates

    From:
    6 Oct 2018 To 6 Oct 2018
    From:
    13 Oct 2018 To 13 Oct 2018
    From:
    20 Oct 2018 To 20 Oct 2018
    From:
    26 Oct 2018 To 26 Oct 2018
    From:
    27 Oct 2018 To 27 Oct 2018
    From:
    2 Nov 2018 To 2 Nov 2018
    From:
    3 Nov 2018 To 3 Nov 2018
  15. Red Kites in Yorkshire with Doug Simpson MBE

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    Red Kites in Yorkshire with Doug Simpson MBE

    Type

    Lecture

    Ripon

    Since the year 2000, Red Kites have become an increasingly popular sight over the towns and villages around Markenfield – it is not unusual to hear their crystal-clear above the Courtyard, and they are regular followers of the tractor as it ploughs the fields out towards Markington.

    But where did...

    Dates

    From:
    10 Oct 2018 To 10 Oct 2018
  16. Fountains Night Run

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    Fountains Night Run

    Type

    Walk

    Ripon

    Lace those trainers and light those head torches and come for a run around Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal at night.

    Come and join us for another night run here at Fountains Abbey. Get ready for an enjoyable 5k run, which will take you straight past the abbey and through the water gardens.

    Dates

    From:
    16 Oct 2018 To 16 Oct 2018
  17. Autumn Drive through

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    Autumn Drive through

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    Drive into a magical scene of Fountains at night, see the glowing abbey and finish with a warming drink. It’s just for cars and minibuses so it’s great for people who might be less steady on their feet. As it’s a drive-through you’ll need to stay in your car. If you’d like to come and explore the...

    Dates

    From:
    4 Nov 2018 To 4 Nov 2018
  18. Preserving at Swanley Grange

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    Preserving at Swanley Grange

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    The monks would have preserved as much food as possible to tide them over the winter. Come and see the original medieval recipe cooked on an outside fire at Swanley and taste the results.

    Dates

    From:
    17 Nov 2018 To 17 Nov 2018
  19. Winter bird walk

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    Winter bird walk

    Type

    Gardens

    Ripon

    A 2 mile walk around the estate to see the birds that make Fountains their home in winter time.

    Dates

    From:
    17 Nov 2018 To 17 Nov 2018
  20. Fountains Hall 1930s christmas

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    Fountains Hall 1930s christmas

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    Make your own paper chain or snowflake decoration, challenge your family to a game of snakes and ladders, dress up as they would have done, delve your hand into a stocking to see what you would have received on Christmas morning.

    Dates

    From:
    24 Nov 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
  21. Music and Lights

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    Music and Lights

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    Here at Fountains we're getting into the Christmas spirit and have just the thing to enjoy on a chilly winter weekend: glowing lights, festive music and delicious food and drink. Come and join us!

    Dates

    From:
    24 Nov 2018 To 25 Nov 2018
    From:
    1 Dec 2018 To 2 Dec 2018
    From:
    8 Dec 2018 To 8 Dec 2018
    From:
    15 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
    From:
    22 Dec 2018 To 23 Dec 2018
  22. The Nativity trail

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    The Nativity trail

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    Follow the stars to discover scenes of the nativity by the abbey and in the garden. Discover wooden sculptures of the nativity scenes created by local artist, Shane Green.

    Dates

    From:
    24 Nov 2018 To 7 Jan 2019
  23. Christmas floristry workshops

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    Christmas floristry workshops

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    Join one of our workshops to create a wreath on the theme of 'rich berry colours'.

    Award winning florist Joanna, from Twisted Willow, will be providing expert tuition on how to make your own wreath at these workshops. Using estate foliage. For those who wish to create a table decoration,...

    Dates

    From:
    3 Dec 2018 To 3 Dec 2018
    From:
    4 Dec 2018 To 4 Dec 2018
  24. Festive Christmas Lunches

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    Festive Christmas Lunches

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    Tuck into a delicious festive lunch with family, friends or colleagues this December.

    Choose from a two or three course traditional lunch menu and add tea or coffee with a mince pie for an extra treat. Make a day of it by taking a leisurely walk around the beautiful grounds and visit the shop...

    Dates

    From:
    3 Dec 2018 To 20 Jan 2019
  25. On the hoof

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    On the hoof

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    Trot along to St Mary's Church to watch the wild deer munching through their winter feed. Can you spot the difference between the Red, Sika and Fallow deer? Our deer ranger will give you some pointers and you'll learn about their job managing the wild herd. Meet outside St Mary’s Church in the deer...

    Dates

    From:
    8 Dec 2018 To 9 Dec 2018
    From:
    15 Dec 2018 To 16 Dec 2018
  26. Boxing Day Pilgrimage

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    Boxing Day Pilgrimage

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    The service begins in Ripon Cathedral at 9.30am and the pilgrimage makes its way to the abbey where the service continues from approx. 12 noon.

    On a cold day in 1132, thirteen monks walked from Ripon to a completely deserted valley by the River Skell. There they started their own community...

    Dates

    From:
    9 Dec 2018 To 9 Dec 2018
  27. Carols by Candlelight

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    Carols by Candlelight

    Type

    Traditional

    Ripon

    As Christmas fast approaches it’s time for our annual family carol service. Pick up a candle on your way in and see the flickering glow of nearly 1,000 candles light up the abbey cellarium. Grab a mulled wine or a hot chocolate and have a sing-a-long to all your favourite traditional carols. It's...

    Dates

    From:
    9 Dec 2018 To 9 Dec 2018
  28. The Settlers Society Exhibition

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    The Settlers Society Exhibition

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Ripon

    Discover the little known history of the Settlers Society at Fountains Hall. The boys camp was created by Commander Vyner, owner of the Fountains Abbey estate in the 1930s, to offer an escape to young men from Tyneside from the effects of the Great Depression. Learn about the personal histories of...

    Dates

    From:
    1 Mar 2018 To 28 Oct 2018
  29. Folly! Art in the garden

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    Folly! Art in the garden

    Type

    Wildlife/Nature

    Ripon

    There’s art in the garden but it’s not paintings, and it’s not in a gallery…The artworks are in the garden and they’re just for fun - we call them follies. Pick up a free map at the entrance gate to explore this years exhibits.

    Four striking and surprising new artworks will emerge into the...

    Dates

    From:
    28 Apr 2018 To 4 Nov 2018
  30. Discovering the Fountains Abbey Settlers Society

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    Discovering the Fountains Abbey Settlers Society

    Type

    Walk

    Ripon

    Join a talk at Fountains Hall and take a short walk up to the site of huts. Help bring the stories of the settler boys to life.

    Dates

    From:
    22 Jul 2018 To 30 Sep 2018
  31. Weaving at Swanley Grange

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    Weaving at Swanley Grange

    Type

    Science

    Ripon

    Weaving is a way of producing cloth by interlacing yarns at right angles. There are many methods of doing this. Come and look at the different looms we have for you to experiment on.

    Dates

    From:
    6 Aug 2018 To 19 Aug 2018

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