Welcome to the website of the Whitby Naturalists' Club.

Important notice This is a temporary website produced as an emergency response to problems being experienced with the Club's service provider. Only this one page, with most basic information about the Club, is currently available, and please note that some hyperlinks to other webpages of the Club may not work. The Club's webmaster hopes a more extensive range of pages will be available again by early October 2019.

Club Projects

Greening the Cinder Track. The Club has been awarded funding for tree planting along the Cinder Track, starting October 2019 [click here for more information].

Brimstone butterfly

Wendy English's prize-winning photograph of a brimstone butterfly.

Buckthorn for Brimstones. This project, which got off to a great start in early 2019, aims to plant your alder buckthorn plants in strategic areas around Whitby and the Esk Valley. Alder buckthorn is a native British tree which is at its northernmost limit here. The brimstone butterfly is dependent on it, and the Club hopes that by increasing alder buckthorn populations, the brimstone can be encouraged to spread north over the moors.Thanks to the efforts of Wendy Holliday and Wendy English, the Club won the Conservation Award at the North York Moors Association AGM on 15th June 2019. For further information see the project information sheet.

Wendy Holliday receiving conservation award

Presentation of 2019 Conservation Award to Wendy Holliday, representing Whitby Naturalists’ Club, by Tom Chadwick, Chair of NYMA.

About the Club

Welcome to the homepage of the Whitby Naturalists' Club, which celebrated its centenary in 2013. The purposes of the Club are to study, promote interest in and conserve natural history, local history and archaeology, particularly in relation to the Whitby area. Membership is open to anyone with a genuine interest in these topics, and new members are very welcome [how to join]. Existing members range in skill and experience from interested beginners to specialists in their chosen field. Club Special Interest Groups cover amphibia & reptiles, archaeology, birds, freshwater fish, fungi, geology, insects (Lepidoptera), insects (other), local history, mammals, microbes & protists, other invertebrates, plants, sea & shore life, and weather. The Club has a President, Executive Officers and an Executive Committee appointed in accordance with its Rules (downloadable PDF file). It produces an annual report, maintains a library of books, maps, films and tapes, and organizes the following activities:


Environmental conservation. The Club's Conservation Subcommittee provides its focal point for issues relating to environmental conservation.


Exhibition of specimens. From time to time, the Club organizes displays at local village shows and similar events. For the Club's centenary, there was a display of artefacts and publications relating to the Club itself over the one hundred years of its existence, and a full-scale exhibition devoted to the Fungi. At the start of a new centenary for the Club, there are plans for another exhibition.


Field meetings and visits to places of interest. Field meetings and visits to places of interest are organized, often in connexion with themes of the lecture programme. Most field meetings occur in spring, summer and autumn.


Lectures. Between October and late February with a break in December, there is a programme of illustrated lectures every Saturday afternoon in the Normanby Room at the Whitby Museum in Pannett Park. Meetings start at 2.0 pm and normally finish at about 3.30 pm. Each Special Interest Group is covered, and lectures are given by members and external specialists. Visitors to these meetings are welcome (a contribution of £2 is invited).


Recording. The Club has an active programme of recording natural history, local history and archaeology, particularly of the Whitby area. Observations relating to these topics can be submitted to the relevant Special Interest Group [how to submit records]. Selected records are published in the Club's Annual Report. Recorders responsible for biological records collectively form the Recorders' Subcommittee.


Workshops. One- and two-day workshops are organized from time to time on a range of naturalist themes. Details of each workshop are posted on the Programme page at least 4 weeks prior to it taking place.

The Club is also affiliated to a range of other associations and societies. Information about those affiliations is shown on the Library page of this website.


GREAT WORKSHOP COMING UP. There will be a Club workshop at Sleights Village Hall on 16 October 2019. It will deal with new ecological monitoring techniques. Booking essential. Numbers limited. For more information, please contact Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

Club Positions Vacant. The Club's Recorder for Microbes & Protists has stood down. The Club's Fungi Recorder is covering these groups until a replacement can be found. If you are interested in being Recorder for these organisms, please contact the Club's Secretary. The Club is still looking for a Press & Publicity Officer. Anyone willing to help should contact the Club's Secretary.

Photographic Competition 2019. Now in its seventh year. Two main prizes: for best photograph overall, and for best photograph by a Junior Member. Click here for the competition rules. The closing date is 31 December 2019. E-mail your entries to photocompetition_2019 <at> whitbynaturalists.co.uk.

Forthcoming Events

NEW Winter Programme for 2019-2020. Click here for full downloadable programme.

Workshops and Outdoor Activities Programme for 2019. Click here for full downloadable programme.

Nature up close workshop. Leaders. Various Club Members. Location. Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Grape Lane, Whitby. Date. Tuesday 20 August. Time. Drop in anytime from 11.00 to 16.00. Notes. The third of three workshops for kids exploring how scientists on Captain Cook's expeditions might have seen nature with today's equipment. Organized jointly with the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. Contact. David Minter [fungi<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Birds in migration time. Leader. Jeremy Snape. Location. RSPB Saltholme. Arrange car sharing through Jeremy. Date. Saturday 7 September 2019. Time. 10.30. Notes. A full day visit to the RSPB reserve, where Jeremy regularly works as a hide guide. Afternoon visit to seal viewing point at Greatham Creek. Excellent café with a view of the lake, or picnic lunch. Contact. Jeremy Snape [jeremy_snape<at>hotmail.com].

Bats & moths. Leaders. Wendy English and Graham Featherstone. Location. Grosmont. Meet at the National Park car park [NZ826055]. Date. Friday 13 September 2019. Time. 19.45. Notes. A bat walk by the river, followed by moth identification in the car park. Cleveland Bat Group are loaning us bat detectors, so everyone will have a chance to listen to bat calls. Bring a torch. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

Pebbles on the beach. Leaders. Tony Kearsley. Location. Meet at Boggle Hole slipway [NZ955040]. Date. Tuesday 17 September 2019. Time. 10.45. Notes. Explore the origins and the journeys made by a sample of the pebbles found on the beach at Boggle Hole. Coffee in the YHA café afterwards. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

Great British beach clean. Leaders. Organized in association with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Location. Saltwick Bay. Meet at top of path to beach [NZ915108]. Date. Sunday 22 September 2019. Time. 10.00. Notes. All rubbish is analysed to inform marine conservation. Meet top of path to beach [NZ915108]. Limited parking. Bring protective gloves. Coffee afterwards in Holiday Park café. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

River walk beside the Esk. Leaders. Roger Payn. Location. Danby. Meet at the Moors Centre pay & display car park [NZ716084]. Date. Wednesday 25 September 2019. Time. 10.30. Notes. Roger is a water bailiff for this stretch of river. He will explain river features, good areas for salmon spawning, and the effect of the pearl mussel project. Some stiles and uneven ground. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

Seashore. Leaders. Organised by CoCoast and the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union. Location. Runswick Bay. Meet in the lower pay & display car park [NZ809159]. Date. Saturday 28 September 2019. Time. 08.30. Notes. Club Members welcome. Contact. Jane Pottas [seashore<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Wendy Holliday presents the Buckthorn for Brimstones project

Wendy Holliday giving a talk about the Buckthorn for Brimstones project after receiving the NYMA 2019 Conservation Award.