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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].

Bee keeping stone, Moor Lane Woodlands, 4 May 2019

Bee keeping stone

This stone, which is now part of an old drystone wall within woodlands, was apparently used in some way for bee keeping. If anyone knows any more about such stones, the Club Chairman would be interested learn.

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.

Propolis farinosa on wood of ash, Moor Lane Woodlands, 4 May 2019

Propolis farinosa on wood of ash, Moor Lane Woodlands, 4 May 2019

This little cup fungus, seen during the Club's Spring Foray, is not rare, but easily overlooked, producing white ascomata deeply embedded in woody substrata of various plants.


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

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

The 'Big Forest Find'. Leader. Wendy English. Location. Deepdale. Date. Saturday 20 July 2019. Time. TBA. Notes. The Club is participating in this Forestry Commission event, together with naturalists from other local natural history groups. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

Botany, butterflies and seashore. Leaders. Wendy English & Jane Pottas. Location. Skinningrove. Meet at parking area by the shore west of the village [NZ714201]. Date. Sunday 21 July 2019. Time. 10.00. Notes. A morning walk to view the outstanding flora and special buterflies of this area, with a seashore search after a picnic lunch by the shore. A joint meeting with the Cleveland Naturalists. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com] or Jane Pottas [seashore<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Pannett Day. Leaders. Various Club Members. Location. Pannett Park, Whitby. Date. Wednesday 24 July 2019. Time. 11.00. Notes. Family fun in Pannett Park, organized by Friends of Pannett Park. The Club will have a stand with microscopes, and will run a quiz and a nature walk. Contact. Alan Ritson [insects<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Wildlife survey. Leader. Wendy English. Location. May Beck. Meet at May Beck car park [NZ892024]. Date. Friday 26 & Saturday 27 July 2019. Time. 21.00 [Friday] & 06.30 [Saturday]. Notes. This is the Forestry Commission’s centenary year, and the theme of their celebration is the “Big Forest Find”. Our open event (originally planned for 17-18 May, but postponed because of bad weather) will include moth trapping, bat detecting, small mammal trapping and bird ringing in the evening and early morning with Club Recorders. The Friday evening survey will involve a moth lamp and bat detectors. The plan is to stay until late evening, an opportunity for Club Members to experience the forest at night, and see some of the diverse moths that will be attracted to the lamp. On the Saturday morning, mammal traps left out overnight will be checked, to find which small mammals inhabit the area. A moth trap will also be left running overnight, and moths caught will be examined and released. In addition to observing any birds using the area, a bird ringing station will be set up. Members are welcome to observe these events which will all take place near the car park. Contact. Wendy English [wendy.english<at>btopenworld.com].

Nature up close workshop. Leaders. Various Club Members. Location. Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Grape Lane, Whitby. Date. Tuesday 6 August. Time. Drop in anytime from 11.00 to 16.00. Notes. The second 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].

Geology at Staithes. Leader. Tim Burnhill. Location. Meet at Staithes Harbour [NZ784189]. Date. Thursday 15 August 2019. Time. 10.00. Notes. Visiting east Staithes, Penny Nab and Jet Wyke to look at the Staithes sandstone and Cleveland ironstone formations. The ironstone seams are particularly well developed in this section, which is an SSSI. Bring a packed lunch, or find lunch lunch afterwards in Staithes. Contact. Tim Burnhill [tjburnhill<at>gmail.com].

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 CoCost 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].