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Club draws attention to plastic marine pollution at Sandsend

Graham Oliver at Sandsend

Graham Oliver speaks to 'That's North Yorkshire TV' about the Sandsend plastic marine pollution [above].
Close up of some of the plastic filaments [below]

Close up of some of the plastic filaments

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.


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.

Raithwaite Planning Proposal - update. Scarborough Council has now received a revised planning application proposing the development of a holiday village at Raithwaite near Whitby with even more buildings than the previous rejected application. The Club is preparing a new set of comments about this revision [Club comments on the rejected application].

Photographic Competition 2018. Now in its sixth 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 2018. E-mail your entries to photocompetition2018 <at> whitbynaturalists.co.uk.

Forthcoming Events

Outdoor Meetings & Workshops Programme for 2018. Click here for full downloadable programme.

Seashore Bioblitz. Leaders. Organized by CoCoast and the YNU. Location. Saltwick Bay. Meet on grass parking area outside Whitby Holiday Park [NZ915107]. Date. Sunday 1 April 2018. Time. 10.00. Notes. Low water 0.99 m at 11.38. Contact. Jane Pottas [seashore<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Geology Walk. Leader. Tim Burnhill. Location. West Cliff to Sandsend. Meet at the bandstand on the west pier]. Date. Monday 16 April 2018. Time. 10.00. Notes. A gentle walk along the beach from Whitby to Sandsend visiting faults, Jurassic rivers, and glacial rafts on the way. Low water is 11.15. Contact. Tim Burnhill [tjburnhill<at>gmail.com].

Spring flowers & birds. Leaders. Wendy English & Graham Oliver. Location. Cock Mill Wood. Meet at south end of viaduct, [NZ897088] Parking off Larpool Lane. Date. Tuesday 24 April 2018. Time. 09.30. Notes. A circular walk in ancient woodland when spring flowers are in full flower, and birds are vocal. Contacts. Wendy English [plants<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk] & Graham Oliver [g.h.oliver<at>btinternet.com.

Less Mobile Group. Captain Cook in Staithes. Leader. Mike Yates. Location. Staithes. Arrange transport/pick up through Laura or Mike. Date. Tuesday 1 May 2018. Time. 14.00. Notes. An outing to enjoy Staithes. Contact. Laura Smith [telephone number on printed programme] & Mike Yates [telephone number on printed programme].

Veteran trees of Castle Hill Deer Park. Leader. Brian Walker. Location. Meet at the entrance to Waterloo Plantation on the A170, 3 miles W of Helmsley [SE584815]. Date. Thursday 3 May 2018. Time. 13.00. Notes. Following his winter talk, Brian has agreed to show us the ancient oak and lime trees on a private SSSI managed by the Forestry Commission. Contact. Wendy English [plants<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Spring fungus foray. Leaders. David Minter. Location. Near Danby. Meet on the sharp bend N of Danby [NZ470509]. Date. Saturday 12 May 2018. Time. 14.00. Notes. Peter Woods has invited us to explore his woodland, which has a variety of trees and spring flowers as well as fungi. There will be the opportunity to examine specimens with microscopes afterwards in Whitby. Booking essential. Contact. David Minter [fungi<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Outdoor meeting. Natural history walk from Birk Brow. Leader. Marian Brockway. Location. Meet Birk Brow car park [NZ659149]. Date. Sunday 20 May 2018. Time. 10.00. Notes. A circular walk through various habitats including, moorland, farmland and Margrave Pools. Bring a packed lunch. Contact. Marian Brockway [md.brockway<at>yahoo.co.uk].

Chlorosplenium aeruginascens on wood

Chlorosplenium aeruginascens on wood

The beautiful blue-green ascomata of Chlorosplenium aeruginascens on decorticated wood near Grosmont, seen during the Club's annual autumn foray, 8 October 2017 [photo David Minter].