Originally penned the 'West Riding Consolidated Naturalist Society' and at time when Northern England was a hotbed of Victorian wildlife research, the Yorkshire Naturalists Union (YNU) was formed in 1861. It was the first organised naturalist society in the UK with the main interest of its members being entomology (the study of insects) and in particular butterflies. Elsewhere, with Charles Darwin's 'Origins of Species' published around the same time (1859), suddenly everyody seemed to be interested in the natural world with groups and societies, especially to do with botany and entomology, springing up in just about every town in the country with meetings, publications and field trips becoming a new trend. Many of these groups survive to the present day -  commonly termed 'Naturalist Societies' or 'Field Naturalists'

Still going strong today, the Yorkshire Naturalists Union is a well established association of amateur and professional naturalists from across the county, with many special interest groups that cover just about every niche of natural history. Membership provides access to their publications and group events. They also act as a focal point and umbrella organisation for the various natural history societies in Yorkshire.

Naturalist societies are a far cry from the stuffy, research and study groups of the Victorian era. Dont be put off by their names - they welcome new members of any age or experience and are a great way of getting to grips with the local flora and fauna of your area. Here's a list of all the naturalist societies in Yorkshire (please let me know if I've missed any)

Yorkshire Naturalists Union website


Yorkshire's Wildlife Sites

All of the nature reserves, SSSIs and local sites

Yorkshire Nature Notes

The blog, personal reflections and Yorkshire banter!