Help wetland wildlife with a Knittern

by Handy Mag
Published: Last Updated on

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have published a characterful bittern knitting pattern known as a Knittern to raise funds for their wetland reserves.

Created, tried and tested by the Trust, the adorable leggy creation will appeal to all wildlife watchers, and make a delightful addition to any crafted menagerie. 

The pattern and more information can be downloaded from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website and knitters are kindly asked to make a donation in return to the Trust’s Wilder Wetlands campaign.

Bitterns belong to the heron family and are more often heard than seen as they skulk and are well camouflaged in reedbeds. Their distinctive booming call may be heard early in the morning as it carries across the water. Bitterns have made an incredible comeback in recent years and there are now 20 pairs across Yorkshire. However their future is far from certain; in the last 100 years, 90% of UK wetlands have been lost, putting bitterns and other wildlife at risk.

Jo Rawson, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Community Engagement Manager added; “People love bitterns because they represent a success story of our wetlands after nearly going extinct in England twenty years ago. But thanks to work on our reserves and across the region, they’ve found a home back in Yorkshire over the last few years.

However, the future of bitterns and other wetland wildlife is still far from certain and we urgently need funds to care for these wetland places which are at risk from climate change, pollution and development.”  

Kay Perthen, a member of the Propagansey Knitting Group in Whitby tested the pattern for the Trust and added; “This was such a gorgeous knit, our knitting group loved it, and the rather cute bird with knotted knees on long legs, has flown firmly into our hearts.”

The Trust’s Potteric Carr nature reserve and visitor centre in Doncaster is home to several bitterns and will be the venue for a gallery of finished knitterns. Knitters are invited to send the Trust a colour photo of their completed knittern by Monday 9th January 2023. In return they will be given two free entry tickets to the reserve, the opportunity to see their bittern in the gallery and to vote for their favourite. The gallery will be open from 2nd February, World Wetlands Day. The winner with the most votes will win a box of wildlife goodies from the reserve’s shop.

The Trust cares for 25 wetland sites across the county but they are the Trust’s most challenging reserves where water levels can be adjusted and specialist equipment and support is needed. Lake margins need to be maintained to provide habitat and prevent reserves from drying out. It costs over a £100,000 every year to ensure these unique and vital places remain protected and open for people to enjoy.

To download your bittern ‘Knittern’ pattern, go to

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