image for Museum item typeThe Extraordinary World of Charles Waterton at Wakefield Museum

The Extraordinary World of Charles Water




Wakefield One,
Burton Street,

Events at this Venue

date event
Sat 2 Feb - Wed 25 Sep Playmakers On Tour: Horbury Sports Specialists
Sat 22 Jun - Sun 29 Sep Creature Creations
Sat 6 Jul - Sat 4 Jul Gateway to Eternity
Thu 19 Sep Find Your Passion: Handmade Paper With Papyrus
Sat 21 Sep Family Fun
Sat 28 Sep Family Fun


Visitors to Wakefield Museum can take a trip to the extraordinary world of Charles Waterton - a pioneering Victorian eco-warrior, explorer and Yorkshireman.

Waterton's interest in wildlife seems to have started when he travelled to Guyana and Brazil where he saw exotic species such as chameleons, lemurs, sunbirds and alligators. When he returned to Walton Hall, Wakefield, in 1820 he dedicated his life to observing and protecting the local wildlife, and created what is said to be the world's first nature reserve.

He built a stone wall stretching over 3 miles around the Walton Hall Estate to keep poachers out and the wildlife in. To encourage more birdlife he planted trees and left hollow tree trunks and branches for nesting birds like barn owls. Artificial nest boxes (again, another world's first!) were built for owls, sand martins, jackdaws and starlings. He bought a telescope to watch wild birds and Wakefield Museum is now home to Waterton’s collection of preserved animals – some of which are made up from different animal parts! See exotic birds, monkeys, a snake, anteater and sloth. The star attraction being the amazing Cayman crocodile which he rode ashore in South America!

The Waterton collection is on loan from Stonyhurst College.

Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsAccepts groups

Children welcomeDisabled accessSmoking not allowed



See location of Wakefield Museum on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SE 330209  Lat: 53.68351 Long: -1.50182

By Road:
Follow signs for Wakefield City Centre. Located behind Wakefield's County Hall.

By Public Transport:
Nearest train station: Wakefield Westgate Railway Station
Nearest bus station: Wakefield Bus Station


  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Smoking not allowedSmoking not allowed