There are many places where you can enjoy the natural environment around Castleford. Whether you're looking for healthy exercise, a long walk, a bicycle ride, or whether you just want to experience nature away from streets and houses you can find somewhere in the local area. In geological terms Carboniferous rocks underlie most of the area and the coal measures are predominantly a shale, mudstone and sandstone series with thin seatearths, a layer of sedimentary rock underlying a coal seam, and coal deposits. All these rocks have a general dip to the south and south-east.
It is the predominance of these rocks that led to Castleford’s growth at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Since then industry has left its own mark on the surrounding area, the most notable of all is the formation of Fairburn Ings nature reserve. This important wetland area was formed by subsidence caused by coal mining. Strict controls on what could be done came into force in the middle of the last century, and following the decline of heavy industry at the end of the 20th century, improvements to water and air quality are helping some species to thrive again. Birds, fish, mammals and insects, and the places that they live, need to be protected so that they can be enjoyed by us and future generations.