Deans Park

Hidden behind the adjacent towering York Minster Dean’s Park is a great place for a picnic or for relaxing. The park features great views of York Minster and other adjacent historic buildings. Whilst not obviously a flower-rich site the park is covered with colourful crocus flowers in February and early March. Plentiful seating is available and street vendors sell ice-cream and drinks nearby.

Cared for by:
The Dean and Chapter of York Minster

Fulford Cross Allotments

This small site is off Fulford Road, past the Steiner School. A path from the Millennium Bridge runs through the allotments, so this site is easily accessible from the South Bank area by foot or bike.
The allotments are located between the river and the Fulford Cross nature reserve, so there’s birdsong and a peaceful atmosphere. It’s a friendly site with a mix of new and long-established gardeners.

Cared for by:
York Allotment Charitable Incorporated Organisation (YACIO)

Church Ings SSSI

Church Ings is a nationally important site, yet little known locally. These flood meadows are of particular importance for their neutral grassland plant community which is an increasingly rare habitat type, threatened nationally as a result of drainage and agricultural improvement. Plants found at the site include meadowsweet, ragged robin and common sedge. Whilst the meadows themselves have no public access, they can be seen from a riverside public footpath which runs between Bishopthorpe and Acaster Malbis, passing this site.

Cared for by:
Privately owned

The route described in the Exploring York leaflet Bishopthorpe to Acaster Malbis passes this site.
See https://www.itravelyork.info/downloads/file/55/bishopthorpe-to-acaster-malbis-return

Acaster South Ings

The flood meadows just to the south of Acaster Malbis are a nationally important Site of Special Scientific Interest. The meadows are home to the tansy beetle and other uncommon flora and fauna. Curlews are known to breed here. The meadows are mown at the end of June or in early July each year. A public footpath runs along the east edge of the flood meadows. On the opposite side of the river Naburn Weir and Lock can be seen. The site is accessible via a track at the southern end of Acaster Malbis.

Cared for by:
Private landowner

Three Hagges Woodmeadow

In the past woodmeadows were a common feature of the English landscape. Now a rarity, work to create the current woodmeadow began in 2012. The site has an abundance of flowers with trees and shrubs scattered across the meadow areas. Being adjacent to woodland the woodmeadow attracts a wide variety of wildlife and butterflies and other insects are abundant here. The Woodmeadow Trust looks after this site together with a keen group of volunteers. The meadow is also a great outdoor classroom for the teaching of children and adults about nature. Access to the site is via a road leading to Hollicarrs Holiday Park. The entrance to Three Hagges Woodmeadow is at the end of the road on the left. The site is within walking distance of Riccall (about 1 mile) or can be reached via the York to Riccall cyclepath (The Planets Route). The adjacent caravan site has a tearooms with toilets that is open to all and has food and toilet facilities available throughout the day. See the Facebook page below.

Please note that dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a short lead and must not be allowed in the pond. The site may be unsuitable for some kinds of wheelchair, but a buggy is available for disabled people to use

Cared for by:
The Woodmeadow Trust

Things to help out with here:
Wildlife Site Management

Breezy Knees Garden

One of the largest gardens in the North of England, Breezy Knees is Yorkshire’s answer to Kew Gardens. Covering over 20 acres the site features a maze of interconnected garden areas each with its own style including a rock garden, cottage garden, rose garden, a pond, a lake and much more. Over 7000 different kinds of plant can be seen growing in the gardens. Extensive flower beds and a wildflower meadow make the gardens a blaze of colour throughout the summer. Please note that no dogs are allowed into the gardens other than guide dogs. The gardens also have a café serving refreshments and a plant nursery. Please check the website for opening times and prices. Whilst these gardens are not close to a bus stop they are within easy cycling distance of York.

Cared for by:
Private Landowner

Things to help out with here:
Garden management

Foss Islands Nature Reserve

Formerly part of a great man-made swamp that protected the eastern side of York Foss Islands Nature Reserve is home to a variety of water birds including swans and geese. On the Hungate side of the river a walking trail has several interpretation boards providing information about local wildlife and colourful wild flowers have been planted beside the trail.

Cared for by:
City of York Council

Monk Stray

This is a large open area of grassland, with a few stands of mature and younger trees. There are several access points around the perimeter allowing to cross it as a route in various directions including connecting to other foothpaths through open grassland to the north. The remnants of the historic Monk Stray are divided into four distinct areas: The grassy parkland known as Heworth Stray, two areas of rough grazing land to either side of the Malton Road, and the privately leased golf course.

Cared for by:
City of York Council

Fulford Golf Club

A golf course since 1906, with an avenue of Lombardy Poplars, several mature trees and areas of scrub, and denser more extensive woods toward the southern end. There is a chance of seeing deer and barn owls. The road which runs lengthways along the eastern edge is a public right of way and takes you over the ring road, beyond which point it becomes a track bordering farm fields leading up to Heslington Tillmire. There are several other footpaths leading off this route which loop back towards Heslington and Fulford.

Cared for by:
Fulford Golf Club

Heslington Tillmire

Just to the south of Fulford Golf Course is a nationally important wet meadow known as Heslington Tilmire. The site is important for a wide variety of birds including lapwing, snipe, redshank and curlew. Barn owls can sometimes be seen hunting in the area. Public footpaths run along the edges of the site. Please note that this is a sensitive site with ground nesting birds and sheep grazing the field during the summer so please don’t allow dogs off their leads.

Cared for by:
Natural England