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

Nether Poppleton Medieval Moated Site

This site, popular with local dog walkers is a locally important archaeological site. Just to the north of St Everilda’s Church is an area where buildings used by people of high status were constructed surrounded by a moat and adjacent duckponds. Some evidence of these former buildings and the moat can still be seen when walking around the site. The area featured in a ‘Timewatch’ archaeological excavation shown on BBC TV some years ago. A rare breed of sheep is also kept in these fields.

Cared for by:

Naburn Marsh

A nationally important floodplain meadow with a public footpath around the edge of the site. A great place to see an abundance of flowers such as meadow cranesbill or butterbur in spring.

The site is along one of St Nicks Green Corridors projects so there may be some volunteering opportunities soon. See https://stnicks.org.uk/get-inspired/our-projects/green-corridors-york/

A walking leaflet with a route passing through this site can be found at https://www.itravelyork.info/downloads/file/51/003-millennium-bridge-to-designer-outlet

Cared for by:
Privately owned but has public footpaths around and through the site

The River Foss

The River Foss supports a wide variety of wildlife as it winds from its rural source to its urban confluence with the Ouse in York. The 28 miles of river are home to a good range of waterbirds including kingfisher, little egret, heron, mandarin duck, little grebe and mute swan. Mammals found along the river include otters, mink and water voles. A good range of aquatic plants can be seen including yellow flag, arrowhead, water plantain and yellow water lily.

There is a footpath along most of it’s length from central York out into the countryside.

Cared for by:
The River Foss Society

Things to help out with here:
Riverside management, litter picking etc.

Hob Moor Local Nature Reserve

Hob Moor Local Nature Reserve is part of the Knavesmire, one of York’s ancient commons. The land is unimproved pasture and has been used for grazing from the mediaeval period to the present day. This has ensured that a special floristic habitat thrives and provides valuable breeding habitat for skylark and meadow pipit, both of which are endangered species in the United Kingdom. Today it is still used for grazing in the summer months but is also a valuable area for wildlife and flora, as well as a recreational area for dog-walkers, cyclists, pedestrians, birdwatchers and many others.

Hob Moor Local Nature Reserve has some great archaeological features, including two types of ridge and furrow. The broad medieval type which covers the majority of the central areas, and the narrow Napoleonic ridge and furrow, is evidence of cultivation on site up to recent times.

Wildlife includes:
Birds – meadow pipit, skylark (several pairs breed each year), whinchat, wheatear, yellow wagtail (passing through during migration periods), merlin (recorded most years).

Wildflowers/Grasses – buttercup, bulbous buttercup, common sorrel, pignut, common bent, cats ear, harebell, heath bedstraw, tormentil, sheep’s sorrel, heath grass, English elm, guelder rose, hazel.

More information in this leaflet

Cared for by:
City of York Council and Friends of Hob Moor

Things to help out with here:
Litter picking, Wildlife surveys

Skipwith Common

Skipwith Common National Nature Reserve is one of the last remaining areas of northern lowland heath in England. An incredible variety of plants and animals depend on the Common for their survival. The 270 hectares of open heath, ponds, mire, fen, reed-bed,woodland and scrub are an ancient landscape, with its roots in pre-history.

Today the Escrick Park Estate is the main landowner and manages the Common in partnership with Natural England to ensure that its wildlife survives into coming centuries. Much of the Vale of York was once lowland heath. Now only three areas survive – Skipwith Common, Strensall Common and Allerthorpe Common – the rest lost mainly to agriculture.

Skipwith Common is a National Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation, with rarely seen species such as Woodcock, Nightjar and Common Lizards

See this leaflet from Natural England on the habitat and wildlife present: http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/9529076

Cared for by
Natural England and Friends of Skipwith Common



Bad Bargain Lane Bridleway

A car-free public bridleway, footpath and cycling route from the city to the countryside with hedgerow and open fields.
It is not paved so can be muddy in the wetter months.

Walmgate Stray

Walmgate Stray is a remnant of York’s historic landscape. The stray is an area of marshy grassland grazed by cattle. Typical flowers found on the site include black knapweed, bird’s-foot trefoil, meadow buttercup and lady’s smock. The tall hawthorn hedges around the stray provide habitat for birds such as bullfinch, goldfinch, linnet and yellowhammer.

Cared for by:
City of York Council