Derwenthorpe Meadow

A flower-rich meadow which forms part of the Derwenthorpe housing development. The meadow is managed by the Derwenthorpe Nature Group who also work to make the rest of the development rich in wildlife.

Cared for by:
Derwenthorpe Nature Group

Thing to help out with here:
Scything, Planting Flowers and Bulbs


York College Forest School

As part of the planning permission for the construction of York College the creation of a new wildlife site was required. This former potato field is now an important location for a wide variety of wildlife including common spotted orchids, northern marsh orchids and common fleabane. This is a site in need of a name and is currently known only as York College Forest School. Created around 2007 the site has a number of trails which pass through grassland, scrub and young woodland. A pond on the site is home to great-crested newts. Other than the plants, little is currently known about the wildlife to be found here.

Cared for by:
York College

Dunnington Millennium Garden

A nice place to sit and relax, Dunnington Millennium Green is being managed by the local parish council and a keen group of volunteers who have created a colourful green-space full of colourful annual wildflowers. The site has benches where visitors can rest and enjoy these wildlife friendly areas.

Cared for by:
Dunnington Parish Council and Dunnington Conservation Group

Things to help out with here:
Planting wildflowers and hedges


Great North Way Ponds

A little known site with two seasonal ponds now mostly surrounded by trees. Great crested newts, toads and more than 20 kinds of aquatic beetle have been recorded in the area. A path around the edges of the pond has been planted with colourful meadow flowers. A small grassy recreational area with goal posts is adjacent to the ponds.

Cared for by:

Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens

Stillingfleet Lodge Garden and nursery is an organically managed, wildlife friendly, family garden close to York. The gardens are very colourful in the summer and have an abundance of wildlife. The owners have put up lists of all the kinds of wildlife that can be seen in the gardens. There is a small admission charge to visit the garden. The plant nursery can be visited without going into the garden. A cycle rack is available for anyone visiting the gardens by bike.
Please note that no dogs are allowed other than assistance dogs.
The Gardens can be reached by catching the number 42 bus to Drax from Piccadilly.
Stillingfleet can also be reached by cycling along the York to Selby cycle path and taking the B1222 road which passes York Marina, goes through Naburn and then continues to Stillingfleet.

Cared for by:
Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens & Nurseries

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.

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