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Ashberry Nature Reserve

One of the finest ancient woodlands in Yorkshire, which is bordered by flower-rich limestone grassland on the valley sides and a marshy valley bottom through which a crystal-clear stream flows.

The habitats within the nature reserve are heavily influenced by the underlying geology of the site.

Glacial melt water carved out the steep sided valley, cutting through different rock layers. The valley forms part of a system of small steep sided valleys in this area with tributaries of the River Rye running through them.

The very thin soils on the upper slopes of the valley support areas of unimproved limestone grassland and woodland with a very high diversity of specialised plant species. The middle and lower slopes of the valley are also wooded and contain a range of bird species including nuthatch, treecreeper and wood warbler.

Top Tip:

Visit early in the morning for a chance of glimpsing herds of fallow deer.

In the valley bottom there are areas of neutral grassland, mire and carr woodland. Where the calcium rich springs that flow through the site reach the valley bottom extensive areas of marsh exist, with many rare plant and insect species associated. These include bird's-eye primrose, globe flower, marsh hawk's beard and grass of Parnassus. Black bog-rush occurs in two of the larger areas of springs, and common butterwort and marsh lousewort (or red rattle) are widespread. Red, fallow and roe deer are present in the area and an early morning visit could be rewarded with a sighting of them grazing the grassland along the steeply wooded valley sides. Freshwater shrimps and white-clawed crayfish are found in the stream that runs through the site.

Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife book, which has detailed information on all of Yorkshire Wildlife and Sheffield Wildlife Trust's reserves, is available to buy now from our online shop.

Public Transport

A bus service runs to nearby Helmsley from Scarborough, Malton and York. In the summer months Moorsbus run a service between Helmsley and Rievaulx.


½ mile west of Rievaulx and about 3 miles north west of Helmsley. If approaching from Helmsley, take the B1257 Stokesley road for approximately 1½ miles and take a left hand turning onto Scawton road. Descend through the woods, turn left across the river Rye and turn right towards Old Byland after a further ¼ mile. Very limited road side parking, access to the nature reserve is via a small gate.


Want to see more of Ashberry before your visit? Have a look below.

Ashberry Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group



Nearby nature reserves

Garbutt Wood Nature Reserve
4 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Strensall Common Nature Reserve
15 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Upper Dunsforth Carr Nature Reserve
16 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Cleveland Way
North Yorkshire
YO62 5LE
Map reference
SE 568 845
Great for...
geological interest
getting away from it all
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
51.85 hectares

Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information. Bikes allowed on bridleway only.
Walking information
Permissive footpaths. Dogs are allowed on the public right of way on leads.
Limited roadside parking available.
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570


Factsheets and guides for your visit