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Barlow Common Nature Reserve

Warblers, woodpeckers and wall brown butterflies now call Barlow Common home, despite its chequered past. Formerly a common used by locals grazing their stock and then acquired by a local railway company, the site now boasts a fantastic diversity of butterflies, birds and wildflowers.

Make the most of your visit by downloading this fabulous wildflower guide produced by volunteer Meg Huby.


Walking with Wildlife Project

Thanks to funding from SUEZ (formally known as SITA) and North Yorkshire County Council.

The ‘Walking with Wildlife’ project now leads visitors around a trail of predominantly oak and birch woodland that often gets missed by visitors as it is tucked away in a quiet corner of the reserve.

Twenty-five hand carved wooden way markers act as check points around the reserve and also alert the visitors to the huge variety of wildlife found on this reserve.

Download your map of the check points.


Volunteer task-days

If you like the outdoors, wildlife or just want to be more active then why not try volunteering at Barlow Common Nature Reserve. There are two practical task-days a month, meeting at the Visitor Centre every other Tuesday 10am until 3pm. Tasks range from woodland management and scrub removal in the winter to grassland management and surveying in the summer months. 


For up-to-date information about volunteer task-days on the reserve please contact: Andrew Gibson or telephone 01904 659570.

For general information about volunteering with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust please visit our volunteering webpage or contact the volunteering team with your enquiry.


Please note that the small Visitor Centre and toilets are not always open - please contact the Trust for more information.


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

Regular bus services run close to Barlow Common - the entrance to the nature reserve is about 50 metres from the nearest bus stop. The nearest train station is in Selby.


Barlow Common is easily reached from the A1041 Selby to Snaith road by taking the southern-most turning to Barlow village. Follow the road for approximately 1½ miles and turn right onto Mill Lane. After less than half a mile the nature reserve will be on the right.

The disabled/fishing car park is open between dawn and dusk. The main car park closes at dusk and overnight parking is not permitted.


Want to see more of Barlow Common Nature Reserve before your visit? Have a look below.

Our favourite Barlow Common Nature Reserve pictures

Barlow Common Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group


Naturewood Toddler Group at Barlow Common Nature Reserve

Meet Tuesday mornings from 9:30am – 11:30pm during term time and most school holidays.

Forest activities include: den building, fairy houses, shelter making, woodland kitchen, mini-beast hunting and more.
Charge is £3 per adult with 1 child and £1 for each additional child or adult. There is no charge for children under the age of 1 year old.

Parking is available in the Barlow Common nature reserve carpark. The activities are at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s building (with toilets) and the surrounding woods which is a short walk from the car park.

Tea and coffee is available for grown-ups, juice and snack for children (please bring your own toddler cup please. Toilets available)

For more information and to let the group know you plan on attending please call 07985 238979 you can also find us on Facebook Naturewood (Selby@Barlow Common) Toddler Group (we will need to clarify your identity before we add you to the full group).

Species and habitats

Grassland, Ponds, Woodland
Brimstone, Common Blue, Harebell, Short-eared Owl, Blackcap, Cuckoo

Nearby nature reserves

Fen Carr Nature Reserve
8 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Saltmarshe Delph Nature Reserve
9 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Sherburn Willows Nature Reserve
10 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Barlow Road
North Yorkshire
Map reference
SE 633 285
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
Mar - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open dawn till dusk.
Picnic facilities
36.60 hectares
Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

Access from Barlow Road. Disabled access available from Barlow Common Road. Contact the Trust for further information on disabled access.
Walking information
Unsurfaced paths around the reserve, with some boardwalks.
Parking available at the main entrance of the reserve. Disabled parking available when entering from Barlow Common Road.
Dogs must be on lead
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570