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Burton Riggs Nature Reserve

The large, open lakes at Burton Riggs make it a fantastic place to watch wildfowl and waders, particularly during autumn migration and over the winter months.

An unusual habitat in the Ryedale area, Burton Riggs is a 14 hectare site primarily consisting of clean freshwater lakes with some scrub, woodland and grassland.

The wildlife of the site is enhanced during the winter when little egret, tufted duck and pochard are seen. The ponds surrounding the lakes have been home to great crested newt for a number of years.



Top Tip:


Burton Riggs is a must during the autumn and winter, with regular sightings of migratory birds stopping off for days of rest, including ducks and other species such as short-eared owls.


Burton Riggs is bounded mainly by industrial land and housing, which makes it a valuable oasis for wildlife and local people alike. As an artificial site created by gravel quarrying in the 1970s for the construction of the adjacent A64, it is relatively young in wildlife terms, but already has a rich mix of habitats and species to its name. A public footpath runs through part of the nature reserve underneath the A64 road bridge and out into the industrial area to the east. Permissive paths run around the entirety of the site, one route around the smaller lake specially designed for disabled access and the route around the larger lake being a rougher track with steps and boardwalks surmounting boggy and hilly parts.

Wildlife management includes keeping ponds clear from silting up, rotational coppicing of willow around the lakes and increasing the area of woodland so that there is a step-up from two to three patches around the site. The scrub is a vital habitat for small birds and mammals, and is retained as much as possible, only being cut back along the footpaths.



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 and train services in Scarborough.


The nature reserve is situated just off the A64 out of Scarborough on the opposite side of the roundabout to the supermarket.





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

Burton Riggs Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group



Nearby nature reserves

Harland Mount Nature Reserve
3 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Filey Dams Nature Reserve
5 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Chafer Wood Nature Reserve
8 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Off the A64 just outside Scarborough
North Yorkshire
YO12 4QE
Map reference
TA 029 832
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Nov - Feb
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
13.83 hectares

Permissive footpaths. Swimming and fishing are not allowed. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Walking information
Permissive footpaths.
Reserve car park.
Dogs must be on lead
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570


Factsheets and guides for your visit