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.
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.
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.