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Fen Bog Nature Reserve

Surrounded by bright purple heather, with a variety of colourful sphagnum mosses underfoot, Fen Bog is a delightful moorland nature reserve

Fen Bog is set in the stunning location of the North York Moors, situated between the summits of Tom Cross Rigg and Crag Stone Rigg and takes the form of a long curving piece of land that is bounded at both ends by moorland streams.

The 19 hectare site comprises of two main sections; the main valley mire and the higher ground leading down to it from the parking area which is primarily wet heath and moorland and is separately fenced from the rest of the site.

The mire bottom has some of the most unusual species of the sphagnum moss in the region, which have survived and flourished largely due to consistent management by the Trust. The land is dependent on regional rainfall and appropriate levels of drainage to keep the mire in peak condition.

Besides controlling bracken by hand, the site is grazed by sheep from neighbouring common land. This is beneficial in keeping down coarse grasses that may threaten some of the plant species present such as heather and hard ferns. Some of the more interesting plants are round-leaved sundew, cranberry, common butterwort, marsh violet and bog asphodel which are all located within the mire. In the upper areas there is a population of chickweed wintergreen, also known as Arctic starflower, that benefits from being in one of the few areas that are ungrazed on the moor.

Top Tip:

Visit in autumn for the bright autumn colours of sphagnum mosses and the purple haze of blooming heather on the surrounding moors.

The site is good for butterflies with small pearl-bordered fritillary and large heath both occurring in early summer. Curlew can be heard calling from the surrounding moors and whinchat, wheatear and meadow pipit all breed. Look out for merlin passing through.

If you time your visit well you may also see a steam train passs down the Pickering railway line adjacent to the nature reserve. Fen Bog was gifted to the Trust in 1964 by Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin and Major CL Baldwin in memory of their son and nephew respectively who were killed in action in World War II.

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

Nearest mainline railway station at Sleights. Bus services along the A169 from Pickering to Whitby. The Lyke Wake Walk crosses the nature reserve. Follow the stone track from the parking area down to the mire.


Adjacent to the A169 between Whitby and Pickering just north of RAF Fylingdales and south of Ellerbeck bridge and the turn off to Goathland.


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

Fen Bog Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group


Nearby nature reserves

Little Beck Wood Nature Reserve
4 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Ellerburn Bank Nature Reserve
8 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Chafer Wood Nature Reserve
10 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

White Way Heads
North Yorkshire
YO18 7AT
Map reference
SE 857 982
Great for...
lichens and mosses
Best time to visit
May - Sep
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Opening Times
Open at all times
18.83 hectares

Contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
Please keep to the permissive footpaths to avoid trampling bog vegetation. Parts of the bog are very deep and could be dangerous. Dogs allowed on public footpaths only.
Park on entrance track; please do not obstruct the site gate.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570