The last remaining freshwater marsh of any size in the area, Filey Dams is a magnet for migratory birds but is also a haven for plants, small mammals and amphibians.
This quiet gem consists of large freshwater lagoons surrounded by marsh and grassland grazed with cattle.
Soft rush dominates, joined in the shallow water by toad rush, bottle sedge and branched bur-reed and the distinctive yellow flag iris.
A short walk from the car park and the adjacent Main Hide takes in a small copse with nestboxes used by tree sparrows, and leads along a boardwalk to a pond-dipping platform at the edge of a quiet pool. Here dragonflies skim the water settling on the mat of amphibious bistort; the fortunate might see a water vole but are more likely to hear them crunching their way through the soft stalks of water forget-me-not. All three British species of newt occur here – smooth, palmate and great crested, the latter species in nationally important numbers.
Try a dawn or dusk trip for a good chance of seeing a roe deer, fox or hunting barn owl.
Walk further along the boardwalk and arrive at the East Pool Hide where close views can be had of water birds such as little grebe and migratory waders such as greenshank, green and wood sandpipers in the autumn. Across the pool the barn owl box may be occupied, the male often sitting nearby when displaced by his family.
The nature reserve is leased from Scarborough Borough Council and is managed in conjunction with Filey Brigg Ornithological Group, who record the species of the area and carry out routine maintenance.
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 buses and trains serve Filey from Scarborough.
A car park is at the end of Wharfedale, take a left turn when entering Filey on the Muston Road from York and Bridlington, 450 metres before the railway crossing.
Want to see more of Filey Dams Nature Reserve before your visit? Have a look below.