At 78 ha, Grass Wood is one of the largest areas of broadleaved woodland in the Dales. It is a wildlife-rich ash woodland occupying an area of carboniferous limestone on the north side of Wharfedale.
Grass Wood's importance lies mainly in its extremely rich and varied plant life.
It is located on a series of limestone terraces, with much exposed rock and, therefore, open areas. This habitat contributes greatly to a varied flora which includes characteristic plants such as lily-of-the-valley and rock-rose. Other plants found here are indicators of ancient woodland.
Alongside the many interesting and attractive plants are a whole range of other, sometimes nationally uncommon, fungi, insects and other wildlife. Resident birds include tawny owl, the familiar chaffinch and the exotic looking green woodpecker. Grass Wood is also the home base for a number of returning migratory birds such as ped and spotted flycatchers, willow and wood warblers.
The extraction track into the wood from the gate furthest from Grassington gives superb views up Wharfedale.
The continued existence of the diverse wildlife on the site relies on the persistence of the light and airy conditions found underneath upland ash. Underplanting with conifers and the removal of native trees in the middle of the last century was detrimental to the site, and current management aims to extend the area of mature ash woodland by addressing these issues.
The Trust originally became involved in managing the wood when, in the 1960s, it leased a small portion from the Forestry Commission. Over the years it became more involved, finally completing purchase of the whole wood in 1983, since which date it has gradually increased active management, ably supported by an enthusiastic team of volunteers.
Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife
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The nearest bus service goes to Grassington, approximately a 1 mile walk, with the nearest rail station at Skipton.
From the B6265 in Grassington take Wood Lane on your right and travel north. Follow this for one mile, the nature reserve lies alongside the Grassington and Conistone minor road.
Want to see more of Grass Wood before your visit? Have a look below.