Vivid cerise marsh orchid spikes grow within grassy glades surrounded by hawthorn scrub. Large pastured fields that attract whimbrel in autumn are surrounded by mature hedgerows, home to farmland birds and butterflies.
Hodgson’s Fields is an oasis of rough grassland and scrub within the mainly arable landscape of South Holderness.
The extensive patch of habitat is rare in the area. Although farmed it was not intensive, which is unusual in the locality. As a result the site is a haven for wildlife.
The 45 hectare nature reserve supports grassland in which plants including yarrow, wild angelica, self-heal and meadow vetchling thrive. An impressive display of Southern and Northern marsh orchids bloom during June and July. Tussocky grassland is ideal for small mammals, and barn owls and kestrels can regularly be seen hunting for them throughout the year. Whimbrel also frequently drop into feed in the fields on their autumn migration.
For a peaceful walk visit as the sun goes down on a summer evening. Encounter butterflies feeding in the long grass, farmland birds calling their last from the hedgerow, barn owls and bats hunting in the fields and enjoy impressive marsh orchid spikes at their best.
Some areas support scattered bushy-scrub of varying age range and structure. This, along with mature hedgerows of hawthorn, rose, blackthorn and bramble are excellent sources of food and shelter for many birds. Farmland birds such as linnet, yellowhammer and tree sparrow are commonly seen and heard here. Scrub also provides shelter for insects and butterflies such as large skipper, meadow brown, ringlet and small heath. A small farm pond provides hunting ground for migrant hawker dragonflies.
The site is a great spot for mammals including brown hare, harvest mouse and short-tailed vole – look out for the white rumps of roe deer bobbing along the hedgerow as you walk along. A visit at dusk may well reward you with the sight of several species of bat feeding in the sheltered flight lines between scrub patches and hedgerows.
Management here focuses on rotational hedgerow management, maintenance of scrub of different ages, as well as traditional meadow management and grazing by rare breed cattle to keep areas of grassland open.
Café, toilets and an information centre are located nearby at Spurn.
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.
A bus service passes by Skeffling on the way to Easington. Closest train station in Hull.
From Hull take the A1033 Withernsea road. In Patrington take the B1445 Easington Road. At the eastern end of Skeffling village turn left down Out Newton Road. After almost a mile the road dissects the nature reserve.
Want to see more of Hodgson’s Fields Nature Reserve before your visit? Have a look below.