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Keldmarsh Nature Reserve

Step back in time with a visit to Keldmarsh, a remnant of the kind of habitat that would have once covered this area. Clear chalk springs bubble up in pools and flow through this secluded wet woodland. Impressive willow trunks scatter the site and wrens sing their clear song from fringing blackthorn thickets.


Keldmarsh is derived from the Scandinavian word for spring Kelda.

This aptly describes the nature reserve, which in wet years sees several springs emerging, forming pools and streams of clear water. This water is fed by underground streams that run through the chalk bedrock. Where the chalk meets a layer of impermeable clay, water is forced upwards and emerges at the ground surface. Sadly in some years these springs can run dry, probably due to changes in surrounding land use and water extraction over the last few decades.


Top Tip:


Visit early on a spring day when hawthorn is in flower and bees buzz around their blooms. Vivid green leaf buds are just bursting on the trees and greenfinches and great tits call from the tree canopy.


The site is covered by woodland which, due to changing ground conditions, appears to be making a transition itself. Crack willow and alder, trees fond of getting their roots wet, are giving way to young ash which survive better in the drier conditions. Some venerable ancient willows lie fallen, but their twisted trunks and stems still provide homes for wildlife in their nooks and crannies. Elderberry, hawthorn and blackthorn provide scrubby areas of cover and birds breeding on site include chiffchaff, blackcap and dunnock.

Some of the rarest species found at Keldmarsh are slime moulds. These strange ‘growths’ look like lichen or fungi, but are actually colonies of very tiny, primitive creatures, that act as one organism. Often found on wet, dead timber they can be seen to move if observed over several days. Wetland plants such as fool’s water-cress, yellow flag iris and marsh marigold are found in and around the wet pools and common frogs are a regular sight.




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

The nearest train station is Beverley, from which it is a 20 minute walk to the nature reserve.


On the southern outskirts of Beverley. Turn off at Keldgate onto the A164 at the double mini roundabout, signposted Cottingham and Humber Bridge. At the next roundabout turn left onto Woodmansey Mile, then right on to Lincoln Way. Park in the lay-by on the left where the road bends round. Walk across a paved path and the grass to the nature reserve.





Want to see more of Keldmarsh Nature Reserve before your visit? Have a look below.

Keldmarsh Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group



Nearby nature reserves

Pulfin Bog Nature Reserve
4 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Pearson Park Wildlife Garden
6 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
North Newbald Becksies Nature Reserve
7 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Lincoln Way
East Riding of Yorkshire
HU17 8UL
Map reference
TA 034 386
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
0.35 hectares

Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Walking information
Permissive footpaths. Dogs are not permitted on the reserve.
Roadside parking available.
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570


Factsheets and guides for your visit