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Moorlands Nature Reserve

This small woodland is part of the ancient Forest of Galtres and is ablaze with colour in spring. Snowdrop, primrose, daffodil and bluebell form a backdrop to a succession of mature rhododendrons, azaleas and maple.

Moorlands is a beautiful small woodland with the additional attraction of spectacular collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, some of which are very old, large and unusual.


These provide a succession of flowers from March to the end of June accompanied by a carpet of snowdrop, bluebell, primrose and wood sorrel.

The wealth of trees and flowering plants in turn attract many species of bird and mammal. A number of bat boxes have been erected and these have been successfully used by common pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats, with soprano pipistrelle, Brandt's and Daubenton's bats having also been recorded within the nature reserve.

From the tree house a great variety of woodland birds, including great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and a variety of tits can be observed as they visit the feeders. Woodcock are occasionally seen during autumn, which is also an ideal time to find amazing fungi during a stroll through the leaf litter.


Top Tip:


This is a great site for all age groups, with a level path and seating at regular intervals.


The trees are a source of great pleasure with some mature native species growing alongside the more unusual snakebark maple, magnolias and two dawn redwoods. There are two small ponds, the first of which has a large dipping platform to provide much interest to anyone with a net. A third secluded pond helps to feed to other ponds via a dyke.

Mr. Edward Grosvenor Tew bought Moorlands House and estate in 1909 and planted many of the rhododendrons and azaleas. The estate was then acquired by the Retreat in York for use as a hospital in 1940, before selling 17 acres to become Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's second nature reserve in 1955. Management of the site aims to both preserve the special character of the Edwardian woodland garden and to encourage native wildlife within the nature reserve.

Thanks to funding from Yorventure in 2015, we have been able to improve the experience had by visitors, particularly that of our younger visitors by providing points of interest as you walk round with sculptural wood carvings on tree trunks, verses on benches and intricate carvings that make up part of a nature trail.

Find out more about Moorlands Nature Reserve from the active Moorlands Azalea & Rhododendron Volunteer Group.

Moorlands carvingWood carvingTreehouseRhododendrons at MoorlandsCarving at MoorlandsMoorlands

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

Buses using the A19 stop in Skelton.


The nature reserve is about 5 and a half miles north of York. From York, take the A19 Thirsk road for about 3 and a half miles to Skelton. Turn right off the A19, continue through the village and the nature reserve is another 2 miles further on, on the left of the road. Parking is allowed on the verge near the entrance gate.


Want to see more of Moorlands before your visit?

Have a look below.

Our favourite Moorlands Pictures

Moorlands Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group



Nearby nature reserves

Strensall Common Nature Reserve
5 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Askham Bog Nature Reserve
7 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Upper Dunsforth Carr Nature Reserve
9 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Moor Lane
North Yorkshire
YO32 2RE
Map reference
SE 579 587
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
Mar - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
6.98 hectares

Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
Permissive footpaths. Dogs are not permitted on the reserve.
Parking is allowed on the verge near the entrance gate but space is limited.
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570