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Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve

A traditionally managed hay meadow set amid steep hills in the beautiful limestone landscape of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Yellands Meadow is a tiny meadow lying next to the River Swale and is one of twelve included in the ‘The Muker Meadows’ SSSI.

A stream, lined with alders, runs diagonally across the meadow. There is a small stone barn on the western boundary containing the original stone cow stalls.

The meadow has resulted from traditional management in the harsh climate of the hills. It is of a type that is now almost entirely restricted to a few valley heads in the North of England. The flowers plants in the meadow include an abundance of pignut, lady’s mantle, meadow buttercup, wood cranesbill, clovers and hawkbits. Other flowers include yellow rattle, cuckooflower, meadow vetchling, bugle, eyebright, bird’s-foot trefoil and common spotted orchid.

Top Tip:

To see the meadow at its colourful best visit from late May to early July. With the flowers in bloom, the meadow is alive with the sight and sound of bees, grasshoppers and butterflies.

Along the moist banks of the steam are meadowsweet, melancholy thistle and marsh-marigold. There is a range of grasses in the sward with sweet vernal-grass, the grass that gives cut hay its characteristic and evocative smell, predominant.

There are no clearly defined footpaths on site. To enjoy the meadow it is suggested that visitors corss the bridge over the steam to the right of the entrance gate and, keeping close to the boundary wall and river fence, go clockwise around the meadow, return across the footbridge at the eastern end and then walk back along the stream.

The meadow has been managed in a traditional way by the same tenant family for a number of generations and is grazed in the autumn and early spring and a hay cut is taken in July.

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

A very limited bus service runs along Swaledale.


Situated between the River Swale and the B6270, about one mile east of Muker. A small parking area exists in an informal lay by near the field gate on the B6270.


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

Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group


Nearby nature reserves

Semer Water Nature Reserve
7 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Argill Woods
11 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Waitby Greenriggs
12 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Guning Lane - B6270
North Yorkshire
DL11 6QJ
Map reference
SD 918 977
Great for...
Best time to visit
May - Sep
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Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
1.14 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Walking information
Permissive footpaths. Please take particular care when the hay crop is growing and keep to the margins of the field.
A small parking area exists in an informal lay by near the field gate on the B6270.
No dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Sheep graze the land in autumn and early spring
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570


Factsheets and guides for your visit