Burton Riggs Nature Reserve

Burton Riggs Credit Helen Percival

Burton Riggs Nature Reserve

The large, open lakes at Burton Riggs make it a fantastic place to watch wildfowl and waders, particularly during autumn migration and over the winter months.


Off the A64 just outside Scarborough
North Yorkshire
YO12 4QE
A static map of Burton Riggs Nature Reserve

Know before you go

14 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Car park available at the entrance of the reserve.

Walking trails

Permissive footpaths.


Permissive footpaths. Swimming and fishing are not allowed. The northern lagoon loop path is surfaced and can be accessed from the entrance off Dunslow Road.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

May to September, November to February


An early morning walk in spring can reveal summer migrant birds in the scrub such as whitethroat, blackcap and chiffchaff, with the occasional garden warbler. Grey herons and sometimes a little egret are seen. In winter ducks including pochard and tufted duck gather. The ponds surrounding the lakes have been home to great crested newt for a number of years.
Burton Riggs is bounded mainly by industrial land and housing, which makes it a valuable oasis for wildlife and local people alike. As an artificial site created by gravel quarrying in the 1970s for the construction of the adjacent A64, it is relatively young in wildlife terms, but already has a rich mix of habitats and species to its name. A public footpath runs through part of the nature reserve underneath the A64 road bridge and out into the industrial area to the east. Permissive paths run around the entirety of the site, one route around the smaller lake specially designed for disabled access and the route around the larger lake being a rougher track with steps and boardwalks surmounting boggy and hilly parts.

Wildlife management includes keeping ponds clear from silting up, rotational coppicing of willow around the lakes and increasing the area of woodland so that there is a step-up from two to three patches around the site. The scrub is a vital habitat for small birds and mammals, and is retained as much as possible, only being cut back along the footpaths.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Plants - Cowslip; Birds - Willow warbler; Sedge warbler
  • Summer: Invertebrates - Common darter; Gatekeeper
  • Autumn: Birds - Green sandpiper; Grey heron
  • Winter: Birds - Tufted duck; Pochard; Goldeneye; Short-eared owl


Public transport
Regular bus and train services in Scarborough.

By car
The nature reserve is situated just off the A64 out of Scarborough on the opposite side of the roundabout to the supermarket.