Stinking hellebore at Grass Wood Nature Reserve - Tim Bailey

Stinking hellebore at Grass Wood Nature Reserve - Tim Bailey

Grass Wood is one of the largest areas of broadleaved woodland in the Dales. It is a wildlife-rich woodland occupying an area of carboniferous limestone on the north side of Wharfedale.


Grass Wood Lane
North Yorkshire
BD23 5NE

OS Map Reference

A static map of Grass Wood Nature Reserve

Know before you go

78 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Car Park accessed from Grass Wood Lane

Walking trails

Network of public footpaths and permissive paths through the wood.


There are five points of pedestrian access from Grass Wood Lane, into the wood. One from Bastow Wood to the north and one from the east.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to May, September to October


Grass Wood is of high value due to the diversity of plant and animal species it supports. It is predominantly an ash woodland that is growing on a series of limestone terraces, with much exposed rock, creating open areas within the wood.

Plant species of particular interest, albeit that they are rare within the wood, include bird's nest orchid, horseshoe vetch, wild basil, spring sandwort and green spleenwort. More commonly seen species include lilly-of-the-valley, lady's mantle, melancholy thistle and rock rose.

The woodland supports a good range of common bird species including chaffinch, tawny owl and green woodpecker. Migrants include the pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher and redstart.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Plants - Bluebell; Primrose; Lily-of-the-valley; Birds - Pied flycatcher; Spotted flycatcher
  • Summer: Plants - Dropwort; Bloody Cranesbill; Invertebrate; Northern Brown Argus
  • Autumn: Fungi - Common puffball; Milkcap; Brittlegills; Clouded funnel cap; Mammals - Roe deer
  • Winter: Birds - Tawny Owl; Nuthatch; Treecreeper


The Trust originally became involved with the site in the 1960s and finally took ownership from the Forestry Commision in 1983.

The Trust have since worked with a very active group of volunteers to manage the reserve, removing non-native trees and initially replanting these areas, but now they are left to regenerate naturally.


Public transport
The nearest bus service goes to Grassington, approximately a 1 mile walk, with the nearest rail station at Skipton.

By car
From the B6265 in Grassington take Wood Lane on your right and travel north. Follow this for one mile, the nature reserve lies alongside the Grassington and Conistone minor road.