Hodgson's Fields Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Grazing animalsCattle graze in selected areas of grassland
Permissive footpaths. Dogs are permitted on leads on footpaths in the western section of the reserve only.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMay to September
Hodgson’s Fields is an oasis of rough grassland and scrub within the mainly arable landscape of South Holderness. The extensive patch of habitat is rare in the area. Although farmed, it was not intensive, which is unusual in the locality. As a result the site is a haven for wildlife.
Yarrow, wild angelica, self-heal and meadow vetchling thrive and an impressive display of southern and northern marsh orchids bloom during June and July.
The tussocky grassland is ideal for small mammals, and barn owls and kestrels can regularly be seen hunting for them throughout the year. Whimbrel also frequently drop into feed in the fields on their autumn migration.
Some areas support scattered bushy-scrub of varying age range and structure. This, along with mature hedgerows of hawthorn, rose, blackthorn and bramble are excellent sources of food and shelter for many birds. Farmland birds such as linnet, yellowhammer and tree sparrow are commonly seen and heard here.
Scrub also provides shelter for insects and butterflies such as large skipper, meadow brown, ringlet and small heath. A small farm pond provides hunting ground for migrant hawker dragonflies.
The site is a great spot for mammals including brown hare, harvest mouse and short-tailed vole – look out for the white rumps of roe deer bobbing along the hedgerow as you walk along. A visit at dusk may well reward you with the sight of several species of bat feeding in the sheltered flight lines between scrub patches and hedgerows.
Management here focuses on rotational hedgerow management, maintenance of scrub of different ages, as well as traditional meadow management and grazing by rare breed cattle to keep areas of grassland open.
- Spring: Plants - Birds - Whitethroat; Grasshopper warbler; Mammals - Brown hare
- Summer: Plants - Marsh orchids; Invertebrates - Large skipper; Ringlet; Small tortoiseshell
- Autumn: Fungi - Birds - Whimbrel; Barn owl; Yellowhammer; Linnet
- Winter: Birds - Redwing; Fieldfare; Mammals - Roe deer
A bus service passes by Skeffling on the way to Easington. Closest train station in Hull.
From Hull take the A1033 Withernsea road. In Patrington take the B1445 Easington Road. At the eastern end of Skeffling village turn left down Out Newton Road. After almost a mile the road dissects the nature reserve.