Leyburn Old Glebe Credit James Ferguson

Leyburn Old Glebe Nature Reserve

A traditional hay meadow, Leyburn Old Glebe is the richest remaining fragment of Ellershaw, a district well-known to naturalists since the 19th Century. The meadow is rich in flowers in spring and summer supporting a range of orchids including the burnt tip orchid and the green winged orchid.


Low Lane
North Yorkshire

OS Map Reference

A static map of Leyburn Old Glebe Nature Reserve

Know before you go

3 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

There is a small parking spot by the entrance gate, or alternatively drive a little bit further along Low Lane and park in the layby on the right hand side of the road and walk back to the reserve.

Grazing animals

A limited number of sheep enjoy light grazing in the winter months

Walking trails

A public footpath crosses the site at its northern end, and connects to Leyburn to the north east and Wensley to the west.


This reserve is a steady uphill slope beginning from the roadside entrance gate on Low Lane. A footpath exists around the perimeter of the reserve and connects with a public footpath running through the top of the field. No wheelchair access


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

May to June


Leyburn Old Glebe is a botanically rich hay meadow which was owned by a local church before it came into Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s ownership in 1983. The site has never been ploughed or re-seeded and has been managed as a traditional hay meadow, which has allowed high botanical diversity to be retained.

The site is a fine example of the type of species-rich flower meadow that would have been common in the Yorkshire Dales before agricultural intensification resulted in the improvement of grasslands.

Over 80 plants have been recorded in recent surveys. Plants of interest on site include salad burnet, wild thyme, fairy flax, cowslips, agrimony and orchids including green winged, common spotted, early-purple, bee, and the nationally scarce burnt-tip.

The best time to visit the site is in May and June when the flowers are at their best and butterflies such as small skipper and common blue can be seen.

In autumn a hay cut will have been taken and sheep will be grazing the field to ensure that botanical diversity within the sward is maintained. Winter is a quiet time at the meadow, but common bird species will still be present within the surrounding hedgerows and you may get to see a stoat passing through.

The site is located on a south facing, gently sloping bank above the River Ure with views over the Yorkshire Dales to Penhill and to the ridge above Coverdale which rises towards Great Whernside. To the north is the wooded limestone scar of Leyburn Shawl.

The reserve's small size makes for a fragile site susceptible to damage, so please enjoy but take care when visiting.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Plants -Salad burnet; Cowslip; Green-winged orchid; Burnt-tip orchid
  • Summer: Plants - Eyebright; Fairy flax: Invertebrates - Common blue
  • Autumn: Birds - Yellowhammer
  • Winter: Mammals - Stoat


Public transport
Buses running between Leyburn and Hawes stop in Wensley half a mile away.

By car
From Hawes take the A6108 to Wensley, then turn onto Low Lane. The nature reserve is on this road.