North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationFree car park on Dryham Lane
Grazing animalsHighland cows and Hebridean sheep
A circular footpath runs around the perimeter of the original section of the reserve, part of which is surfaced and accessible to wheelchair users, as are three of the four hides. Following Dryham Lane to the west from the car park, you will reach Crosslands Hide. This large, hexagonal hide is made from straw bales and has a living green roof. Some paths may close during bird breeding season.
Permissive footpaths. Keep to the marked paths and do not enter the deep water.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Car park open 0730 until dusk
Best time to visitMarch to September
A mixture of shallow and deep water lakes and reedbeds provide outstanding habitat for passage, breeding and wintering wildfowl, waders, terns and gulls. A 2km perimeter path gives access around the established nature reserve and five hides are positioned to give excellent viewing over key areas for birdwatchers and photographers alike.
Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies thrive on the grassy banks beside the perimeter path; watch out for the emperor dragonfly and sometimes spy a water vole. There is a small colony of brown argus butterflies in the meadow between Main and Carp Lakes, access to which is opened in summer months.
Every season is a great time to visit North Cave Wetlands: During the winter the reserve has good numbers of wintering wildfowl and waders; spring sees the return of summer visitors which includes avocet, little ringed plover, oystercatcher, and a large black headed gull colony with Mediterranean gulls. North Cave also holds one of the largest breeding colonies of sand martins; in summer the reserve is full of fledgling birds, a wide range of dragonflies, grass snake and stoats; autumn sees the departure of summer visitors and the return of winter visitors along with many passage scarce birds.
And the good news is it's still a work in progress, so will continue to get better for wildlife and people!
- Spring: Birds - Little ringed plover; Avocet; Redshank; Sand martin; Sedge warbler
- Summer: Invertebrates - Brown argus; Emperor dragonfly; Four-spotted chaser; Birds - Common tern; Hobby
- Autumn: Invertebrates - Common darter; Birds - Migrant waders; Tree sparrow
- Winter: Birds - Teal; Wigeon; Tufted duck; Water rail; Snipe
The original 40 hectare site was acquired by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in 2001. In the following three years 250,000 tonnes of material was moved in, out or around the site to create a suitable open wetland habitat, with established trees confined to the boundaries and to the western end. Six large lakes provide both deep and shallow water with wide margins and islands, connected underground to give control over winter and summer water levels.
Starting in 2008 and finishing 12 to 15 years thereafter an additional 100ha of land to the immediate south and west is being quarried. This will be progressively restored with wildlife in mind before being gifted to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
Nearest bus stop is North Cave village 0.5 miles away.
Come off at Junction 38 of the M62/A63 and take the B1230 east to North Cave. At the first crossroad in the village, turn left onto Townend Lane and follow the brown reserve signs. If approaching north on the A1079 Market Weighton bypass take the minor road south through North Cliffe to North Cave then follow signs. The nature reserve is 15 miles west of Hull, of Cliffe Road on Dryham lane.