Seata Quarry Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationPark at the start of the lane
Park at the start of the lane and walk to the nature reserve. After two right-angled bends the lane ends at the quarry entrance. Footpaths also link the quarry to the A684 and back to Aysgarth.
Seata Quarry comprises difficult and sometimes uneven terrain with cliff faces and scree slopes. Visitors should take care underfoot, keep away from cliff edges and not access the reserve in wet conditions. Not suitable for wheelchair users and young children to be kept under close supervision at all times.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitJune to September
Blue moor-grass is the most abundant grass and its metallic blue flowers are impressive in April. Both meadow and hairy oat-grasses are frequent along with quaking grass, but the star of the grasses is the rare spiky fescue, a native of the Pyrenees.
Two other non-native Pyrenean plants occur: round-leaved St John’s wort can be seen on a ledge and fairy foxglove is abundant on the quarry walls. The thin soils have more typical calcareous grassland species with abundant bird’s-foot trefoil, purging flax, harebell and especially small scabious. In a damp autumn the autumn gentians can reach 20cms high. Where the soil is exceptionally thin field madder, parsley piert and biting stonecrop join the fairy foxglove. Four species of orchids also occur here.
In mid-summer six-spot burnet moth, common blue butterfly and ringlet enjoy the flowerrich habitat. Curlew and grey partridge have nested here and sometimes brown hares can be seen.
Sheep grazing within the nature reserve is limited to the winter months to allow over 100 plant species to flower. In autumn the deeper soils support a dense growth which is removed by strimming, raking and burning.
Seata Quarry is leased from Township of Aysgarth and was once used to supply stone to the local area. Some local properties retain the right to take stone, but practical difficulties prevent uptake, which is fortunate for the wildlife here!
- Spring: Plants - Blue moor-grass; Cowslip; Early purple orchid; Fairy foxglove
- Summer: Plants - Spiky fescue; Round-leaved; St John's-wort; Small scabious; Fragrant orchid
- Autumn: Plants - Autumn gentian
- Winter: Birds - Grey partridge
Buses from Leyburn and Hawes.
The quarry lies north of the Aysgarth to Thornton Rust road in Wensleydale. A narrow green lane leaves this road ½ a mile from the junction with the A684 in Aysgarth, park at the start of the lane and walk to the nature reserve. After two right-angled bends the lane ends at the quarry entrance. Footpaths also link the quarry to the A684 and back to Aysgarth.