Seata Quarry Nature Reserve Credit Peter Christopherson

Seata Quarry Nature Reserve

From May until late autumn this former quarry is an abundance of wildflowers. In May, shelter from the west wind encourages butterflies and allows the sweet scent of cowslips to hang in the air.

Location

Thornton Road
near Hawes
Leyburn
North Yorkshire
DL8 3AL

OS Map Reference

SD 988 881
A static map of Seata Quarry Nature Reserve

Know before you go

Size
1 hectare

Entry fee

Free

Parking information

Park at the start of the lane

Access

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.

Not suitable for wheelchair users. Please take care underfoot and do not access in wet conditions.
Seata Quarry is a difficult terrain to negotiate with cliff faces and scree slopes. It is
unsuitable for young children or dogs and we ask all
visitors take care on the uneven terrain and to keep away from cliff faces. 

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

June to September

About

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!

Seasonal highlights

  • 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

Directions

Public transport
Buses from Leyburn and Hawes. 

By car
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.

Nearby