Sherburn Willows Nature Reserve Credit Jono Leadley

Sherburn Willows Nature Reserve

Enjoy colourful pasture where butterflies feed on the pink starbursts of greater knapweed flower heads, birds sing from the scrub edge on the bank top, and white park cattle regard you with curiosity as they graze.


New Lane
North Yorkshire
LS25 6AG

OS Map Reference

SE 487 326
A static map of Sherburn Willows Nature Reserve

Know before you go

3 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Parking on lane.

Grazing animals

White park cattle graze the site.

Walking trails

Permissive footpaths.


Please contact the Trust on 01904 659570 for disabled access information.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

May to September


This small nature reserve straddles flower-filled magnesian limestone grassland which runs steeply down a slope to a wet area of fen and willow carr woodland.

In spring and summer the grassland is a carpet of colour, changing with the months; cowslip, ox-eye daisy, hairy violet and common knapweed all bloom. Good shows of common spotted orchid, bee orchid and common twayblade bring colour in midsummer. Other species of note as rare locally, include purple milk vetch, sainfoin and pale St John’s-wort. The wildflowers attract many butterflies, moths and other insects.

Reed warbler, reed bunting and chiffchaff all breed on site. The grassland is being restored by removing scrub and grazing with rare breed white park cattle. In the areas of wet woodland Yorkshire Wildlife Trust coppices the willow to keep it rich in wildlife.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Birds - Chiffchaff; Plants - Ox-eye daisy; Cowslip
  • Summer: Birds - Whitethroat; Lesser whitethroat; Plants - Sainfoin; Agrimony; Greater knapweed
  • Autumn: Birds - Redwing; Fieldfare
  • Winter: Birds - Reed bunting


Public transport
Sherburn in Elmet has a good bus service with a bus stop at the top of New Lane. The train station is 1 ½ miles away.

By car
Sherburn Willows is situated about two miles north-east of the A1-A63 junction and about one mile from the centre of Sherburn in Elmet. Half-a-mile from the traffic lights on Low Street in Sherburn travelling south towards South Milford turn right along New Lane. The reserve is at the end of this road. Park immediately beyond the end of the houses and continue on foot along the farm track. Turn left through the field gate and the reserve is a few yards further on.