Stocksmoor Common Nature Reserve

Stocksmoor Common Credit Nabil Abbas

Stocksmoor Common Nature Reserve

Tree pipits and linnets sing from the trees in the young woodland at Stocksmoor Common Nature Reserve. Wavy hair-grass may be found in the acid grassland - a habitat produced by rough grazing which has been all but lost in the modern intensively-used landscape.


South Lane
West Yorkshire

OS Map Reference

SE 275 150
A static map of Stocksmoor Common Nature Reserve

Know before you go

12 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

There is a small layby on South Lane that can accommodate several vehicles.

Grazing animals

The site is grazed by traditional breed cattle.

Walking trails

Public permissive footpaths.


Not accessible for wheelchair users and pushchairs. 


No dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to September


Broadly split into two parts the nature reserve is home to rough acid grassland, which covers approximately half of the area. Moist for most of the year, one or two marshy areas exist within this grassland. Woodland has encroached on to the rest of the site, establishing after grazing ceased.

Mat grass, wavy hair-grass and tufted hair-grass dominate in the damper grassland areas – a plant community that demonstrates a halfway house between the extensively sheep-grazed uplands of the Pennines and the drier lowland acid grassland and heaths of the Vale of York. In the more grassy areas, adder’s tongue fern, common spotted orchid and common fleabane can be found.
The woodland is made up of pioneer birch, with oak, willow, gorse and hawthorn regenerating. This site is a good place to see a range of birds such as tree pipit, linnet, yellowhammer, willow tit and long-tailed tit.

In 1997 a new pond was dug and since then it has been gradually colonised by a range of invertebrates, which are an important feature of the nature reserve. Bracket fungi on the short-lived birch and the leaf litter that forms amongst the tufted hair-grass are just two of the micro-habitats that are important for a variety of beetles, flies and other types of insect. These in turn are fed upon by small mammals such as bank voles and wood mice, which themselves are food for foxes and tawny owls.

The Trust manages the site through a programme of grazing to keep down the coarse vegetation and invading scrub. Bracken is also controlled. The Trust has been involved on site since April 1965 when it was leased from Messrs Job Earnshaw and Bros Limited.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Birds - Tree pipit; Willow tit
  • Summer: Plants - Common spotted orchid; common fleabane; Birds - Yellowhammer
  • Autumn: Fungi
  • Winter: Birds - Long-tailed tit


Public transport
Bus service to Midgley available from Wakefield.

By car
Stocksmoor Common is situated five miles south west of Wakefield and not far from the M1. It is close to the village of Midgely. The B6117 runs alongside the nature reserve.