Upper Dunsforth Carrs Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationLimited roadside parking available. Please park sensitively for residents.
Grazing animalsCattle graze in late summer and eat away the year’s plant growth.
Much of the reserve is extremely wet and boggy so care must be taken. A boardwalk takes you through the wet woodland heart of the reserve.
Very limited wheelchair access. Possible when dry. The best entrance to choose (shortest walk to an accessible boardwalk through the key wetland areas of the reserve) is via Green Lane which runs through the village of Upper Dunsforth. The entrance to the reserve is set back from the road, at the south east end of the village.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMarch to September
The permanently waterlogged soils over most of the site have produced a variety of wetland communities representing various stages in ecological succession. Where the vegetation is grazed by cattle, diverse rush-pasture fen-meadow, tall-herb fen and swamp have developed, whist ungrazed areas support willow and alder carr. At the south end of the nature reserve, the lighter sandier soil supports drier grassland, similar to the hay meadows that would have once covered much of the Vale of York.
The site has many bird species characteristic of the farmed landscape surrounding the site, such as chaffinch, greenfinch and yellowhammer. Snipe may be found in winter, along with mixed flocks of lesser redpoll and siskin, whilst reed bunting are present all year round. Green woodpecker are a noisy inhabitant of the nature reserve.
Over 120 species of beetle have been found on the site, including the nationally scarce diving beetle Agabus uliginosus and the large click beetle Ctenicera pectinicornis, which is an important indicator of damp grassland.
- Spring: Birds - Great spotted woodpecker; Willow warbler; Willow tit
- Summer: Birds - Ragged Robin; Flag iris; Marsh orchid; Sedge warbler
- Autumn: Invertebrates - Migrant hawker; Common darter
- Winter: Birds - Snipe; Reed bunting; Lesser redpoll
Bus services available to the village of Great Ouseburn from Boroughbridge, York and Ripon.
Heading south on the B6265, three miles from Boroughbridge, turn left following signs for Upper Dunsforth. Turn left again and parking is on the left after 0.6 miles, before you reach the T-junction at the end. The reserve entrance is set a little back from the road.
From this entrance an accessible boardwalk is a 10-15 minute gentle walk (uneven under foot).
The best entrance to choose (shortest walk to the accessible boardwalk through the key wetland areas of the reserve) is via Green Lane which runs through the village of Upper Dunsforth. The entrance to the reserve is set back from the road, at the south east end of the village.