Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve

Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve

Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve

Yellands is a traditionally managed hay meadow set amid steep hills in the beautiful limestone landscape of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This site is of value for the diverse range of plant species is supports.


Guning Lane (Situated between the River Swale and the B6270, about one mile east of Muker).
North Yorkshire
DL11 6QJ

OS Map Reference

SD 918977
A static map of Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve

Know before you go

1 hectare

Entry fee


Parking information

A small parking area exists in an information lay by near the field gate on the B6270

Grazing animals

Sheep graze the land in autumn and winter.

Walking trails

There are no clearly defined footpaths on site and please stay to the margins prior to hay cut. To enjoy the meadow it is suggested that you cross the bridge over the steam to the right of the entrance gate and, keeping close to the boundary wall and river fence, go clockwise around the meadow, return across the footbridge at the eastern end and then walk back along the stream.


Access via a gate along the B6270. Permissive footpaths. No wheelchair access.


No dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to June for flowers and displaying birds; December to February for migrating flocks


Yellands Meadow is a tiny meadow lying next to the River Swale and is one of twelve included in the ‘The Muker Meadows’ Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The meadow has been managed in a traditional way by the same tenant family for a number of generations and is grazed in the autumn and early spring and a hay cut is taken in July.

In spring and summer the grassland is full of colour and includes cuckooflower, yellow rattle, pignut, lady's mantle, meadow vetchling, bugle, eyebright, bird's-foot trefoil and common spotted orchid. The moist banks of the river support melancholy thistle, meadowsweet and marsh marigold. There is a range of grasses in the sward with sweet vernal-grass, the grass that gives cut hay its characteristic and evocative smell, predominant. In autumn the site will have been cut for hay but autumn hawkbit may have come into flower after the cut. You may also spot sand martin and grey wagtail along the river. Winter is a quiet time at the reserve but it may be a good time to spot otter on the River Swale.

A stream, lined with alders, runs diagonally across the meadow. There is a small stone barn on the western boundary containing the original stone cow stalls. The meadow has resulted from traditional management in the harsh climate of the hills. It is of a type that is now almost entirely restricted to a few valley heads in the North of England.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Plants - Marsh marigold; Cuckooflower; Birds - Sandmartin
  • Summer: Plants - Eyebright; Yellow rattle; Meadow vetchling; Lady's mantle;  Birds - Redstart;
  • Autumn: Plants - Autumn Hawkbit.
  • Winter: Birds - Grey wagtail.


Public Transport

A very limited bus service runs along Swaledale.


Situated between the River Swale and the B6270, about one mile east of Muker. A small parking area exists in an informal lay by near the field gate on the B6270.