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Nature Reserve:Wharram Quarry Nature Reserve

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Nature Reserve

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Businesses across the Yorkshire Coast are looking forward to welcoming you back.

Please check the individual website for reopening dates, opening times and booking details.

We recommend you follow current public health advice and maintain social distancing.


A species rich chalk grassland, Wharram Quarry is home to many of the characteristic flowering plants that thrive on the thin Wolds soil. Butterflies flit from flower to flower and in the sky you many see and hear the buzzards that nest in the nearby woods.

The nature reserve was actively quarried for chalk between 1919 and the 1940s and was offered to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1960s by owner Lord Middleton after he noticed bee orchids growing on the quarry floor.

The quarry floor has variable depths of soil and consequently different plant communities. In the west, where the spoil was deposited, is now dominated coarse grasses and hawthorn scrub. Several species of grasses can be found including cock’s-foot, meadow and false oat-grasses, red and sheep’s fescues, and quaking grass. Glaucous sedge is widely distributed.

The wildflowers present a beautiful scene, they include the yellow flowers of cowslip rough hawkbit, mouse-ear hawkweed and bird’s-foot trefoil; the purple wild thyme and clustered bellflower; the pink restharrow and the blue common milkwort. Common spotted, pyramidal and bee orchids can all be found in June and July.

The quarry is one of the few Wolds sites for thistle broomrape which parasitizes woolly thistle. The endangered red hemp-nettle has been introduced from nearby populations along with small-flowered buttercup on the quarry face.

Butterflies abound on sunny days, including plentiful marbled white, small heath, meadow brown, ringlet and common blue. Dingy skippers can sometimes be seen, particularly in the north east corner.

In order to maintain the succession of plants areas of the floor have been periodically scraped back to the chalk. In order to prevent the succession from open flower-rich sward to dense coarse grasses and hawthorn scrub the quarry floor is grazed with the Trust’s Hebridean sheep in winter and parts are mown in late summer.

Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)

Open all the time


Station Lane,
North Yorkshire,
YO17 9TW



See location of Wharram Quarry Nature Reserve on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SE 858653  Lat: 54.07687 Long: -0.69008

At the crossroads on the B1248 in Wharram-le-Street, head west towards Birdsall and the nature reserve is about 0.5 miles on the left as the road descends. Parking is limited and in the gateway.

Limited roadside parking by the gateway available.


  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information. Keep to footpaths as straying from then can be dangerous as buildings and kilns are unsafe.