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Nature Reserve:Ellerburn Bank Nature Reserve

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  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information

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 warm sunny day brings this limestone grassland to life, with colourful butterflies such as small copper and day-flying moths including six-spot burnet fluttering between vibrantly coloured meadow flowers. Skylark, with their distinctive flight and lilting song, breed in the adjacent fields.

This excellent example of limestone grassland has never been farmed or worked in any way.

Its thin, free draining soils support species such as rock-rose, cowslip and quaking grass. A few rarities can also be found here including some orchid species.

The meadows are generally at their most picturesque in June and July, an impressive sight for such a small nature reserve. Rabbits, foxes, badgers and roe deer are frequent visitors that leave telltale signs, whilst stoats can be seen whisking through the stems during the day. Adders are seen occasionally around the drystone wall. Butterflies breeding here include small copper and small skipper. The site also attracts birds, including skylark which breed on the adjacent arable land and flocks of finches in winter.

The field contains small amounts of hawthorn and gorse scrub and is bounded by woodland on two sides. Situated on the shoulder of Pexton Moor the nature reserve slopes down into the valley towards Dalby Beck. Along the western edge of the site is an ancient earthwork that is thought to be a late Bronze Age double bank and ditch. This is a scheduled ancient monument on which management is limited.

Winter grazing using Hebridean sheep keeps young scrub in check and the sward healthy, allowing it to flower and seed throughout the summer. The patches of scrub that do not get grazed sufficiently by the sheep are mechanically managed to prevent spread into the pasture. The northern boundary is drystone wall and is maintained by Trust staff and contractors. Hedges are kept in good condition by ‘gapping up’ with mixed tree saplings that are protected by guards.

Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)

Open all the time


Dalby Forest Drive,
Dalby Forest,
North Yorkshire,
YO18 7LU



See location of Ellerburn Bank Nature Reserve on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SE 847854  Lat: 54.25793 Long: -0.70040

At the south west corner of Dalby Forest. Take the Whitby road for 1.5 miles and turn right into Dalby Forest Drive. Take on of two forest tracks into the nature reserve by foot.

2 parking areas.


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

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


Permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.