Moorlands Nature Reserve might not be as well known as other green spaces in York, but it has a large and loyal fan base among Yorkshire families. Those who are lucky enough to live in nearby villages use it as their second garden, and it’s not hard to see why. This little woodland punches above its weight, with a stunning collection of trees and wildlife that are a pleasure to wander through at any time of year. It’s a nature spotter’s paradise, too, so pack binoculars or a bird-spotting book and see what you can find. If you’re looking for a short but beautiful walk just outside York, Moorlands is a great option. Here are five reasons we recommend it to families.
1. There’s lots of wildlife to spot
Many birds also call Moorlands home: keep an eye out for woodpeckers, nuthatches and a variety of tits! There are two little ponds, so why not see if you can spot any frogs or toads. There’s a handy sign at the start of your trip with ideas for things you might be able to see if you follow the nature trail.
2. It’s beautiful
Moorlands is famous for its incredible rhododendrons that really fire children’s imaginations – visit from March to June to see them in flower. Why not let your kids take control of your phone and ask them to take some pictures of anything they like the look of? It’s wonderful to be so steeped in nature so close to built-up areas.
3. There’s a treehouse!
Although there’s not a traditional playground, there are lots of natural play opportunities. After all, a child with a stick is usually a happy one! There’s also a brilliant treehouse that kids love to play in (and a bench or two for parents to watch from – although we wouldn’t judge any parent who wants to play in the treehouse too).
4. It’s short enough for little legs
Even the most reluctant walker shouldn’t find the circular Moorlands walk too challenging. It’s really short – you could do it in 20 minutes, but this is not a place to rush – and it’s flat with a well marked-out path so it should be fine for most buggies and wheelchairs. Although the path is not boarded, like Askham Bog, it’s well-maintained. It does get muddy if it’s been raining though, so bear that in mind and wear the right shoes.
5. Admission is free
There’s no admission charge to enjoy Moorlands, making it another great thing for families to do in York for free. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust would appreciate any donations to help maintain it – visit their website for more details.
Good to know
– Free on-road parking
– No cafe – take snacks
– No loos – plan ahead!
– Address – Moorlands Nature Reserve, Moor Lane, York YO32 2RE
– Time from York – 10 minutes (approx)