Sign on gate for Barlow Common Nature Reserve

Things To Do

Barlow Common Nature Reserve


Pack a picnic and spend a fun family day out at Barlow Common, following the wildlife trail and wooden waymarkers that guide you around the reserve and point out the huge variety of wildlife present, including herons, kingfishers and more.


Barlow Common Nature Reserve, Selby, UK

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Opening Hours

Opening times: Open dawn till dusk.
Best time to visit: March to September, but it is a year round site for ease of access to green space and nature

Barlow Common Nature Reserve, once a rubbish tip, is now a flourishing wildlife rich brownfield site. Tranquil lakes host little grebe and the open grasslands provide a real chance of seeing green woodpecker and also hear them yaffle. Early summer brings the meadow areas alive with common spotted orchids and viper’s bugloss. It is perfect for a family day out. With habitats spanning from wetland and wildflower meadows to mature woodland, this delightful nature reserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife.

Listen out for the loud, laughing call of a green woodpecker and keep an eye out for grass snakes basking in the sun.

In summer, butterflies including peacock, red admiral and painted lady feast on flowering teasels, whilst dramatically-marked cinnabar moth caterpillars are visible on ragwort – striped yellow and black as a vivid warning to would-be predators. Flowers including evening primrose, lady’s bedstraw, wild basil and common centaury provide a stunning display, whilst ox-eye daisies and orchids also draw visitors in.

On the far pond ducks, geese and swans raise young in the spring; whilst under the water dragonfly larvae and newts are waiting to be discovered by intrepid pond dippers!

Come winter the teasels, flowering now ended for the year, provide seeds for incoming flocks of finches. Sharp-eyed visitors may also glimpse a timid roe deer or fox taking a wander.

Further information:

  • Free entry
  • Parking available at the main entrance of the reserve.
  • Disabled parking available when entering from Barlow Common Road.
  • Unsurfaced paths around the reserve, with some boardwalks.
  • A wildlife trail leads visitors around a trail of predominantly oak and birch woodland that often gets missed as it is tucked away in a quiet corner of the reserve.
  • Twenty-five hand-carved wooden waymarkers act as check points around the reserve, alerting visitors to the huge variety of wildlife present.
  • Disabled access available from Barlow Common Road.
  • Toilets are available at the Education Centre (9am-4pm seven days a week), please note there is a ramp plus step to toilets with broad but not fully equipped cubicles.
  • Dogs must be on a lead
  • Children welcome
  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets
  • Disabled parking
  • Dogs accepted
  • Parking
  • Picnic site
  • Public toilets
Wooden marker for the nature trail at Barlow Common
Information Board at the entrance to Barlow Common
Woodland and den at Barlow Common
Wooden bench with carving at Barlow Common
bench and pond at Barlow Common