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Nature Reserve

Allerthorpe Common Nature Reserve - Neil Aldridge

Allerthorpe Common Nature Reserve - Neil Aldridge

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Allerthorpe Common lies on river and lake sands, which were deposited during the last glacial period 12-10,000 years ago. The soils are acidic. A variety of habitats, including wet and dry heath, mire, grassland and woodland have formed here.

In the drier areas heather dominates, interspersed with cross-leaved heath and purple moor-grass. In the wetter areas purple moor-grass forms characteristic dense tussocks. Common cottongrass and marsh cinquefoil occur in the wet mire conditions. The range of habitats encourages a very rich variety of invertebrates for an area of only 6.5 hectares. There are many notable species, as well as over 200 different species of moth and 150 species of spider. The ponds hold a number of water beetles and dragonflies are a common sight, darting around the ponds in summer. Species include four- spotted chaser, blue-tailed damselfly and locally occurring black darter. Allerthorpe Common is a particularly good place to see adders and lizards. One of the best times to see adders is on warm days in February when they emerge from hibernation. The reserve is at its best in early summer when the wavy hair-grass adds an atmospheric haze to the heather.

Reserve Management
Considerable management is needed in order to maintain the characteristic heathland communities.
Priority is given to controlling birch scrub, purple moor-grass and bracken.
Hebridean sheep and Highland cattle have both been used for grazing, but sometimes scrub control has to be done by hand.

Visitor facilities in Pocklington
There are no footpaths on the reserve.

Children welcomeDisabled accessDogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Smoking not allowed

Opening details

Please contact for more information.


Please contact for more information.


YO42 4DB



See location of Allerthorpe Common Nature Reserve on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SE 757476  Lat: 53.91953 Long: -0.84836

The reserve is situated ten miles east of York, off the A1079 York-Hull road.

Turn right off the A1079 following the sign to Sutton-upon-Derwent and Thornton.
Take the second left turn, signposted Thornton.
Parking is about half-a-mile along this lane on the right.
Cross the road and walk along the track past the Forest Enterprise gate.
Follow the ride on the left until you come to a junction with a line of pylons.
The reserve is along the track to the right.
The main gate and stile are located in the north-east corner of the reserve.


  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Smoking not allowedSmoking not allowed