The Howardian Hills is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), comprising of a wide range of landscapes, such as woodlands, parklands and farmland which sit on Jurassic limestone. The hills provide breathtaking view, with the Vale of York and Mowbray lying to the west, and the Vale of Pickering and Yorkshire Wolds to the east. The hills support wide areas of woodland, consisting of a mix of semi-natural and plantation woodlands.
Walking around the Howardian Hills can be very rewarding, with rolling hills, secluded woodlands and babbling brooks all to be seen on walks long or short. The areas in and around Castle Howard are of particular interest. There are walks to be done which run through many of the old villages surrounding the Castle, providing an interesting stop off during your travels. The Howardian Hills website provides a list of walks of varying difficulty and length, as well as a map of the area here.
There are several areas of interest within the Howardian Hills:
The River Derwent passes through the Howardian Hills on its way to the Humber Estuary. It is a Special Area of conservation, being home to otter, river lamprey and bullhead.
The arboretum is home to many species of trees, many of which are labeled to provide information for passers by. Between the trees are numerous ponds and wildflower meadows, which combined, make this area a beautiful place to visit. These habitats provide a perfect setting for a wide range of insects, including many species of beetle. In addition to that, over 225 wild plants have been recorded, along with 75 bird species, and 9 mammals. For more information, click here.
Jeffry Bog Nature Reserve
This small reserve holds a surprising amount of habitats which make this a beautiful place to see. Down on the ground the grasslands are full of wildflowers including orchids, whilst up in the sky there are regular sightings of buzzards. Other birds of interest in the area are barn owls, kingfishers, goosander and common tern. For more information on this site, click here.