The coastal town of Scarborough is unique, home to many local nature reserves and areas of natural interest. Porpoises off the marine drive, and Peregrine Falcons on the castle headland are some of the local sightseeing natural wonders which Scarborough has to offer. The Borough of Scarborough however also includes the resorts of Whitby and Filey and numerous intervening coastal villages. Scarborough Borough Council’s area stretches inland onto the North York Moors, taking in forest districts of Wykeham, Langdale and Harwood Dale, along the Vale of Pickering as far west as Snainton and up onto the north eastern corner of the Yorkshire Wolds as far as Foxholes and Folkton Wold then across to the high cliffs at Speeton.
Areas of interest:
Burton Riggs Nature Reserve
The network of lakes and ponds in this reserve make it a wonderful place for wildfowl and amphibians. Being nestled between industrial and residential areas makes this a little natural gem for locals to visit. Autumn and Winter are especially good times to visit if you’re interested in birds as little egret, tufted duck and pochard make their visits here. Great crested newts are also known to live in the small ponds at the reserve. for more information on the reserve, looked after by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, click here.
Harland Mount Nature Reserve
This site is a small patch of unspoiled grassland within the area of Scarborough. It is best visited within the summer months of May, June and the beginning of July, when the numerous wildflowers are open and attract hoards of buzzing bees, butterflies and more. To read more about the reserve, looked after by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, click here.
Situated in the North Bay area of Scarborough, this park is in the optimal place for visiting. The large stretch of woodland provides a wonderful array of trees to admire, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a friendly squirrel or two. Kingfishers frequent the Peasholm Glen stream and gulls and waterfowl reside on the lake, swimming between paddle boats in tourist season. Peasholm Park Friends group helps promote the park.
Hidden down a winding road on the wooded coastal area of Scarborough lies Hayburn Wyke, a small water feature which trickles straight into the sea. Surrounded by a woodland reserve, this beach makes quite a different scene to the common beach types you visit at Scarborough’s South Bay or North Bay. Click here for a walking leaflet with a map of the site.
Filey Brigg and Filey Country Park
Filey is a Victorian seaside resort sheltered to the north by a prong of fossil-packed Jurassic limestone, known as Filey Brigg. A reknowned spot for rocky seashore studies it has in recent years even begun to accommodate the expansion of the nearby Bempton Cliffs seabird colony, including Kittiwakes, for which the Special Protection Area for Birds was extended north to Filey. Inland, tucked incongruously at the end of a residential housing estate, Filey Dams is a real gem of a wetland reserve, frequented by Roe Deer, Barn Owls, amphibians and a host of waders and wildfowl. The Dams regularly turns up rarities during migration times for wading birds. The reserve, leased to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, is managed expertly by a partnership with Filey Bird Observatory and Group (FBOG) Click here for reserve visiting info from YWT, here for the reserve listing on the FBOG website. A full run-down of sites looked after by FBOG is here.