YWT North Cave Wetlands

Avocet (c) Mandy WestAvocet (c) Mandy West

Just half an hour from Hull, this rapidly growing wetland already has big reputation for some impressive wildlife and plenty of great ways to enjoy it.

Why visit?

The patchwork of habitats is key to North Cave’s popularity with nature and visitors alike with deep lakes, wet grassland, gravel islands, reedbed and hedgerows all to be discovered. Leading the cast of more than 200 birds found at the site is the iconic avocet, with marsh harriers often passing through and colourful ducks brightening a winter visit. Summer sees the skies hum with more than two dozen types of butterflies and dragonflies too.

Where is it?

Dryham Lane, North Cave HU15 2LY (OS Landranger 106 Grid reference: SE 886328)

This reserve is clearly signposted from the village of North Cave Wetlands and from the A1079 near Market Weighton. Take a look at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website before you go.

What can I expect to see?

Spring: The reserve becomes a hive of activity, with breeding avocet, common tern, little ringed plover, lapwing and redshank. Reed and sedge warblers deliver their scratchy songs from deep within the reedbed, while sand martin and kingfisher nest in the sand cliffs of the quarry, and grassland areas are home skylarks and lapwing.

Summer: Butterflies – including a small colony of brown argus - are joined by dragonflies like the four spotted chaser and the often inquisitive southern hawker, which will fly in close to investigate visitors! Their nemesis the hobby, a summer visitor from Africa may swoop in for a quick meal. The islands and wetland fringes play host to young birds finding their feet - and wings - for the first time.

Autumn: Dropping water levels prove attractive for passage migrant wading birds like the little stint and the chance of rarer species.

Winter: Another great time to visit as ducks such as goldeneye, pochard, shoveler, gadwall and teal gather on the islands alongside lapwings, redshank and occasional visitors like ruff. Barn owl, red kite and peregrine often pay a visit too, as do marsh harriers exploring from their summer haunts along the Humber. Hedges and crops support finches and buntings, and the feeding station is always busy.

Make a day of it and visit these nearby sites

YWT North Cliffe Wood

Bluebells, woodlarks and woodpeckers can be found at this woodland and heathland site just moment's away from YWT North Cave Wetlands

Photo (c) Jono Leadley

RSPB Blacktoft Sands

A half hour drive south of the river takes you to the marsh harriers, bitterns and bearded tits of this reedbed nature reserve

Photo (c) Nick Brown

YWT Wheldrake Ings

A 45 drive north takes you to this superb site for massive flocks of waterfowl during winter and haymeadow flowers during summer

Photo (c) Jo Richards