Duncombe Park National Nature Reserve



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The woodland and wood pasture of the Duncombe Park NNR, near Helmsley, contains some of England’s oldest and tallest trees, and is situated in the grounds of the Duncombe Park, a country house built in 1713. This protected parkland is in the valley of the River Rye and is home to many great gnarled veteran trees providing a home for rare invertebrates and fungi in their dead and dying limbs, rot holes and hollow trunks. Birds found here all year round include all three species of woodpecker, nuthatch and the elusive hawfinch, which in summer are joined by pied flycatcher and redstart. In spring the woodland floor is covered in sheets of bluebells, primroses and wild garlic. The River Rye flows through the reserve and is home to many rare insects, trout, otters and birds such as dipper, grey wagtail, kingfisher, grey heron and sand martin.

Duncombe Park National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire, with its two National Parks and two designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is England’s largest county and one of the most rural. This is prime walking country, from the heather-clad heights of the North York Moors to the limestone country that is so typical of the Yorkshire Dales – a place of contrasts and discoveries, of history and legend.

The coastline offers its own treasures, from the fishing villages of Staithes and Robin Hood Bay to Scarborough, one time Regency spa and Victorian bathing resort. In the 1890s, the quaint but bustling town of Whitby provided inspiration for Bram Stoker, who set much of his novel, Dracula, in the town. Wizarding enthusiasts head to the village of Goathland, which is the setting for the Hogwarts Express stop at Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter films.

York is a city of immense historical significance. It was capital of the British province under the Romans in AD 71, a Viking settlement in the 10th century, and in the Middle Ages its prosperity depended on the wool trade. Its city walls date from the 14th century and are among the finest in Europe. However, the gothic Minster, built between 1220 and 1470, is York’s crowning glory.


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