St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Enjoy Nature

Wildflowers on St Nicks
Wildflowers on St Nicks

Come and explore 24 acres of unique green space on the site of a former rubbish tip. St Nicks became a Local Nature Reserve in February 2004 in order to conserve and maintain a diverse range of habitats sustaining wildlife surrounded by urbanisation. It lies a mere mile from the city centre of York in between an industrial zone and a housing estate. For more information on the history of the site, please see the History pages.

Many birds live on or visit the nature reserve and just under 20 species of butterflies have been recorded. There are all kinds of other insects and some mammals too but those are much harder to spot. There is a great variety of plant species, trees and shrubs. Some plants arrived via the city’s rubbish – for example apple and pear trees have grown from discarded pips. Others may have come along an old railway line (now cycle route no.66) and some by escaping the confines of people’s gardens or being carried by animals, birds or the wind. Fruit from the site has been tested and deemed safe for human consumption. Many pies, jellies and jams made in the local area originate at St Nicks, and we celebrate the apples with an annual Apple Day.

See the Site Description for a more detailed account of the local habitats and their inhabitants, and maps of the site. Also check out the Wildlife pages and blog to see what can be found here. Or even better – come for a walk and experience the nature for yourself, come along to one of our events or join our volunteers in looking after the green haven and recording our wildlife.

St Nicks on BBC’s “The One Show”
The YouTube video below was filmed on St Nicks in July 2009 and broadcast as part of The One Show on 19th August 2009 on BBC One. The filming crew spent one and a half days in the nature reserve and we’re very grateful to BBC One for showing off the beauty and wildlife of St Nicks (in contrast to the stinking mess of York’s working landfill site at Harewood Whin!).


This page was last updated 2 Aug 2018