To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies

Birdwatching & Wildlife in Harrogate & District

With wildlife around every corner, any walk in Harrogate District, even just a short one, will reward wildlife lovers.  For a real treat there is a selection of walks, viewing locations and attractions we would recommend.

Nidderdale AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is home to many wildlife species, some of which are considered to be endangered species.

Click to see our Wildlife Wall for more of the animals that live in the Harrogate area.

The AONB’s beautiful moorland heather and blanket bog supports many habitats with upland hay meadows displaying wild flowers. These moorlands also provide an ideal environment for amphibians and reptiles, and skylark can often be heard, though not always seen due to the heights they fly to. 

It may be a rare sight but otters have been seen frolicking in the river Nidd up as far as Darley and Summerbridge.

Discover a wealth of walks and some hidden gems along your way, have your binoculars at the ready for lapwings, curlew, snipe and black grouse.

Birdwatchers will also delight in spotting red kites and buzzards. A question often asked is how can you tell the difference? The answer: buzzards have broader wings and shorter less defined tails and if you can hear it, it’s a very probably a buzzard.

You will also find family learning trails to explore and interesting facts, things you never knew about nature and the surroundings especially aimed at young school children.

There are nature reserves hosting natural flora where oyster catchers, willow warblers and flycatchers nest and feed happily in idyllic surroundings.  Geese and waterfowl are easily observed at the many reservoirs in the area, especially in the Washburn Valley.

Explore unforgettable heritage sites, reservoirs, beautiful woodlands and riverside paths all with their own inhabitants and many stunning and surprising views.

With all this there is also great accommodation from relaxing country Inns and homely B&B’s to luxurious spa hotels, as well as welcoming pubs and eateries. 

So make sure you plan a short stay or longer to explore the amazing wildlife on our doorstep.

Number of items:

Number of items: 10

  1. Scar House Reservoir

    Add Scar House Reservoir to your Itinerary

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - from 32 review(s)from 32 review(s)

    Scar House Reservoir

    Type

    Dark Sky Site

    Pateley Bridge

    This stunning reservoir built in the 1930 from over 1 million tons of masonry stands 55 metres tall above the River Nidd and is a popular spot for walkers, cyclists and sightseers.

    Building the reservoir in such a remote spot necessitated not only the building a railway up the valley, but also…

  2. Studfold Adventure Trails

    Add Studfold Adventure Trails to your Itinerary

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - from 122 review(s)from 122 review(s)

    Studfold Adventure Trails

    Type

    Nature Trail

    Pateley Bridge

    A Magical Family Countryside Experience - The fairy village of 'Two Stone Wishes' has magically appeared! Discover the hidden code to unlock the gateway to reveal Studfold's magical wood and the secret hidden treasure box! 

    Studfold Adventure Trail is situated in stunning countryside, an area…

  3. Fewston Reservoir

    Add Fewston Reservoir to your Itinerary

    Fewston Reservoir

    Type

    Dark Sky Site

    Pateley Bridge

    Fewston Reservoir lies in the Washburn Valley, and offer a choice of walks and nature watching for visitors.  Easily accessible from the A59 Fewston Reservoir sits directly above Swinsty Reservoir, and at the lower end the two share a car park.

    Fewston supplies water to Leeds, and the remains…

  4. Gouthwaite Reservoir Nature Reserve

    Add Gouthwaite Reservoir Nature Reserve to your Itinerary

    Gouthwaite Reservoir Nature Reserve

    Type

    Bird Watching

    Pateley Bridge

    Gouthwaite Reservoir Nature Reserve and its site of Special Scientific Interest attracts a wonderfully wide range of wetland birds as well as some of the most majestic raptors in the area.

    Gouthwaite Reservoir Nature Reserve has a car park and picnic area which operates on an honesty box…

  5. Thruscross Reservoir

    Add Thruscross Reservoir to your Itinerary

    Thruscross Reservoir

    Type

    Dark Sky Site

    Pateley Bridge

    Thurscruss Reservoir is highest of the four reservoirs in the Washburn Valley, and as such has a more remote and desolate feel.  The dam itself is a dramatic concrete structure that stretches across the steep sided valley.

    Thruscross reservoir is also known as West End, after the village that…

  6. Thruscross Reservoir - Walk

    Add Thruscross Reservoir - Walk to your Itinerary

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - from 39 review(s)from 39 review(s)

    Thruscross Reservoir - Walk

    Type

    Walking Route

    Pateley Bridge

    This walk of 4.5 miles follows the edge of Thruscross Reservoir, the top most and newest reservoir of the Washburn Valley.

    Often referred to as ‘West End’ after the village it swallowed up, Thruscross is famous for the appearance of the village when water levels hit severe lows.

    Thruscross…

  7. Hackfall Woods

    Add Hackfall Woods to your Itinerary

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - from 100 review(s)from 100 review(s)

    Hackfall Woods

    Type

    Forest

    Masham

    Hackfall is a stunning woodland site near Masham, with lakes, waterfalls, follies and an intricate network of paths to explore stretching along the banks of the River Ure.

    There is something about the wild splendour of Hackfall Woods that simply inspires creativity.

    Nineteenth century writers…

  8. Washburn Valley Birds Walk

    Add Washburn Valley Birds Walk to your Itinerary

    Washburn Valley Birds Walk

    Type

    Walking Route

    Harrogate

    Wander through woodland, along river banks and admire views of the reservoir and the Washburn Valley. Historically this walk is very interesting with a packhorse bridge, Dob Park and a monk's trail.

    Nearest village: Timble. Length: 6.5 miles (10.5km).   Time (approx): 3 hours.   Difficulty:…

  9. Stave

    Add Staveley Nature Reserve to your Itinerary

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - from 46 review(s)from 46 review(s)

    Staveley Nature Reserve

    Type

    Nature Reserve

    Knaresborough

    The 84 hectare Staveley Nature Reserve consists of a shallow lagoon edged with reedswamp, fen and flower-rich grassland with scrub and pasture.

    The reserve features a number of different plant communities, most of which can be seen from the public footpath.

    Over 230 plant species are found,…

  10. Stainburn Forest MTB Trails & Walks

    Add Stainburn Forest MTB Trails & Walks to your Itinerary

    Stainburn Forest MTB Trails & Walks

    Type

    Cycle Route

    Harrogate

    The man made mountain bike trails at Stainburn Forest offer a selection of short routes that reward repeated riding and test any riders ability. 

    The forest also provides habitats for a variety of bird and wildlife and offers rich and diverse fauna.

    Stainburn Forest is high on technical…

Book Accommodation

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Check-in date
Add Room

Search Things to Do

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search What's On

Type:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Date

Search Shopping

Type:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Food & Drink

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Conferences

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Things to Do

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Now featuring traveller reviews from TripAdvisor.