Drax Skylark Centre and Nature Reserve

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Drax Skylark Centre, at Barlow near Selby in North Yorkshire, is a great place for adults and children. There is only one way in through a security gate where your details will be taken in case of emergency. Entrance is free and there is ample parking. This nature reserve is situated in the widely-acclaimed Barlow Mound Ash disposal scheme together with agricultural land, meadows and hedgerows with long established woodland has made a haven for over 100 species of wildlife. It has also been specially designed to help school children to understand more about the natural habitat and ecology of the area. The centre has a classroom and laboratory facilities where teachers and students can learn, discuss and investigate the many aspects of nature in this wonderful area. There is an outside learning area too, which is covered, for outdoor learning and for lunch time picnics. The wild flower meadows, blue bell wood and fenton’s pond create ideal settings to capture children’s imagination and develop their investigative skills in the cycle and pollination of flowering plants. At fentons pond the schoolchildren use dipping nets and trays to catch the pond life and then take their captures back to the laboratory for examination with microscopes and hand lenses. There are four nature trail walks all colour coded with red, yellow, blue and orange arrows all of different lengths from 40 minutes to 2 hours. Whilst walking the trails keep an eye open for roe deer, rabbits, squirrels, herons, sparrow hawks, chaffinches, fungi, wildflowers, bees, dragonflies and insects etc. We were lucky enough to see a badger eating in a field as you will see in our film. The centre is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm (please note that the centre is no longer open on Wednesday’s) and all children under 14 years must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs and horses are not allowed. Do not forget to bring your camera and a packed lunch to make a great day of this wonderful reserve.

We walk out of the car par and decide to take the red route which takes you to the top of the reserve where there is a viewing point looking down onto the mound construction area. You will be given a map of the walks on entry so you choose which walk or combination of walks you wish to take.

Our next walk will be at Barlow Common Nature Reserve which is just at the other end of Barlow. That’s two nature reserves within a mile and two great days out!


A mostly flat, easy walk with a few inclines and declines.


Mileage is to suit your self using OS map 290 and also a map of the reserve will be provided by the attendant at the gate.


Drax Skylark Centre is at the end of the village of Barlow near Selby.


From Selby take the A1041, not the A63, towards Goole and Hull. Barlow is approx 2.5 miles on the left. Take this road on the left and follow it to the roundabout at the end of the no through road and Drax Skylark centre and Nature Reserve entrance is opposite.

Toilets and Refeshments

There are toilets at the Skylark Centre in the car park area.
There are no refreshments nearest place is Selby.

3 responses to “Drax Skylark Centre and Nature Reserve”

  1. Roger Isles says:

    I wonder, as part of the nature scene you would be interested in Two or three Bee hives in the wood part of the skylark centre. I would, of course place them away from the tracks and would be responsible for their up keep, as I am retired I would be happy to talk to any groups about them.

  2. thetaxidriverj says:

    Hi Rodger
    We feel that Drax is doing a great job with conservation in their Nature Reserve. Sorry we cannot take up your offer, we do the filming in our spare time and we wanted to show people
    what a wonderful place Drax Skylark Centre is. We think the mixture of wildlife from the bees to the badger is fantastic.
    John and Janice (The Taxi Driver)

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