Skylark Centre & Nature Reserve, Drax

When you think of power stations, greenery and wildlife doesn’t exactly spring to mind, so we were delighted to find this absolutely beautiful nature reserve in the shadow of Drax! There are a number of trails to follow, but we followed the red route.

Location: Skylark Centre and Barlow Nature Reserve, Park Lane, Barlow, Selby YO8 8JW

Opening & cost: Open to the public at weekends 10am-4pm. Park outside the gate, and you must leave contact details. Free to enter.

Distance: Various- the red route is approximately 4km

Accessibility: Whilst there are rubble tracks which would have been suitable for buggies (including a track to the pond dipping), the red route is not suitable for buggies.

Facilities: Toilets are on site (and were lovely and clean!). Picnic benches dotted around the site. Activities for children include pond dipping and a wooden train!

Website and more information here.

On entry to the reserve there are a few animals and birds to look at, before approaching a wooden train that the kids enjoyed playing in. We followed the red route, that initially took us into some woodland with lots of dens dotted about!

After leaving the woodland, it was a fairly short walk along a well signposted track to the pond dipping area. It was BY FAR the most successful pond dipping we’ve ever done- our nets caught 3 fish, numerous backswimmers, water beetle lava, a water spider and a mayfly nymph!

The rest of the walk then headed up through woodland and fields. It was beautiful scenery (given how close we were to Drax I was amazed we barely saw the power station), with SO MUCH wildlife. We saw butterflies and rabbits, a badgers set, and we didn’t see deer this time but they’re very common too!

We returned the the start of the walk, where the visitor centre has some good toilets and a picnic area, a big hotel- and the wooden train nearby! There’s other things to explore- but we’ll just have to leave that for another time!

Other family walks in the area include Barlow Common and a Brayton Barff