The semi ancient woodland on the banks is a buzzing wildlife habitat © Joe Cornish

The semi ancient woodland on the banks is a buzzing wildlife habitat

Open to the elements

Rievaulx Terrace is situated above the wooded Rye valley and within the North York Moors national park. It is open to the elements and home to a lot of nature and wildlife.

Wooded banks

  • The black and yellow cinnabar caterpillar turns into a red and black moth © Rievaulx Terrace, National Trust

    Cinnabar Caterpillar

    Spot these brightly coloured caterpillars that dine on Ragwort making them poisonous.

  • Early Purple Orchid - one of the summer flowers you can see on the reserve © Robin Sutton

    Early Purple Orchid

    Growing wild on our banks this species is often mistaken for the common spotted orchid.

  • Oak leaf in a National Trust forest © Simon Fraser

    Ancient trees

    These semi-natural ancient woods and their undisturbed soils make it a valuable natural habitat.<...

Woodland residents

  • A Roe Deer at Holford Combe © Dennis Harker


    Blending into the wooded backdrop the finely built, fast moving and shy deer can be tricky to spo...

  • A badger emerges from his sett © NTPL/NaturePL/Colin Seddon


    These nocturnal animals are sociable, living in groups and staying in a sett for many generations...

  • Meet Mount Grace Priory's famous inhabitants © Nigel Cope

    Stoats and weasels

    Keep your eyes peeled for stoats which use their fur as a camouflage to hide from predatory owls....

Taking a closer look

  • Frogs, toads, newts and beetles hide under the leaves
  • Different species of snails climb up the trunks of the trees
  • During the summer months we have lots of butterflies and hoverflies
  • Bees and insects flutter and buzz over the wildflower banks

Bird watching paradise

Birds can be seen everywhere throughout Rievaulx, particularly around the bird feeding area. Many types of bird boxes are positioned through the woods, including robin, blue tit, great tit and even owl and kestrel boxes. We also have an ongoing nest box project in the lower woodland for pied flycatchers. High up the on the Terrace a lot of open sky can be seen, this gives the opportunity to see many birds.

On selected days, we are giving you the chance to watch an ornithologist bird ringing and learn about the benefits. Contact us for details.

Why not make use of our joint ticket to spot wildlife at our sister property Nunnington Hall located on the banks of the River Rye.



 © NTPL/NaturePL/Niall Benvie

Can be seen swooping along the vistas hunting for small birds which feed among the hazel and rowans.


 © Jim Parry

Circling on the thermals above the valley, advertising their presence with mewing calls.

Green woodpeckers

It's easier to hear than see the shy green woodpecker © Jans Canon

Daily ‘yaffles’ remind us the often heard but rarely seen birds are nearby.