The NNR is in the grounds of the Duncombe Park, a country house built in 1713.
County: North Yorkshire
Main habitats: Woodland, Wood Pasture
Area: 103 Ha
Link to site map: Nature on the Map
The parkland is in the River Rye valley and is home to many ancient trees. These reflect some of the conditions of the wild wood which covered the valley thousands of years ago.
The trees provide a home for rare invertebrates and fungi, and Duncombe Park is an important site for wood-feeding insects. Rot holes in the trees provide nest and roost sites for birds and bats. Birds found here all year round include three species of woodpecker, nuthatch and the elusive hawfinch. In summer they are joined by pied flycatcher and redstart.
In spring the woodland floor is covered in sheets of bluebells, primroses and wild garlic.
The River Rye flows through the reserve and this is home to many rare insects, trout, otter and birds such as dipper, grey wagtail, kingfisher, grey heron and sand martin.
Duncombe Park is approximately 25 km to the north west of Malton and 1 km south west of Helmsley on the A170. The site is accessed via a minor road from the town. There is car parking in Helmsley and in Duncombe Park.
Helmsley is on the Ebor Way a 112 km trail from Helmsley to Ilkley.
The gardens and parkland have restricted opening times as part of Duncombe Park Estate. Find out more about the House and Gardens at the Duncombe Park Estate website, or telephone 01439 770213. Admission charges apply
The Cleveland Way is a national trail, covering 177km of footpath from Helmsley to Filey on the North Yorkshire coast. The route travels through part of Duncombe Park Estate and passes Rievaulx Terrace, which was also created by the Duncombe family.
Duncombe Park lies within the North York Moors National Park.
There are toilet and refreshment facilities in Helmsley, and in Duncombe Park which has a Parkland Centre shop and tearoom. Parts of the estate are suitable for wheelchair access and wheelchairs can be pre-booked for loan.