Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator website

Clifton Backies Local Nature Reserve - Parks and open spaces directory


Clifton Backies Local Nature Reserve
Water Lane
Rawcliffe and Clifton Without


Managed by Clifton Backies Management Board with close links to City of York Council and the Friends of Clifton Backies.

Clifton Backies was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 2002. It is situated between Bootham Stray and Water Lane in Clifton Without. This area has seen varied use over the centuries, from arable fields in monastic times to an airfield in World War II. Surviving historic features include the ridges and furrows created by medieval ox ploughs, the concrete airfield paths that provide level access today and the old blast shelters.


Walks around the Backies can be rewarding anytime of year and the mixture of wildlife and history makes for an interesting experience as you explore the site on foot. There are two main walks around the site, there's the inner path which is made up entirely of concrete path (Ideal for a short stroll in winter) and there's an outer route which although well trodden and easy to follow, does take you away from the beaten path!

The inner path should take a good walker approximately 30 minutes to walk and is primarily through woodland passing by a small pond, the outer path takes you through wet meadow, meadow, woodland and black thorn plantations and takes around an hour and ten minutes to walk at a leisurely pace. Keep an eye out for WWII structures and some rare wildlife during your walk! Walking Boots or Wellies are recommended, especially for the outer track, however trainers should be fine on the concrete inner path during summer months and dry periods.


  • Birds: warblers, blackbirds, fieldfares, redwings, herons and kingfishers
  • Animals: water voles, fox, deer and field mouse
  • Wildflowers and grasses: dog's tail, knapweed, red clover, great burnet, pignut
  • Waterside plants: watercress, water forget-me-not

How to get involved

For more information about the site or how to get involved contact The Friends pf Clifton Backies on email:


Open access. The main paths are level and well surfaced.

There are two access points from the car park. Wheelchair access is by the path to the right, as the kissing gate entrance is not suitable for wheelchairs.

Alternative access is through Tatton Close, Herd Close, Headley Close and also through Bootham Stray.

Travel and parking


Buses run frequently from the city centre. Alight at Water Lane.

For up-to-date information about local bus routes see the iTravel York website.


There are no council car parks close to this location.

There are 5 parking spaces in a car park off Woodland Chase on Water Lane.

You can also use available on-street parking in the surrounding streets, showing consideration for local residents.

Managed by
Clifton Backies Management Board