Crambeck Village Woodland Nature trail is a narrow strip of land (Gillylees Plantation), at the northern edge of the village, running for about 250 metres along the edge of the Crambeck stream, from the A64 road bridge down to the ‘drain’ at the eastern end of village.
The nature trail was developed in the 1970s, when the land was part of Castle Howard Reformatory. One of the teachers, George Pope, worked with pupils to create the trail and pond. They are said to have catalogued hundreds of species of wildlife, but sadly those records were lost when the Reformatory closed down.
The area upstream is a designated ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation’ or SINC thanks to its excellent bio-diversity. The Crambeck stretch also has a good range of wildlife. We have started making our own records of flora and fauna and would welcome any sightings you can add to ours.
Flora and Fauna
- Trees – The trail is heavily wooded with mature sycamore, oak, ash and horse chestnut. Smaller trees include hazel, elder, holly, beech, silver birch and guilder rose.
- Birds – Bird species sighted here include wren, tree-creeper, nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker, grey wagtail, long-tailed tit and even kingfishers.
- Wildflowers – In the spring the woodland is carpeted with wildflowers such as celandine, wood anemone, snowdrop, wild garlic and bluebells. A good range of wildflowers can also be seen around the pond including marsh marigold, flag iris, water forget-me-not, figwort, water avens and purple loosestrife. A wildflower bed nearby was planted with seeds and in the future we hope to see dog and sweet violet, field scabious, woodruff, snake’s head fritillary and foxglove amongst others.
- Mammals – Field signs / tracks of deer, fox, badger, wood mice and bank voles are commonly seen. We would welcome any recent sightings of otter or water voles here.
- Amphibians – Frogs, toads and newts have been seen around the pond area.
Recent improvements to the Nature trail
Since the village was established many residents worked on maintaining the nature trail.Recent improvements have included:
- Creating a safe access route from the top of the village
- Putting up bird boxes – Planting bluebell bulbs and wildflower seeds
- Providing a waste bin for dog walkers
- Re-building the steep steps at the bottom end of the village to create a circular walk
- Restoring the woodland pond and re-planting with native plant species so as to encourage amphibians (newts and frogs) and beneficial insects (dragonflies) to breed around the pond.
- Maintenance work on the trees
We plan to maintain the paths and steps on a regular basis. If there is any interest we will organise some family wildlife events. We hope that Crambeck residents and friends will continue to appreciate the trail and will support our efforts to conserve the wildlife here.