Skipton Castle Woods
Managed by the Woodland Trust
For nearly a thousand years Skipton Castle Woods provided fuel, building materials and food to the castle it surrounds. And the waterways that run through it gave power to local wool, corn and saw mills across two centuries.
The forest was carefully managed for firewood, timber and for hunting, while the beck provided fresh water and plenty of fish. But through all this management and heavy usage the spirit of the woods has never changed. It's still one of the most beautiful, serene sites Spend a couple of hours following the valley of the Eller Beck, sit and admire some stunning views, soak up the peace and the history. You'll go home recharged!
The Wood is dominated by Ash, grown to full height for good quality timber. at least seventeen other tree species flourish here too, including Oak, Hornbeam, Lime, Chestnut, Rowan and Sloe.
Some aren't native to our woods, but were planted either for decoration or for cash. Conifers like the Scots pine and Norway spruce in the northern section, for instance, were planted in the 50's and 60's to feed what seemed an insatiable demand for softwoods.
At Skipton Castle Woods, we are watching the sycamores closely, too. It's not a native tree, but it spreads very quickly, creating shade and hindering native tree regeneration.
Generally though, even non-native and coniferous trees will be left, since they are home to their own special communities of plants, animals and lichens, and reflect the diverse history of the site.
It is a wonderful place for wildlife - and especially for bats with strong teeth!
Well over 160 flowering plants, trees, grasses, sedges and ferns flourish in Skipton Castle Woods, including some rare orchids. The less rare but still beautiful early purple and common spotted orchids grow here too.
And of course, butterflies love them!
How to get here
There are over 2000 metres of surfaced trails within the wood, although the path along the top of the wood is very steep and unsuitable for the less able.