Tuesday, 1 January 2013

YWT Little Beck Wood - 1 January 2013

On to Little Beck Wood near Sleights just off the Whitby Road. This was my first proper use of Discover Yorkshire's Wildlife and the directions were spot on. It is a very steep descent down to Little Beck and the numerous grit bins suggest it is treacherous in snowy or icy conditions. Fortunately, today was a balmy 6 degrees so we had no problems with traction, despite the heavy load of Christmas-food-stuffed passengers and dog!

We parked just before the ford by a Little Beck interpretation sign, adjacent to the Methodist Chapel. Note this area should be kept clear 2-4pm on a Sunday for chapel goers. The entrance to Little Beck Wood was over some stepping stones which would have been tricky if the beck had been in spate. Willow was quite happy walking through it up to her belly, but I had to toss the kids over, much to their delight.

Despite the glorious sunshine, the wood sits in a valley bottom and so the sun was not reaching us as we ambled up the sloping rocky path. Before the first bend in the path, we enjoyed a small waterfall along the beck. There are Dippers round here - we didn't see or hear any, though it does look good for them. The woods are truly magnificent with some really tall Ash and other trees. Lots of Holly and Cherry in the understorey too, plus a bit of Honeysuckle. Among the plants noticed were Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage and Wood Sorrel, still recognisable in the depths of winter. There were a lot of impressive ferns, a group I am rubbish at identifying - maybe I will learn them this year! I did recognise the large clumps of Hart's Tongue Fern by the entrance however - see the second photo - above. Not sure what this one below is though!

Bird-wise, quite quiet as you would expect at this time of year, but Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Marsh Tit all noted, plus the usual common woodland stuff. At the top of the slope we warmed ourselves in the weak sunlight and had a squidge in the mud. Amazingly, nobody fell over in it, though Willow got filthy. She washed off in the beck by the car though, so was quite happy.

All in all a lovely site in a spectacularly picturesque location. We all vowed to come back in the summer, when the wood will undoubtedly be alive with birdsong and full of flowers.


  1. Excellent idea Jono, and look forward to following your exploits throughout the year. I've linked you to Northern Rustic as a favourite. Let me know when you come to the Dams.... Happy new year, Mark

    1. Thanks Mark - Happy New Year to you too!
      I will hopefully be heading out east a week on Saturday family permitting, so may get a chance to do the Dams.

  2. Adelaide looks overjoyed to be joining you on your quest... ; )