North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Forge Valley Woods National Nature Reserve

Forge Valley Woods National Nature ReserveForge Valley Woods National Nature Reserve

Teeming with wildlife, this beautiful National Nature reserve on the banks of the River Derwent provides a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy the plants and animals of this ancient woodland.

As its name suggests, there used to be a forge here. The woods were coppiced to provide charcoal to smelt the locally mined ironstone. Today you can see alder and willow in the valley bottom, with ash and wych elm further up the slopes. 

There is a geology trail through the woods which you can download here or follow our easy access Forge Valley Woods trail.

What else to look out for:

  • Nuthatch
  • Treecreeper
  • Green warbler
  • Black cap
  • Otter
  • Crayfish
  • Sanicle
  • Toothwort
  • Orchids


There is an easy access trail from the Old Man's Mouth Picnic Site which follows the River Derwent through the woodland. The route follows a fairly level, wooden boardwalk for its entire length. There are plenty of passing places which double up as viewing platforms and numerous seats along the way.