Welcome to Clifton Backies!

Clifton Backies Nature Reserve is located in historic York, and has a very interesting story to tell. In May 2002 Clifton Backies was designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) because of its diverse wildlife, its recreational open space and its potential for education.


The diverse habitats of Clifton Backies support many different species of mammal, bird, insect and plant life. We have provided a map for you to discover what flora and fauna you can expect to find in the different areas.

Clifton Backies has had a long and varied history. In recent memory the site was part of the former Clifton Airfield but after its last use in the Berlin Airlift in the late 1940’s, it was allowed to return to nature. Originally the land belonged to St Mary’s Abbey and would have been used for growing arable crops. After the dissolution of the monasteries the land was part of a furlong or field known as ‘Moor Broats’ and cultivated under the strip farming system in medieval times. The current ridge and furrow appearance of the fields is a result of this.