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Strid Woods Strid Woods - Credit: Whitfield Benson

Strid Wood and The Strid

Location: Between Bolton Abbey and Barden Bridge, Wharfedale

Grid reference: SE065563

Strid Wood and the Strid are owned and managed by the Bolton Abbey Estate and are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Strid Wood is said to be one of the best places to see ancient semi-natural sessile oak woodland in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The wood is set either side of the River Wharfe as it runs through a steep sided valley, between the Cavendish Pavillion and the Strid Visitor Centre on the estate.

The oak woodland on the northern side of the river has an understory of holly, downy birch and hazel and an acidic ground flora including woodrush and bilberry, which reflects the acidic nature of the underlying Millstone Grit. In contrast, where there is a calcareous influence from the underlying carboniferous limestone, the understory consists of wych elm and alder and the ground flora includes species such as opposite-leaved golden saxifrage and mountain melick.

The woodland on the southern side of the river has had more human intervention in the past. Here, beech, sycamore, poplar, larch and douglas fir have been planted amongst the native oak and ash woodland. The soil on this side of the river is less acidic and the ground flora includes bluebells, dog’s mercury, ramsons, sanicle and the uncommon yellow star of Bethlehem. Strid Wood is also one of the best places to see woodland mosses, liverworts, fungi, lichens, molluscs and birds in the National Park. Bird species that may be seen or heard include the pied flycatcher, wood warbler and goosander on the river. It is the dramatic series of waterfalls and rapids on this part of the River Wharfe which are known as the Strid.