Tune into birdlife on a walk around Bishopthorpe village

The walking routes through the countryside around Bishopthorpe village must be THE most delightful walks in the York area. The walks have everything you need for a great day out, and can be walked time and time again without getting bored.

You’ll find river views, open skies, interesting trees, birdlife galore, a beautiful old church and cemetery, the Solar System Greenway, a giant bridge sculpture, a haunted pub, a Palace, fabulous cafes and even a farm shop and garden centre – Brunswick Organic Nursery.

From Bishopthorpe village, you can take a number of interesting walking loops of about an hour and a half. My favourite is to head down the river to Acaster Malbis and back along Acaster Lane and the Solar System Greenway.

Guy from I-Travel York has produced a lovely map of one route in the area as part of the Exploring York series – see https://www.itravelyork.info/downloads/file/55/008-bishopthorpe-to-acaster-malbis-return.

Tuning into nature

It’s a wonderful walk to do in winter as bird activity and song surround you as you go. There’s the hubbub of excited treetop starlings, the thrum of geese wings overhead, the chatter of cheerful sparrows from bushes, caws from crows in trees along the route, ground rustling from busy blackbirds, and the bubbling, haunting calls of curlews across the fields. And more!

As you walk, and hear the sounds of birdlife, why not pause for a moment to listen? Listen, really listen, until the sounds from the birds become the only sound in your mind.

Do you know what sort of bird it is? Can you get a good look at it too? If it’s a new bird sound, try to remember it or record it on your phone. You can then have a go at identifying it at home. The RSPB has an excellent online guide to identifying birds by their sounds here.

You could also get involved with friends and family later this month in the Big Garden Birdwatch and “discover the drama on your doorstep”. The Birdwatch runs from 29 to 31 January 2021.

When you get home, do take a moment to recall how you felt in that moment of listening, and shortly afterwards. Did you feel more centred and calmer? A recent study found that listening to a diversity of birdsong can actually make you happier too!


Bishopthorpe is a lovely bike ride down the Greenway from York, with cycle parking outside the library on Main Street, or there are regular buses from York. You can see the York to Bishopthorpe/ Naburn Greenway cycle route here.

As a treat before or after your walk, a visit to But First Café on Main Street is always a delicious event! Or there’s the York Marina café a short walk from Naburn Bridge. To reach the Marina, take a left off the Greenway after the Bridge by the Trust Hut, then along the road to the Marina just outside Naburn.

Accessibility: the footpath along the river has a rough surface and several stiles. An accessible route (with hard surfacing, no steps, stiles, steep gradients or narrowing barriers) is along the Greenway from Bishopthorpe village, down the ramp just before Naburn Bridge and left along Acaster Lane to Acaster Malbis.

Giving something back

Birds really appreciate our help with food, drink and shelter at his time of year. Why not give their water and feeding station a top up on your return? The Wildlife Trusts have put together a handy guide to feeding birds and even instructions on how to make your own bird feeder!

You can find other Nature Time routes across York through the seasons from us here. Enjoy time in Nature on a green route walk or ride – all year round!

Finally, we rely on donations and grants to fund our work towards a healthy, green and kind York. You can donate at www.givey.com/yorkbikebelles.

#tuneintobirdlife  #naturetimeroutes #walkcyclelife #exploringyork #wellbeing #healthygreenkindYork