Escrick Sidings Nature Reserve and Maze Picnic Spot

When Sustrans purchased what is now the Solar System Greenway in the 1980s for £1.00, they sold on the sidings to Pilcher Homes to use as a landfill site. The money raised was used to surface the cycle path itself. The sale contract with Pilcher Homes included a covenant by which, upon completion of the fill, the site would be reinstated as a nature reserve.

The sales contract failed to include any time limit on the works and, for many years, after being half filled, no further action was taken and nature re-established itself. However, this left the site blighted as the owner could at any time continue the works.

York Greenways, aware that the site, and in particular the Maze, was popular with local residents and schools as a picnic area took it upon themselves to pressure the then owner to complete the works.    About this time persons unknown bulldozed part of the site flat and a lorry load of spoil was deposited. This was noticed and reported to planning enforcement who put a stop to it.  By this time the planning consent had expired and over the following years nature re-instated itself once again. The owner then sold the site on to another company.

Recently, (late February 2018) the bulldozer returned and the site has been levelled, so we must assume the new owner intends to complete the works. York Greenways does not in principle object as it may lift the blight and lead to a permanent Nature Reserve and picnic spot on the site. Issues with Sustrans and the planning authorities need to be resolved and we wait with interest to see what happens next. A group of willing volunteers stands ready to assist in the regeneration of the site once work is complete.



1980, 2010
Ref no
Two photographs
Solar system greenway
  • Decade