Skipwith Common is one of the last remaining lowland heaths in the north of England, famous for its wildlife. A project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore Skipwith Common and to increase the appreciation and involvement of local communities began in 2003. A Friends of Skipwith Common group now has more than 150 members .
The group has transformed the Common from a site damaged by illegal off-road motorbiking and fly tipping to a wildlife rich heath. Twice-monthly practical work parties compliment the on going site management. Anti-social and damaging behaviour has been dramatically reduced.
Evening meetings in the local pub and guided walks provide more social elements to the groups activities.
- Skipwith Common declared a National Nature Reserve, 17 December 
According to Natural England, "Occupying 274 hectares within the Escrick Park Estate, Skipwith Common is of international importance for its wet and dry heathland, and is home to a wide variety of rare heathland plants and a rich collection of dragonflies and other invertebrates. There are over 70 species of breeding birds including nightjars and woodlarks, as well as large populations of great crested newts and water voles.
Over the years Skipwith Common has benefited from the careful management of its owner, the Escrick Park Estate, and in 2008 the Estate joined forces with Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme to support wildlife-friendly land management and conservation. A range of conservation measures are in place and old breeds such as Hebridean sheep, Longhorn cattle and Exmoor ponies help to stop scrub taking over the heath."
Brian Elsey, co-ordinator of the Friends of Skipwith Common: 'Both my wife and I have benefited greatly from volunteering on Skipwith Common. We have increased our knowledge of wildlife, landscape history and archaeology, have made many new friends and enjoyed helping to improve Skipwith Common for everybody'.
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- Natural England, March 18 2008