Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>About the University>Departments, offices and sections>Support services>Estates and Campus Services>Grounds Maintenance

Maintaining our beautiful campus for staff, students, the public and the resident wildlife.

What we do

We keep the campus looking great and make sure it is fit for purpose. Our work includes grounds maintenance and landscaping, maintaining our sports pitches and surfaces and monitoring our flora and fauna.

Read our Landscape Management Plan

Contact us

Facilities Helpdesk

+44 (0)1904 325555

Helpdesk text banner

Grounds Team blog

Read the Grounds Team's blog to find out more about our work and what's going on around campus.

Read the blog


Apart from the River Ouse, the campus lakes are the largest bodies of water in York and attract many waterfowl. We have a mix of native and introduced species on campus and you can see some of the less camera shy ones on our Instagram.

Help with species identification can be found on the display boards around Campus West lake. If you want to feed the wildfowl, you can purchase birdfeed in our campus shops.

See our Instagram photos

Waterfowl that can be found on campus include the following species:

  • Mute swan
  • Black swan
  • Greylag, Canada, barnacle and snow geese,
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Great-crested grebe
  • Heron

On Campus East, you might be lucky enough to see wading birds such as curlew, oystercatchers, lapwing, sandpiper and redshank.

Long Boi was a campus duck who rose to fame in 2019 after a student created an Instagram account in his name. A Mallard and Indian Runner Duck cross, Long Boi was recognisable by his bold personality and unusual stature. He was noticeably taller than his fellow ducks, standing at around 70cm high.

It is unclear how Long Boi came to live on campus, but reports suggest he was first noticed in early 2019. His verified Instagram account, which grew to have more than 54,000 followers, was launched in May 2019.

In the years that followed, Long Boi reached unexpected heights of fame. He made appearances in global media, including on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Greg James and James Corden’s Late Late show in the US, and was dubbed “Britain’s most famous duck”.

In May 2023, Long Boi was declared presumed dead, after fans noticed he had not been seen in more than two months. Mourning was led by Radio 1, and Greg James hosted a national “quack-a-long” in his memory. Celebrities including George Ezra, Sam Ryder and Joe Lycett joined the memorial, quacking in solidarity with thousands of fans across the country and around the world.

The University of York Student’s Union (YUSU) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the installation of a statue in Long Boi’s memory.

Visit Long Boi on Instagram.


Biodiversity is an important aspect of the management of the University grounds.

Over the years there have been subtle alterations to the way the landscape is managed on campus to encourage wildlife.

You can find out more about how we encourage biodiversity on campus in our Ecological Management Plan.

Read our Ecological Management Plan

How we encourage wildlife

  • Timing management operations to reduce impacts on species that may be breeding/feeding/hibernating.
  • Reducing chemical usage.
  • Practising low intervention horticulture.
  • Composting green waste.
  • Providing additional shelter for fauna by introducing nest boxes, wood stacks and habitat piles.
  • Using plants to encourage foraging insects such as bees and butterflies.

Ecological-Management-Plan-2020 (PDF , 1,800kb)

Landscape-Management-Plan-2020 (PDF , 2,905kb)

Green flag backdrop

Green Flag status

The University has maintained its Green Flag status from 2013 to 2023. The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

The University is a corporate member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. In becoming a member the University is helping the trust to protect wildlife across the county.

We also have ten Wildlife Trust membership cards, free to loan to staff members.

Borrow a membership card
A wildlife trust membership card will give you free entry to the Wildlife Trust's visitor attractions.To borrow one, visit the Information Centre with your staff ID.

See where you can visit

Explore more

Native tree trail

The trail doesn't include every tree native to the British Isles but it does feature around 20 native species which are all located in fairly close proximity to each other near to the centre of Campus West.

Download the Campus native tree trail (PDF , 3,041kb) 

Non-native tree trail

There are more than 50 trees featured on this trail and you may not see them all in one go, but we hope you enjoy exploring the trail and the campus in general.

Download the Campus non-native tree trail (PDF , 7,296kb)

Contact us

Facilities Helpdesk

+44 (0)1904 325555