VOLUNTEERS at a York nature reserve have helped it win a prestigious Green Flag award for the fifth year running.

The award is intended to recognise the best green spaces in the country, both for their wildlife and community value, and across the country, 1,476 parks, cemeteries, universities, shopping centres and community gardens have received it so far.

St Nicholas Fields, better known as St Nicks, a 24-acre nature reserve only a mile from the city centre, is home to a large variety of wildlife and features a network of easy access paths.

Over the last financial year, 237 volunteers dedicated more than 7,000 hours to maintaining the nature reserve and other projects of the charity.

Events Officer Ivana Jakubkova said the volunteer Wildwatch group had identified 412 species so far, including the endangered water voles.

"By a happy coincidence, evidence for the voles breeding on site was gained on the day when the reserve was being judged for the Green Flag Award," she said.

"The Wildwatchers and the award judge spent a good while watching a couple of juvenile voles by the Osbaldwick Beck."