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Activities and things to do in Derbyshire and the Peak District

Wildlife in Derbyshire

Birds, Wildlife and Nature Reserves in Derbyshire and the Peak District

The Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve is managed by English Nature and consists of parts of five separate limestone valleys in the Peak District National Park - Lathkill, Cressbrook, Monk's, Long and Hay Dale.These represent superb examples of all of the major wildlife habitats of the White Peak Natural Area. In addition, the National Trust manage Biggin Dale as a National Nature Reserve.

Significant habitats and species Flower-rich grasslands make up just over half the area of the Reserve. Limestone plants such as common rock rose and salad burnet are abundant, with up to 45 different species found in a square metre. Rarities include Jacob's ladder, spring cinquefoil and Nottingham catchfly. Visitors in spring can marvel at the thousands of early purple orchids and cowslips. Insects are equally diverse, and south-facing and west-facing slopes are home to specialities such as the northern brown argus butterfly and cistus forester moth.

Like most of the Reserve's grasslands, its woodlands are recognised as being internationally important. Dominated by ash, they have a rich shrub layer and ground flora which includes bird cherry, mezereon and alpine currant.

Redstart, wood warbler and pied flycatcher breed in small numbers. Other habitats represented on the Reserve are rivers and streams (the water of the River Lathkill being among the purest in the country), species-rich scrub, heath on limestone, lead spoil, flushes, dewponds, screes, rock exposures and caves.

Location and access

Lathkill Dale is situated 2 miles south west of Bakewell, between the villages of Over Haddon, Monyash and Youlgrave. There are car parks at Over Haddon, Moor Lane, Youlgrave and Conksbury bridge. There is also a regular, although infrequent, bus service which runs to the Reserve.

There is a level track at the east end of the reserve, with a stile and all-ability access gate at the entrance. This concessionary route is closed on Wednesdays between October and February.

Cressbrook Dale is situated 7 miles north west of Bakewell, between the villages of Wardlow and Litton. There are car parks available at Upperdale in Monsal Dale, Monsal Head, Tideswell Dale, and Ravensdale. There is also a regular bus service. Access can be difficult as paths are narrow, and steep in places.

Monk's Dale is situated 9 miles north west of Bakewell in the Peak District National Park. The nearest car park is at Miller's Dale station, although there is a regular bus service from Bakewell to Tideswell. Access to the site can be difficult as the paths are rocky and muddy in several places.

Long Dale is situated 6 miles south of Bakewell, near the village of Elton. There are car parks which serve the site at Minninglow, Friden and Elton. There is a summer bus service which runs on a Sunday, and a year round service on a Monday, which runs from Bakewell. There are no public footpaths through the Reserve although there are adjacent paths accessible by the public.

Hay Dale is situated 8 miles north west of Bakewell, between the villages of Wheston and Peak Forest. The nearest carpark to the site is at Miller's Dale station. There is no public transport service running to the reserve. There are stiles at either end of footpaths.

Biggin Dale is situated 12 miles south west of Bakewell, between the villages of Hartington and Biggin. There are carparks located in Friden, Hartington station and Ruby Wood. There is also a Sunday bus service in summer, and a Monday bus service all year round. There is no special provision for disabled access, although the paths are reasonably level. This dale is now managed by the National Trust, who also manage much of the surrounding area including Dove Dale to the south which is also part of the Dove Valley and Biggin Dale SSSI.

The best time to visit any of these Reserves is in either May or June, for wildflowers.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Derbyshire and the Peak District

There are over 80 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Derbyshire, England. These Sites of Special Scientific Interest are some of Derbyshire's very best wildlife and geological sites and include some of our most spectacular and beautiful habitats.

It is essential to preserve our remaining natural heritage for future generations. Wildlife and geological features are under pressure from development, pollution, climate change and unsustainable land management. SSSIs are important as they support plants and animals that find it more difficult to survive in the wider countryside. Protecting and managing SSSIs is a shared responsibility, and an investment for the benefit of future generations.

Abney & Bretton Cloughs
Ambergate And Ridgeway Quarries
Bage Mine
Baileycroft Quarry
Ballidon Dale
Bee's Nest And Green Clay Pits
Bonsall Leys
Boulton Moor
Bradwell Dale And Bagshaw Cavern
Bradwell Meadows
Breadsall Railway Cutting
Calke Park
Calton Hill
Carver's Rocks
Cawdor Quarry
Chatsworth Old Park
Chrome And Parkhouse Hills
Clough Woods
Colehill Quarries
Combs Reservoir
Coombs Dale
Crabtree Wood
Cressbrook Dale
Creswell Crags
Cromford Canal
Dale Quarry
Dark Peak
Dirtlow Rake And Pindale
Doe Lea Stream Section
Dove Valley And Biggin Dale
Duchy Quarry
Duckmanton Railway Cutting
Eastern Peak District Moors
Fall Hill Quarry
Fox Hole Cave
Gang Mine
Ginny Spring,whitwell Wood
Goyt Valley
Green Lane Pits
Harewood Grange Stream Section
Hilton Gravel Pits
Hipley Hill
Hollinhill And Markland Grips
Hulland Moss
Jumble Coppice
Kedleston Park
Kirkham's Silica Sandpit
Lathkill Dale
Lee Farm Meadow, Tideswell
Leek Moors
Long Dale & Gratton Dale
Long Dale, Hartington
Longstone Moor
Ludworth Intake
Masson Hill
Matlock Woods
Mercaston Marsh And Muggington Bottoms
Monk's Dale
Morley Brick Pits
Moss Valley
Moss Valley Meadows
Moss Valley Woods
Ogston Reservoir
Oxlow Rake
Parwich Moor
Poole's Cavern And Grin Low Wood
Portway Mine
River Derwent At Hathersage
River Mease
Rose End Meadows
Rowlee Bridge
Shining Cliff Woods
Stoney Middleton Dale
The Wye Valley
Ticknall Quarries
Tideslow Rake
Toddbrook Reservoir
Topley Pike And Deepdale
Upper Lathkill
Via Gellia Woodlands
Waterswallow's Quarry
Wyns Tor
Yarncliff Wood, Padley

Derbyshire Local Nature Reserves

Allestree Park
Belper ParksBrearley Wetland
Carr Wood
Chaddesden Wood
Chellaston Brickworks
Cromford Canal
Doe Lea
Duffield Millenium Meadow
Forbes Hole
Fox Covert
Goytside Meadows
Hammersmith Meadows
Millenium Meadows
Nutwood/Darley Abbey Tip
Pennytown Ponds
Pewit Carr
Pioneer Meadows
Rowthorne Trail
St Chad's Water
Stanton Gate, Stanton-By-Dale
Stony Clouds
Sunnydale Park
Trowell Marsh
Watford Lodge
West Park Meadows

See Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

See The Derbyshire Ornithological Society

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