Corporate report

Derbyshire's National Nature Reserves

Updated 1 September 2022

Applies to England

Calke Park

Calke Park NNR encompasses the ancient deer park of the Calke Abbey estate. The reserve includes rich wood pasture and has concentrations of very large, old, stag-headed oak trees as well as lime and beeches.

Main habitats: wood pasture

Area: 79.7 hectares

Management: National Trust

Features of interest

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit is on the National Trust website.


Telephone: 01332 863822

Calke Park
DE73 7LE

Derbyshire Dales

The 5 valleys that make up Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve cover a total of 385 hectares. 87% of this is classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for either its wildlife or its geology, in addition to which just over three-quarters is a Special Area for Conservation.

Although each of the valleys has its own unique characteristics, all are notable for their limestone scenery, their diverse flora and the wide range of butterflies and other insects this supports.

Main habitats: limestone grassland, scrub and valley woodlands; also hay meadows, streams and dew ponds, scree, acid grassland and small areas of ‘limestone heath’

Features of interest

These details are on the Derbyshire Dales Natural England pages on the National Archives, and in the Natural England leaflet.

School and community groups

Lathkill Education Service runs activities for schools and community groups.

Activity days for Key Stage 2 are:

  • Lathkill’s Watery World - Investigate the life in our dew ponds and discover how living creatures are adapted to their environment
  • Why the River Disappears - Solve the mystery of the disappearing River Lathkill through this investigation of the geology and wildlife of the area
  • Meadow Magic - Spend a day in our beautiful hay meadows learning about the importance of biodiversity and the way in which this is influenced by farming practices
  • Woodland Ways - Develop an understanding of woodland ecology and discover the ways in which people have changed woodlands over time
  • Environmental Pottery Project - Spend a morning in the dale investigating minibeasts or woodlands, then head indoors to work with an artist to produce artworks inspired by the natural environment
  • Biodiversity for Beginners - Find out about the meaning and importance of biodiversity and how you can help look after it through this highly interactive day delivered at your school

Secondary school visits:

  • Introduction to Derbyshire Dales - A quick introduction to the National Nature Reserve for secondary school groups visiting the reserve to deliver their own programme (geology, ecology, conservation, recreation, history or archaeology)
  • Survey and Monitoring - Play your part in supporting conservation work on the reserve by carrying out survey work, such as monitoring butterfly numbers and surveying vegetation

As well as sessions with schools Lathkill Education Service offers work with uniformed groups, youth groups and adult groups:

  • Environmental pottery project - Spend a morning in the dale investigating minibeasts or woodlands, then head indoors to work with an artist to produce artworks inspired by the natural environment
  • Guided walks with activities - Daytime and evening sessions with a variety of themes and activities to suit the particular age and needs of your group
  • Practical conservation work - An opportunity to get involved in the management of the reserve and learn about the area at the same time.

For information about school and community group visits to the reserve contact Caroline Thomas. Telephone 01629 812117 or email


You can access the lower half of Lathkill Dale from the Over Haddon end along a level track suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and there are disabled parking spaces a short distance away.

The hay meadows at the Monyash end of Lathkill Dale and the northern end of Cressbrook Dale are both close to roads with relatively level access.

Let us know of access or other needs when planning your visit so that we can accommodate these.


Derbyshire Dales NNR lies within the Peak District National Park. The reserve consists of 5 separate limestone valleys: Lathkill Dale; Cressbrook Dale; Monk’s Dale; Long Dale and Hay Dale.

The area is also served by sections of the National Cycle Network (which can also be used by walkers). The southern ends of both Cressbrook Dale and Monk’s Dale lie close to the Monsal Trail (National Cycle Route 680). Lathkill Dale is near the Tissington Trail (National Cycle Route 68). Long Dale is not far from the High Peak Trail (National Cycle Route 54).

The closest railway stations to the reserve are at Buxton and Matlock.

For details of local bus services see Derbyshire County Council’s East Midlands Journey Planner.

Lathkill Dale (SK190658) is 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) south-west of Bakewell, between the villages of Over Haddon, Monyash and Youlgreave. There are public car parks at Over Haddon (SK203664) and at Moor Lane near Youlgreave (SK193646) as well as roadside parking close to the Monyash end of the reserve on the B5055, approximately half a mile east of Monyash (SK157665).

Cressbrook Dale (SK172744) is 4 ¼ miles (6.9 kilometres) north of Bakewell, between the villages of Wardlow and Litton. There are public car parks at Monsal Head (SK184715) and Tideswell Dale (SK153743) as well as smaller parking areas at Ravensdale Cottages (SK172737) and Upperdale in Monsal Dale (SK178722).

Monk’s Dale (SK134745) is situated 6 miles (9.7 km) north-west of Bakewell and 4 ¾ miles (7.7 km) east of Buxton. The nearest public car park is at Miller’s Dale station (SK138733).

Long Dale (SK193598) is 5 ¾ miles (9.3 kilometres) south of Bakewell between Newhaven on the A515 and the village of Elton. There are car parks at Minninglow (SK193583), Friden (SK172607) and Elton (SK223610).

Hay Dale (SK120770) is a short way north of Monks Dale and is 4 ¼ miles (6.8 kilometres) north-east of Buxton and 8 miles (12.7 kilometres) north-west of Bakewell, between the villages of Wheston and Peak Forest. The nearest public car park is at Miller’s Dale station (SK138733).

If walking, the Limestone Way runs through Hay Dale and parts of Monk’s Dale and Lathkill Dale.

There are no bridleways on the reserve so horses, mountain biking and other cycling are not permitted.


With the exception of the track through the lower part of Lathkill Dale, the reserve is generally a ‘wild area’ with associated risks especially when using areas of open access. Visitors are required to take responsibility for their own safety.

Please wear appropriate footwear. Footpaths and other surfaces are inclined to be uneven and limestone can be slippery especially when wet and polished. The path through the woodlands at the top end of Monk’s Dale is particularly uneven.

By their very nature, limestone dales have many steep slopes and cliff faces. Please take particular care when on or near these.

Treat caves and areas of old mine workings (at Lathkill Dale, Cressbrook Dale and Hay Dale) with care, keeping out of these unless it is clear that they are safe to enter.

There are a number of water bodies on the reserve including the rivers through Lathkill Dale, Cressbrook Dale and Monks Dale and dew ponds at Lathkill Dale and Cressbrook Dale. Please take particular care near these if you have children with you.

Please note that mobile phone signals are restricted or non-existent in many parts of the reserve, especially in valley bottoms. Public telephones are available in Over Haddon and Monyash and, in emergencies, local farms have phones.


For information about school and community group visits to the reserve contact Caroline Thomas - telephone 01629 812117 or email

For information about volunteering at Derbyshire Dales NNR email

For all other information (including concerning reserve management) call the Senior Reserve Manager on 01629 810509 or email

Derbyshire Dales
National Nature Reserve base
10, Arden House
Deepdale Business Park
DE45 1GT


Dovedale NNR is a spectacular nature reserve in the limestone area of the Peak District National Park.

Extending to almost 700 hectares of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, it includes Milldale, Wolfscote Hill and Biggin Dale as well as the famous stepping stones.

The most significant habitats are flower-rich grasslands teeming with insect life, old ash woodlands, gin-clear streams and scree slopes. The reserve has many special species including a good population of Jacob’s ladder (often grown in gardens but here in its wild state), extensive drifts of early purple orchids and cowslips, and the metallic green cistus forester, a day-flying moth.

Area: 682.96 hectares

Main habitats: limestone grassland, valley woodland, streams, scree

Management: National Trust

Features of interest

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit is on the National Trust website).


Telephone: 01335 350503

White Peak Estate Office
Home Farm

Kinder Scout

The famous plateau of Kinder Scout is in the heart of the Peak District and is one of the most familiar and accessible upland landscapes in Britain.

Kinder Scout has various upland habitats, including blanket bog and sub-alpine dwarf shrub heath. It also supports several upland breeding birds, notably species of birds of prey and waders, curlew and ring ouzel. Restoration of its habitats is a key objective for nature conservation and for wider benefits to people, such as improving water quality, slowing the flow of water from the moors to reduce the risk of flooding and retaining carbon in peat soils.

Over the last 40 years, since the National Trust acquired the site, there has been a transformation of the once exposed ‘moonscape’ of bare peat – a legacy of historic industrial pollution and land management practices. Much of the area has since been covered in healthy moorland vegetation thanks to restoration work which has taken place to rewet the moors and create healthy peat bogs. This has led to the creation of habitats for a variety of different species of wildlife, including birds, insects, reptiles, mountain hare and bats.

The work to restore Kinder Scout has helped to develop peatland restoration techniques which are now used across the UK. Small water-retaining dams are still visible in some of the gullies on the plateau. Restoration work continues to improve vegetation, increase sphagnum moss, block gullies and stop erosion of peat in certain areas. This will ensure more benefits to nature and the environment continue to be secured for this important place.

In addition, it acts as an outdoor laboratory capturing vital data which is helping to inform scientific research into the impact of restoration and the benefits to the environment and our communities. Kinder is home to a scientific ‘control plot’, a large area of unrestored peat, which shows the stark contrast with restored/revegetated peat. This is an essential part of research efforts to understand the changes taking place. Kinder continues to be among the most popular upland areas in England for walkers and holds a special affection as the site of the famous 1932 Mass Trespass - a catalyst for the creation of National Parks.

Main habitats: Upland habitats including blanket bog and sub-alpine dwarf shrub heath

Area: 1082 hectares

Management: National Trust

Features of interest

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit is on the National Trust website


Telephone: 01433 670368