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Idle Valley

Idle Valley This spectacular wetland site covers an area of 450 hectares following the River Idle northwards. The size of 600 football pitches, it is one of the largest sites for nature conservation in the East Midlands.

The acquisition of the site is supported by a grant from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Idle Valley is also the base for our Recovery project.

Plan Your Visit

We welcome you visit to the reserve and centre. If you are a large walking group or organised group please contact us so we can discuss your interests, needs and if necessary your seating arrangements in the centre's café for refreshment. We have lots for families to do here, so please pick up activity sheets, hire a discovery pack, make dens in our wildlife play area or take part in our regular wild tots, wild kids and woodland workshops which are all featured in the events diary. High Profile Lecture Series This autumn & winter, the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre will host a series of talks and presentations by high profile speakers. The series will kick off on October 16th with a talk by George Monbiot
 
 

How to get to Idle Valley

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Where to find us

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, North Road, Retford, DN22 8RQ (please note if you are travelling to the site using SATNAV please use the postcode DN22 8SG)

Public transport links are available under the factsheets tab.

Why not explore these nearby reserves? Daneshill Gravel Pits & Clarborough Tunnel.
 

 

Idle Valley

Idle Valley Nature Reserve is part of the Idle Valley Project area, managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust - a beautiful 450 hectare network of lakes, wetland, grassland and scrub. The reserve includes the 300 hectare nationally designated Sutton and Lound Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – one of the largest in the county. 

Membership
helps us maintain the site for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Donations are also vital to help support our work, so please consider making a one off donation by texting NWTR01 £10 to 70070. [Feel free to vary the cash figure after the £sign.]

This extensive nature reserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife and is recognised as one of the richest birding sites in the region. Look out for birds such as gadwall and little grebe in winter, and breeding wading birds including little ringed plover and redshank in spring and summer.

The Wildlife Trust looks after Idle Valley, maintaining existing habitats and developing new ones. We focus on providing the visiting public and groups with as many opportunities as possible, for studying, viewing and enjoying wildlife.  The Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre is a high quality educational facility based at the south end of the site and is a venue for a range of training course and events.

 High Profile Lecture Series

This autumn & winter, the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre will host a series of talks and presentations by high profile speakers. The series will kick off on October 16th with a talk by George Monbiot click here to buy tickets.  For further information click here

 

Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre,
North Road (A638),
Retford,
Nottinghamshire
DN22 8RQ
For satellite navigation please use the postcode DN22 8SG
Tel: 01777 713 945

Facilities

The Rural Learning Centre open from 10am - 3.30pm 7 days a week, including Cafe and Little Wildlife Shop

Reserve Walks

Visitors to Idle Valley are invited to enjoy the many footpaths and bridleways, of which 2500m are wheelchair-accessible, together with five viewing screens and a viewing platform. There are four designated walks of varying lengths (click ‘Factsheets’ to download reserve map), so whether you would like a quick stroll or a longer hike, there’s something to suit everyone.

For the children we have the following :

1) A bronze rubbing trail around the site various sculptures to enjoy, designed and built by local community groups. 

2) An natural outdoor PLAY SPACE to explore, which includes a picnic area 

3) DISCOVERY PACKS to hire for £1.50 per day.  The DISCOVER IDLE packs have monthly themes and come complete with everything you need to explore the site (including binoculars) (click factsheets for more information).  We also have DISCOVER PONDS packs which come complete with nets and pots for your own pond dipping session. 

The Centre, which is open 10.30am - 3.30pm, 7 days a week, includes a reception desk for information, enquiries, membership, activities and course bookings. There is also a  fully equipped viewing area with scopes and binoculars.  The LITTLE WILDLIFE SHOP  stocks bird feeders, bird seed, ID guides, charcoal and hedgehog food.

Situated within the heart of our stunning nature reserve, the IDLE VALLEY CAFE offers fantasic views within a beautiful setting. Why not check out our menu
or catering options for conferences. All purchases supports Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and local wildlife.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is committed to trading with local suppliers and selecting organic and healthy produce whenever possible. Most of our hot beverages use FAIRTRADE ingredients and organic milk. This means you can enjoy your refreshments in the knowledge that your purchases are supporting local business, sustainable production methods and a healthier lifestyle. Your support helps our local community in many different ways and also helps us to protect wildlife for the future.

Opening times

RESERVE

The Idle Valley Nature Reserve is open throughout the year for walking.  During the summer months the Reserve is open for walking from 9am till 8pm.

THE RURAL LEARNING CENTRE, INCLUDING CAFE & LITTLE WILDLIFE SHOP

Open 7 days a week, 10am - 3.30pm. Only closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day.

The Little Wildlife Shop stocks bird feeders, bird seed, ID guides, charcoal and hedgehog food.

For bulk bird seed purchases in advance – call 01777 713945

All opening hours are subject to change.

 

Events at Idle Valley

Bats Weekend

Saturday 5th September 2015

Come along to Idle Valley and discover more about the many species of bat to be found on the reserve. Drop-in activities and displays suitable for all ages. Continues on Sunday. 10.00am – 3.00pm each day. Please look out for a detailed programme.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 6th September 2015

This month we will be finding out all about bats. For children aged 5 and above, who must be accompanied by an adult. 11.00am - 12 noon and 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 20th September 2015

Join a local bird enthusiast for a walk around the Idle Valley Reserve. 9.30 - 11.30am. Please bring your binoculars. Donation welcome.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Tots Idle Valley

Wednesday 23rd September 2015

A fun and wildlife-inspired parent and toddler session at the Idle Valley Reserve offering bite-sized activities for children aged 2 to 4 and their families. 10.30 - 11.30am. £3 for each child who must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wildlife Photography

Sunday 4th October 2015

Delivered by professional wildlife photographer Jack Perks. 10.00am – 12 noon. £20 per person. Booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Owls Weekend

Saturday 10th October 2015

Come along to Idle Valley and discover more about the UK species of owls to be found on the reserve. Drop-in activities and displays suitable for all ages. Continues 11th October. 10.00am – 3.00pm each day. Please look out for a detailed programme.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 11th October 2015

This month we will be finding out all about owls. For children aged 5 and above, who must be accompanied by an adult. 11.00am - 12 noon and 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Rewilding - A Talk by George Monbiot

Friday 16th October 2015

A fascinating talk at the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre by author, journalist and campaigner George Monbiot on the subject of Rewilding. George will talk about the work of his new organisation, Rewilding Britain, and themes covered in his latest book Feral: searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding.
Tickets are £15 per person and can be purchased online at www.tickettailor.com/checkout/view-event/id/30494/chk/6484
For more information on George Monbiot: http://www.monbiot.com/
Venue: Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, North Road, Retford
(Please note if you are travelling to the site using Sat Nav please use the postcode DN22 8SG)
The event begins with a complimentary hot or cold drink at 6.45pm with the talk commencing at 7:30pm.
Following a refreshments break the Wildlife Trust will host a Q & A after which copies of George Monbiot’s books will be available for purchase and signing.
The Trust cafe will be open throughout the event serving seasonal fresh food, fairtrade brewed coffees and home-made cakes.
A car parking donation of £2 per car is invited. All donations directly support the work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 18th October 2015

Join a local bird enthusiast for a walk around the Idle Valley Reserve. 9.30 - 11.30am. Please bring your binoculars. Donation welcome.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Tots Idle Valley

Wednesday 21st October 2015

A fun and wildlife-inspired parent and toddler session at the Idle Valley Reserve offering bite-sized activities for children aged 2 to 4 and their families. 10.30 - 11.30am. £3 for each child who must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Autumn Festival

Sunday 25th October 2015

Celebrate the spectacular changes in nature at this time of year and join us at Idle Valley for talks, guided walks, activities and demonstrations. Suitable for all ages. Look out for more information on our website. Our café will be open serving homemade seasonal treats too! 10.00am – 4.00pm, free of charge.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Woodland Workshop

Thursday 29th October 2015

Make fires, build shelters and explore what the Idle Valley Nature Reserve has to offer. Suitable for children aged 8 – 14 yrs. 10.00am – 2.00pm. £9 per child, booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Winter Birds Weekend

Saturday 7th November 2015

Come along to Idle Valley this weekend and discover more about the many wintering birds at to be seen at the reserve. Drop-in activities and displays suitable for all ages. 10.00am – 3.00pm each day. Please look out for a detailed programme.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 8th November 2015

This month we will be finding out all about winter birds. For children aged 5 and above, who must be accompanied by an adult. 11.00am - 12 noon and 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 15th November 2015

Join a local bird enthusiast for a walk around the Idle Valley Reserve. 9.30 - 11.30am. Please bring your binoculars. Donation welcome.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


An evening with Richard Mabey - hosted by John Holmes

Friday 11th December 2015

Join us for an eveing in conversation with author Richard Mabey. The author of more than 30 books including the groundbreaking Flora Britannica, Richard Mabey will also be reading from his soon to be published book, The Cabaret of Plants. The evening will be hosted by Wildlife Trust Vice-President John Holmes of BBC Radio Nottingham.
Venue: The event will be held at The Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, North Road, Retford (Please note if you are travelling to the site using SATNAV please use the postcode DN22 8SG)
Doors / Cafe Open: 6.45pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here or are available in person from the Rural Learning Centre Reception.


Idle Valley Children’s Christmas Lecture – Fantastic Owls

Saturday 12th December 2015

This fantastic festive event is great for all of the family, packed full of experiments and interactive fun.  Look out too for some very special guests who will be making an appearance! 2.00 – 3.00pm. £4 per person; family of four, £15; 4 years old and under, free of charge. Booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Deer Weekend

Saturday 12th December 2015

Come along to Idle Valley this weekend and discover more about the wild deer on the reserve. Drop-in activities and displays suitable for all ages. 10.00am – 3.00pm each day. Please look out for a detailed programme.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 13th December 2015

This month we will be finding out all about wild deer. For children aged 5 and above, who must be accompanied by an adult. 11.00am - 12 noon and 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 20th December 2015

Join a local bird enthusiast for a walk around the Idle Valley Reserve. 9.30 - 11.30am. Please bring your binoculars. Donation welcome.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


News from Idle Valley

High profile lecture series set to put charity’s largest site at Idle Valley on the map

Wednesday 5th August 2015

Wildlife Trust to welcome high profile speakers to its Idle Valley Nature Reserve, including George Monbiot (pictured).

Find out more

 

Recovery - Idle Valley Needs Your Votes!

Thursday 7th May 2015

The Recovery ecotherapy project based at Idle Valley Nature Reserve is an award-winning therapeutic conservation and horticultural service for people in Bassetlaw experiencing mental health problems, which was initially funded by Ecominds, a partnership between Mind and the Big Lottery Fund. The project now needs more funds to continue.

Recovery has been successful in being included in the Aviva Community Fund but it needs your help by voting. The more votes the project gets the better as the top few will then be put forward to a final panel of judges to award the £10,000.

All you need to do is go to https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/1220/ and register your email to gain 10 votes to use.

Find out more

 

Fact-sheets for Idle Valley

Idle Valley Visitor Map Flier

Idle Valley Visitor Map Flier

Click to download the Idle Valley Nature Reserve visitor map. There are a network of colour coded routes on site. If you would like more information on where to walk please either give us a call or pop into the centre when you arrive. The yellow route is suitable for pushchairs.

Download Factsheet

 
Discovery Packs

Discovery Packs

Find out more about with our discovery rucksacks - available to hire from the centre

Download Factsheet

 
DOGS MAP

DOGS MAP

We welcome dogs at Idle Valley please consult this map to see where we allow dogs off leads and under control.

Download Factsheet

 
Public transport links

Public transport links

How to access the Idle Valley using public transport

Download Factsheet

 
Discovery boxes

Discovery boxes

There are 2 boxes available for groups to use - a minibeast box and an environmental games box. You can use them on site or take them to your own venue. £10 to hire plus a £10 refundable deposit. Pre booking required on 01777 713 945

Download Factsheet

 
Wild Birthday Parties

Wild Birthday Parties

Fun filled birthday parties for children aged 4 - 11 years old.

Download Factsheet

 
SCHOOLS Education opportunities in North Nottinghamshire

SCHOOLS Education opportunities in North Nottinghamshire

Passionate about outdoor learning - we aim to provide high quality programmes for all that are local affordable and hands on.

Download Factsheet

 
SCHOOLS Adopt a Reserve programme

SCHOOLS Adopt a Reserve programme

Get involved with your local patch through our adopt a reserve programme

Download Factsheet

 
Our Wildlife Photography Sessions for 2014

Our Wildlife Photography Sessions for 2014

Join us for new exciting workshops with renowned professional photographer Jack Perks at the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre.

Download Factsheet

 

Video

Idle Valley Living Landscape

Idle Valley Nature Reserve is a picturesque wetland haven, near Retford in Nottinghamshire. This short video captures its beauty, telling the story of how much this reserve plays a part in joining the dots for wildlife in the surrounding area and how it forms an important Living Landscape.
With thanks to Nick Kirk at Moving Stories for the video www.moving-stories.co.uk
and also to Ann Biddle for the…

Watch the full clip on YouTube

 

Kids go wild!

A video featuring our recent Kids Go Wild Event at Idle Valley Nature Reserve. Just one of our many family events throughout the year, across the county run my Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

For more events run by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust please click the link below

www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/events

Watch the full clip on YouTube

 

Starlings Flocking Neatholme Lane Idle Valley 15/11/12

Starling murmuration at Idle Valley Nature Reserve

A Murmuration is a gathering of large flocks of Starlings. They start to get together at Dusk during Autum in their roosting sites and fly together creating amazing swirling patterns.  The reason they get together is because there is safety in numbers, particularily from birds of prey such as Falcons. A large group means its also easier to keep warm during Winter and…

Watch the full clip on YouTube

 

Idle Valley Nature Reserve Wildlife Video

A special trip camera set up at Idle Valley Nature Reserve to record what species visited one spot of the reserve over 1 week…look how many different creatures shared that spot!
European Badger (Meles meles)
Common Pheasant female (Phasianus colchicus)
Reed Bunting ( Emberiza schoeniclus)
European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Red Legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Visit http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/ for more information on…

Watch the full clip on YouTube

 

Idle Valley Wins Prestigious Award

Tarmac have awarded Bellmoor & Lound Gravel Pits the 2011 Cooper Heyman Award. This restored quarry now forms part of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley Nature Reserve. The award recognises the hard work that has been done to restore this area for the benefit of wildlife. Idle Valley is now a thriving Nature Reserve - one of the best places for birding in the county, and a great place to…

Watch the full clip on YouTube

 
 
 
 

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Protecting Wildlife for the Future