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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.
 
 

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.

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

My Wildlife

Wednesday 5th August 2015

Pick up a pond net and join our Reserve team for a watery wildlife-themed session. See what you can find using magnifying glasses and charts. 10.30 – 11.30am & 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Woodland Workshop

Thursday 6th August 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


Butterflies and Moths for Beginners

Saturday 8th August 2015

August is a great time to see an array of beautiful butterflies and moths fluttering about your local meadow. Come along to the Idle Valley Nature Reserve and you’ll learn about the amazing world of Britain’s butterflies and day-flying moths, tips for identifying species that you see, and information about how you can attract species to your garden. £35 per person, including tea/coffee, lunch and an ID chart. Booking necessary.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 945 (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Grasses Weekend

Saturday 8th August 2015

Come along to Idle Valley and discover more about the many varieties of grasses on the reserve! Drop-in activities and displays suitable for all ages. 11.00am – 3.00pm each day. Continues on Sunday 9th August. Please look out for a detailed programme.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wildlife Photography – Reptiles and Amphibians

Sunday 9th August 2015

The Idle Valley Reserve has many ponds and these are rich with toads, newts, frogs and grass snakes. Professional wildlife photographer Jack Perks will help us to make the most of these photographic opportunities and include some captive slow worms. 10.00am – 12 noon. £20 per person, booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 9th August 2015

Join us for a great Wild Kids session all about different grasses found on the reserve. Learn to spot them and look at their features under the microscope. 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


My Wildlife

Wednesday 12th August 2015

Pick up a pond net and join our Reserve team for a watery wildlife-themed session. See what you can find using magnifying glasses and charts. 10.30 – 11.30am & 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Woodland Workshop

Thursday 13th August 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


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 16th August 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


My Wildlife

Wednesday 19th August 2015

Pick up a pond net and join our Reserve team for a watery wildlife-themed session. See what you can find using magnifying glasses and charts. 10.30 – 11.30am & 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Woodland Workshop

Thursday 20th August 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


My Wildlife

Wednesday 26th August 2015

Pick up a pond net and join our Reserve team for a watery wildlife-themed session. See what you can find using magnifying glasses and charts. 10.30 – 11.30am & 1.00 – 2.00pm. £3 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Woodland Workshop

Thursday 27th August 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


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


News from Idle Valley

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