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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.

Plan Your Visit

We welcome your 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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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 courses 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 is open from 10am - 4pm 7 days a week, including Cafe and Wildlife Trust Shop

Reserve Walks

Visitors to Idle Valley are invited to enjoy the many footpaths and bridleways, together with five viewing screens and a viewing platform.  Our Lake Bellmoor walk is wheelchair accessable with the use of Radar NKS keys. 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.

2) An natural outdoor PLAY SPACE to explore, which includes a picnic area, a musical bridge and various sculptures to enjoy, designed and built by local community groups. 

3) DISCOVERY PACKS to hire for £1.50 per day.  The Discovery packs have monthly themes and come complete with everything you need to explore the site (including binoculars) (click factsheets for more information). 

The Centre, which is open 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 WILDLIFE TRUST SHOP  stocks bird feeders, bird seed, ID guides, firewood, hedgehog food, Opticron binoculars and a wide range of gifts.

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 support 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

During the summer months the Reserve is open for walking from 9am to 7pm. During Autmun and winter months the Reserve is open for walking from 9am to 4pm

THE RURAL LEARNING CENTRE, INCLUDING CAFE & WILDLIFE TRUST SHOP

Open 7 days a week, 10am - 4pm. Only closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day.

The Wildlife Trust Shop stocks bird feeders, bird seed, ID guides, firewood logs, hedgehog food, Opticron binoculars and a wide range of gifts.

For bulk bird seed purchases in advance – call 01777 713945

All opening hours are subject to change.

 

 

Events at Idle Valley

Idle Valley Holiday Club – Family Drop-in

Friday 26th August 2016

An active outdoor session, great for any wild child who enjoys exploring nature. 10.30am – 2.30pm, £4 per child. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Bats Weekend

Saturday 10th September 2016

Come along to Idle Valley and find out more about these creatures of the night that can be found around the reserve. Drop-in activities and displays suitable for all ages. Continues 11 September. 11am – 3pm each day.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 11th September 2016

An active outdoor session, great for any wild child who enjoys exploring nature. For children aged 5 and above who must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential. 11am - 12 noon or 1 - 2pm. £4 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 18th September 2016

Join one of our local bird enthusiasts for this monthly walk around Idle Valley Nature Reserve. 9.30 – 11.30am. Please bring your binoculars and walking boots. Donation welcome.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Wild Tots Idle Valley

Wednesday 28th September 2016

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. £4 for each child who must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential. Don’t forget to bring your wellies!
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Lecture Series: Bridget Appleby - BBC Natural History Unit

Friday 7th October 2016

Renowned wildlife film producer Bridget Appleby has been working at the BBC for 16 years. Join her for a fascinating evening including a Q&A session and discover what it takes to make award-winning international wildlife documentaries at the BBC. Café serving all evening. Doors open at 6.30. Lecture 7.30 - 10pm. £15 per person. £5 discount if booking Simon King (4 Nov.) and Iolo Williams (9 Dec.) at the same time. To obtain tickets click on the Wildlife Courses category at http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop.


Wild Kids Idle Valley

Sunday 9th October 2016

An active outdoor session, great for any wild child who enjoys exploring nature. For children aged 5 and above who must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential. 11am - 12 noon or 1 - 2pm. £4 per child.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Bird Walk

Sunday 16th October 2016

Join one of our local bird enthusiasts for this monthly walk around Idle Valley Nature Reserve. 9.30 – 11.30am. Please bring your binoculars and walking boots. Donation welcome.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Autumn Festival

Sunday 23rd October 2016

Join us for our very popular autumn festival with lots of seasonal wildlife inspired activities, wildlife walks, demonstrations and arts and crafts for all ages and interests. Our café will be open serving seasonal specials, baked treats and fresh coffees. An event not to be missed. 10am – 4pm, free of charge. Car parking available - £3 donation welcomed. For more information visit our website http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/idlevalley.


Wild Tots Idle Valley

Wednesday 26th October 2016

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. £4 for each child who must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential. Don’t forget to bring your wellies!
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Woodland Workshop

Thursday 27th October 2016

Make fires, build shelters, get crafty and creative with what wildlife has to offer! Come rain or shine this session is guaranteed so bring suitable clothing for getting wild! £10 per child (8 – 14 yrs.) 10.30am – 2.30pm, booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Idle Valley Holiday Club – Family Drop-in

Friday 28th October 2016

An active outdoor session, great for any wild child who enjoys exploring nature. 10.30am – 2.30pm, £4 per child. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 713 941


Lecture Series: Simon King – Wildlife Filmmaker and Cameraman

Friday 4th November 2016

Simon King OBE has been making wildlife documentaries for over 30 years. Credits include Planet Earth, Springwatch, Autumnwatch, Big Cat Diary and Life of Mammals. Join Simon at Idle Valley for an inspiring evening to hear his stories and insights into the natural world. Includes a Q & A and book signing. Café serving all evening. Doors at 6.30; lecture 7.30pm to 10pm. £20 per person. £5 discount if booking Bridget Appleby (7 Oct.) and Iolo Williams (9 Dec.) at the same time. To obtain tickets click on the Wildlife Courses category at http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop.


Lecture Series: Iolo Williams – Naturalist & TV Presenter

Friday 9th December 2016

Iolo is an experienced naturalist and wildlife TV presenter, best known for his work on Springwatch and Countryfile. With over 30 years of nature-watching experience behind him Iolo promises a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. Includes a question and answer session. Café serving all evening. Doors open 6.30; talk 7.30pm to 10pm. £15 per person. £5 discount if booking Simon King (4 Nov.) and Bridget Appleby (7 Oct.) at the same time. To obtain tickets lick on the Wildlife Courses category at http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop.


News from Idle Valley

Wildlife Trust calls on health sector to develop a sustainable funding model for natural therapies

Monday 16th May 2016

Mental Health Awareness week is upon us (16-22nd May 2016), but for local award-winning mental health project -  Recovery - based at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley reserve, there is little to celebrate.

Find out more

 

Brewery re-launches special Idle Valley ‘Reserve’ Ale

Friday 22nd April 2016

Brewery re-launches special ‘Reserve’ Ale to highlight Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserve.

Find out more

 

Springtime is here at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Thursday 24th March 2016

Shake off those winter cobwebs and get back to nature this April with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. There is a packed schedule of events with a variety of activities suitable for the whole family and wildlife lovers of all ages and interests are encouraged to get involved and try something different.

Find out more

 

Celebrating 50th Anniversary of wildlife charities special meeting

Friday 11th March 2016

Celebrating 50th Anniversary of wildlife charities special meeting – leading to the formation of county-wide network of local groups.

Find out more

 

Hero or Villian? Ambitious lecture series set for fascinating finale with topical badger discussion

Monday 22nd February 2016

Our ambitious lecture series is set for a fascinating finale with a topical event focused on badgers by Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham.

Find out more

 

Children’s Wildlife Drawing Competition Launched

Tuesday 16th February 2016

As part of The Wildlife Trusts’ national ‘every child wild’ campaign, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to launch an exciting drawing competition for children at the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, near Retford.

Find out more

 

Don’t let the kids drive you wild this half-term

Monday 8th February 2016

If you’re not sure what to do with the kids at half-term, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has a packed programme of events at its Idle Valley Nature Reserve meaning you can have a great day out on your doorstep.

Find out more

 

Players of People’s Postcode set to support new woodland workshop programme

Monday 18th January 2016

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the county’s largest locally based conservation charity, has welcomed the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery for an ambitious education programme which will help to connect children and families with the natural world…..

Find out more

 

Wildlife Trust Wetland Wildlife Weekend

Thursday 19th November 2015

This weekend, Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd November 2015 is the Wildlife Trusts Wetland Wildlife Weekend.

Find out more

 

Wildlife Trust gearing up for biggest event of the year at Idle Valley

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Staff and volunteers at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are preparing for the largest event of the year at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve. This year’s Autumn Festival will be bigger and better than evenr and will be a celebration of local wildlife and the season.

Find out more

 

High profile environmental campaigner and writer to visit Idle Valley

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Writer and environmental campaigner George Monbiot will visit Idle Valley Nature Reserve next month ahead of a sell-out lecture on the subject or Re-wilding…..

Find out more

 

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 Full Reserve Map

Idle Valley Full Reserve Map

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

 
Idle Valley Centre Walks Map

Idle Valley Centre Walks Map

Click to download the Idle Valley Nature Reserve lake map for shorter walks around the reserve. If you would like more information on where to walk please either give us a call or pop into the centre when you arrive.

Download Factsheet

 
Dog Walkers Map

Dog Walkers Map

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

Download Factsheet

 
Discovery Packs

Discovery Packs

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

Download Factsheet

 
Public transport links

Public transport links

How to access the Idle Valley using public transport

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

 

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