Idle Valley | Nature Reserves | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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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.

Have Your Say

We would like to know your top 'must see' locations or experiences at Idle Valley Nature Reserve to inspire our plans and help us prioritise access improvements. Your choices could be inspired by species, habitat, view, wildlife spectacle, seasonal features, atmosphere, discovery for children, etc. Please click this link to take you to a short survey to let us know your must see locations.

 
 
 

How to get to Idle Valley

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Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre,
North Road (A638),
Retford,
Nottinghamshire
DN22 8RQ
Tel: 01777 858 245

 

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
Tel: 01777 858 245

 

 

 

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 858 245

All opening hours are subject to change.

 

 

Events at Idle Valley

Wild Tots Idle Valley

Thursday 28th September 2017

Get your little one out in the great outdoors. Messy play and sensory activities for under 5s all inspired by a wildlife-focused story book. 10.30-11.30am, £4.50 per child. Outdoor clothing is essential. Parents and guardians are required to stay with their children. Booking required.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 858 245


Wild Woodlands

Thursday 26th October 2017

Join us for an exciting day of activities in our woods at Idle Valley. You will learn how to light fires safely, build your own shelters and learn bushcraft skills. You will also get a chance to explore the wildlife in a woodland setting. For children aged 8-14, 10.30am-2.00pm, £12. Outdoor clothing and a packed lunch are essential. Parents and guardians are not required to attend. Booking required.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 858 245


Wild Play Idle Valley

Friday 27th October 2017

Become an Idle Valley wildlife explorer and take part in one of our wildlife experiences. In this session we will be using sweep nets to find out about the invertebrates that live in grassland habitats. For children aged 5 +, £6 per child. 10.30am – 12.00 noon. Outdoor clothing is essential. Parents and guardians are required to stay with their children. Booking essential.
Contact: Rural Learning Centre 01777 858 245


Martin Hughes-Games: Courting Controversy

Friday 3rd November 2017

Martin is best known as one of the presenters on the BBC’s Winterwatch, Springwatch and Autumnwatch series. Join him at the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre for an evening talk, Q&A and book signing. His talk will take a look at how wildlife film makers produce amazing footage and discuss the techniques used to get the shots they want. 7.30-10.00pm, doors open 6.30pm. £18.95 or £21.95, refreshments available. Booking essential: http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop and click on the Wildlife Courses & Events category.


Stephen Moss: Birds Britannia

Friday 1st December 2017

Stephen Moss is a BAFTA award-winning TV producer, naturalist and TV presenter. Best known for his work on Springwatch, Stephen also produced Big Cat Diary, Birds Britannia and Birding with Bill Oddie. Join Stephen at the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre for an evening talk, Q&A and book signing. During his talk he will talk about why the British are so obsessed with birds. 7.30-10.00pm, doors open 6.30pm. £18.95 or £21.95, refreshments available. Booking essential: http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop and click on the Wildlife Courses & Events category.


Winter Tree Identification

Saturday 9th December 2017

Learn how to identify common trees in winter, without using leaves, at our Idle Valley Reserve. Includes analysis of a wide range of samples followed by a field session on the reserve. 10am-3pm, £35. To book, visit http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop and click on the Wildlife Courses & Events category.


Idle Valley Christmas Lecture – Lighting Up Nature

Sunday 10th December 2017

Join Rick Berry from Wise Owl Environmental Education for an interactive talk on light in nature. Take part in fun experiments that show how animals see light, and how some animals can even make their own light! Suitable for children age 6+ and their families. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 2-3pm, £6 per child. To book, visit http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/shop and click on the Wildlife Courses & Lectures category. 


News from Idle Valley

Wildlife Watch goes from strength to strength across the county

Tuesday 15th August 2017

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has long-established groups across the county and over the past few months we’ve been able to launch two great new groups thanks to the efforts of dedicated local volunteers and support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Find out more

 

We’re being supported by funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Thursday 26th January 2017

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to receive funding again for its woodland wildlife experiences for children and families during 2017.

Find out more

 

2017 Wildlife Lecture Series

Thursday 24th November 2016

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas present for a family member or friend? Do you want to make your new year’s resolution to learn more about nature? Then obtaining a ticket for one of our superb guest lectures may just be the thing for you!

Find out more

 

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 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

 
Idle Valley Nature Reserve Walks Map

Idle Valley Nature Reserve Walks Map

Click to download a map of the Idle Valley Nature Reserve highlighting walks of varying lengths.

Download Factsheet

 
Idle Access Map with graded routes

Idle Access Map with graded routes

We invite feedback from visitors about the level of detail, path grading and accessibility of this trial map. Note that this map is purely to assist with planning a visit if you have access needs, and not for general information about the trails or the reserve. This information is available separately – that’s not to say that we cannot merge these in the future. Please let us know your feedback via [email protected]

Download Factsheet

 
Belmore Lake route

Belmore Lake route

We invite feedback from visitors about the level of detail, path grading and accessibility of this trial map of Belmore Lake. Note that this map is purely to assist with planning a visit if you have access needs, and not for general information about the trails or the reserve. This information is available separately – that’s not to say that we cannot merge these in the future. Please let us know your feedback via [email protected]

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