The nature reserve is a disused railway track and now contains areas of grassland and woodland. The site covers over 8 ½ hectares and is a Local Nature Reserve, which includes a section designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is owned by Mansfield District Council and leased to the Wildlife Trust.
About the Reserve
The site contains some of the best remaining calcareous grassland in the county. It also includes fine examples of calcareous woodland and scrub as well as interesting limestone crags and fissures. The River Meden, which passes through the Vale, suffers from pollution but still has important marsh and aquatic communities and is lined with alders. The grassland is dominated by tor grass but includes many characteristic wild flowers such as wild basil, great burnet saxifrage and nettle-leaved bellflower. The woodland is typically ash/elm with a rich shrub layer dominated by hazel. The ground flora supports many ancient woodland indicators including yellow archangel, sweet woodruff and dog’s mercury. There are many species of invertebrate including many common butterfly species. The limestone caves and fissures are of considerable geological and palaeontological interest. The dry stone walls, which border the railway track form an unusual feature for Nottinghamshire. The huge and now derelict Viyella Mills, built of magnesian limestone, straddle the river, which forms the County boundary. The former rail track is surfaced with acidic ash so the flora is variable.
All three species of woodpecker can be found although green woodpeckers are scarce. A wide range of woodland birds can be seen along the trail including nuthatch and hawfinch. In the summer many of the warblers can be heard if not seen. Grey wagtails have been recorded.
For some more pictures of the reserve please go to our flickr set
The main aims of management are to maintain the diversity of habitats and encourage public access whilst ensuring that the wildlife value of the site is protected.
How to Get There
The reserve is open to the public and it forms part of the more extensive Pleasley Trails network. There are several access points into the reserve: Meden Square Pleasley (SK505642), Main Car Park (SK505643), East End Car Park (SK526646), and Central Car Park & Picnic Site (SK511647). If you are using SatNav for the latter entrance, enter NG19 7RU. There is access for the disabled at the main car parks to some parts of the trail. There are a number of well-maintained paths and circular routes within the reserve.
If you would like further details about the reserve, or if you are interested in getting involved in the management of the site, please call the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust office on 0115 958 8242.