Idle Valley Visitor Centre & Nature Reserve
Like all of our reserves across the county, Idle Valley Nature Reserve remains open to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. With its wide open spaces, this beautiful network of lakes, wetland, grassland and woodland provides an ideal location to connect with nature and get some fresh air.
We are delighted to announce that as from Friday 18th December 2020, we plan to reopen the café at Idle Valley Nature Reserve each Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 3pm for take-away drinks, cakes and snacks.
Opening hours will be subject to availability of staff and volunteers but we do plan to expand the number of days we’re open as soon as we can.
For the moment the toilets will remain closed due to the limited numbers of staff and the need to keep everyone safe.
We look forward to welcoming you back – we’ve missed you.
Will you help us look after this special place?
Idle Valley is the largest reserve in our care, located just five minutes away from Retford and within an hour of Nottingham, Lincoln, Doncaster, Sheffield and Newark.
This beautiful nature reserve is one of the largest in the East Midlands too and has something for everyone. Whether you’re planning a gentle stroll with the family, a spot of lunch in a tranquil setting or are looking for somewhere to spend a whole day wildlife watching Idle Valley Nature Reserve is the place to head. We have a wheelchair and pushchair friendly lakeside walk too.
Idle Valley is one of the richest birding sites in the region and species to look out for in winter include gadwall and little grebe. Our café and shop offer a warm welcome and a spectacular view over the reserve making it an ideal destination whatever the weather.
There is also a natural play area for self led den building and exploring!
Idle Valley Visitor Centre
Tel: 01777 858 245
For out of office hours, please leave us a message.
Den building area
The purpose built den building area on the left just off the path before you get to Belmoor Lake is open to all for self led den building and nature exploration. The area can get very boggy when very wet so dress for the weather and wear wellies!
Our shop at Idle Valley stocks a range of wildlife books, gifts and toys as well as a wide range of bird food and feeders.
We also have a specialist optics section for binoculars and wildlife watching telescopes and run regular optics events with special discounts and expert advice on hand.
Our café at Idle Valley serves a wide selection of home-cooked food, tasty snacks and hand-made cakes as well as a selection of teas, coffees and other drinks.
If you want to make the most of being outdoors, you can also enjoy your snacks and refreshments in our shady picnic area.
Here is an example of one of our fun family friendly events at Idle Valley:
Idle Valley Nature Reserve forms part of our Idle Valley Nature Recovery Network area where we are working with partners and neighbours to restore and re-connect a range of wildlife habitats.
For those wanting to learn more about the reserve’s wildlife we host activities such as monthly bird walks.
If you also want to get involved in caring for this special nature reserve there are a number of volunteer opportunities available.
Volunteers are needed to help care for the reserve but also to help with welcoming visitors, serving in the café and working with families and children at our Wildlife Watch sessions.
What's going on at Idle...
Wildlife Trust issues urgent call for volunteers to help reopen facilities
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today issued an urgent call for volunteers to help get its visitor reception, café and shop reopened…
Wildlife charity excited by response to lockdown inspired Open Call to Artist’s ahead of Postcard show planned for Nottinghamshire Nature Reserve
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is calling on more local people to join the hundreds that have already submitted artwork ahead of an…
Local photographer captures amazing photos of wildlife at Idle Valley Nature Reserve during lockdown
Local photographer and wildlife watcher Mike Vickers has captured a series of stunning images of birds and other wildlife at the site…