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Elvaston Castle Local Nature Reserve

Elvaston Castle Country Park not only has grade 11* listed gardens, but has its own designated Local Nature Reserve (LNR) for wildlife.


Elvaston LNR board

The Local Nature Reserve is currently closed to the public due to suspected bird flu at the park, in order to help reduce the chances of the disease spreading through our local wild bird population. We will review this regularly and open it as soon as we think it is safe to do so. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

It became a LNR in 1989 and covers roughly 13.5 hectares. Depending on how much you stop along the way, it should take you around an hour to follow the footpaths around the site. There’s lots to see!

The reserve contains veteran trees that were originally part of William Barron’s landscape design from the 19th century. It is also connected to the more formal gardens and estate by waterways that feed Elvaston’s Lake and wider gardens.

The reserve has a large reed bed area, wild flower meadows, wet woodlands, a lake and islands. It supports a large population of grass snakes. So keep your eyes peeled for snakes basking in the warmer weather.

Most paths are open all year round, but unfortunately become muddy in winter or in prolonged wet weather. A few are closed seasonally, to restrict access to the reed beds during the nesting season.

The reserve is designated for nature conservation and to minimise disturbance to wildlife. We ask you not to bring dogs, horses or other domesticated animals onto the site. Please explore the reserve on foot and leave your bicycles at the entrance. You'll find a small rack to lock it up should you wish to.

If you're interested in volunteering and would like to help us manage Elvaston’s Local Nature Reserve. Take a look at our volunteer pages.

A map of the reserve is attached to this page. Or you can buy a copy from our information centre and shop in the cobbled courtyard.

News

Together with interpretation boards located in key habitats on the site, the Elvaston team will:

  • keep you up to date with how volunteers are helping us to deliver the management plan
  • let you know what wildlife (flora and fauna) have been spotted
  • explain what we're doing and why

Elvaston Reserve Action Group (ERAG) have continued to provided invaluable assistance in promoting the reserve to a wider audience, securing funding to purchase wildlife cameras and a monitor.

What's happening on Gretricks and why

If you're a frequent visitor to the nature reserve you may have noticed Gretricks field has undergone some intense management over the past 3 years.

This has been part of our vision for the reserve - to maximise the sites potential for flora and fauna, providing a wide variety of plant species that will enhance biodiversity, linked in to Derbyshire's biodiversity action plan. Following consultation with our biodiversity officer and other agencies, a number of trials are underway.

To the north of the field we have planted a game cover mix. This provides cover for nesting birds and a food source for mammals.

To the west of the field we planted 2 varieties of wild flowers. These wild flowers provide a nectar source for insects including the returning and locally rare Volucella zonaria.

On the central part of the field (both left and right flanks) we've planted a species-rich grass mix to create a grass-rich meadow.

To the south of the field we have a living bird table, which has been very successful in attracting a wide variety of birds and providing a food source over the cold winter months.

At the most southerly point just before the scrape, we've planted more wild flowers to attract insects and provide opportunities for hunting dragonflies.

Do keep an eye on Gretricks Field and let us know what flora and fauna you spot over the coming months. Tel: 01629 533870 to report your sightings, or drop in to the rangers' office in the corner of the cobbled courtyard. Don't forget to let us know the date you saw them. Photographs are always very welcome.