Williamthorpe Nature Reserve

Green meadow

Come and visit one of our newest local nature reserves. Williamthorpe is a great place for bird watching, wildflowers and generally enjoying the countryside. The ponds and reed beds are a wildlife haven nestling in maturing woodland and hidden from the surrounding bustle of industry.

How to find us

You will find this nature reserve on the Five Pits Trail close to junction 29 on the M1.


Off the Mansfield Road, between Temple Normanton and Heath (Ordnance Survey grid ref SK431 671)

What makes Williamthorpe so special

Williamthorpe is a haven for wildlife. The mixed habitats of woodland, grassland and wetland make it a desirable place for all sorts of insects, small mammals and plants. Over 200 different species of bird have been recorded on site!

Until recently the largest pond was constantly filled with water pumped from disused collieries in the area. This kept the water temperature at 16 degrees centigrade and meant that even when the weather was coldest it rarely froze. Since mine water pumping has stopped we continue to monitor the water levels and may have to make changes to how we manage the site in future.

What you might see

Teal, tufted duck and pochard are regular visitors and occasionally we are lucky enough to spot jack snipe and water rail.

Throughout the year you should see a pair of our largest birds, the mute swans. They regularly nest and raise their young here.

Hidden in the reed beds, one of the largest in Derbyshire, you might catch a lucky glimpse of sedge or reed warblers who nest here.

Late spring, take a break on the seat in the grassland area and you will find a beautiful swath of southern marsh and common spotted orchids.

In the evening, just after dusk, you are almost certain to see some of our smallest mammals. Pipistrelle, Daubenton's and noctule bats have all been seen hunting for insects along the trail edges and around the ponds.

Look for the illustrated map in the related documents section of this page to help find your way around the reserve.

Bird hide

Keys for the bird hide are available for a small deposit from Clay Cross Countryside Centre

From the reserve, you can follow the Five Pits Trail, walking, cycling or horse riding, and explore more of our local countryside.

You can join the Chesterfield Round Walk (opens in a new window) from Williamthorpe and complete all or part of this 34 mile walking route that has spectacular views of Chesterfield.


Why not try our new adventurous track. You'll find it on the reserve off the trail as you head towards Grassmoor. The track is a similar standard to a blue grade mountain bike trail and is suitable for anyone with basic off-road riding skills. We built the track to add a little fun and adventure to your ride.


Williamthorpe Angling Club manage fishing on the ponds.

Day tickets (£5) are available from the bailiffs. For membership information please contact:

The Secretary, John Lewis
Seanor Lane
Lower Pilsley
S45 8DQ

Facilities available

  • FootpathYes
  • Bridleway/Horse riding trailYes
  • Picnic areaNo
  • Woodland with public accessYes
  • Wildlife areaYes
  • MuseumNo
  • Light refreshmentsNo
  • ParkingYes
  • ToiletsNo
  • Easy access for allYes
  • On-site informationYes
  • Camping/Caravan siteNo
  • Children's play areaNo
  • GardensNo
  • Nature trailNo
  • Events areaNo
  • Cycle pathYes

Contact details

tel: 01629 533020

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)