Natural England - Lower Derwent Valley NNR

Lower Derwent Valley NNR

The Lower Derwent Valley NNR comprises a series of flood meadows, pastures and woodlands.

View towards North Duffield Carrs - Peter Rowarth (Natural England)

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Main habitats: Lowland Grassland

Area: 467 Ha

Although most NNRs are managed by Natural England, 88 are wholly or partly managed by other bodies approved by Council, under Section 35 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Parts of the Lower Derwent reserve are managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trustexternal link and the Carstairs Countryside Trust.

The Lower Derwent Valley NNR supports a rich diversity of plant species and outstanding populations of breeding and wintering birds. In light of this, the reserve has been declared a Special Protection Area (SPAexternal link) and a Ramsarexternal link site.

What to see

Plant life: the reserve's wetter areas support stands of reed sweetgrass and bladder sedge, together with marsh stitchwort and tubular water-dropwort. Drier fields are rich in sedges and characteristic grasses, including meadow fescue, tall fescue and meadow foxtail. The rich herb flora includes marsh valerian, sneezewort, marsh arrowgrass and notably, early marsh and green-winged orchid, and the rare marsh pea. Aquatic habitats are also important. Ditches contain species such as water violet, greater water parsnip and flat-stalked pondweed.

Birdlife: the site supports a rich breeding bird community with more than 80 species recorded in recent years. Breeding wildfowl are of particular importance, with 13 species found here including the pintail, gargany and gadwall. Breeding waders seen in the area include curlew, lapwing, snipe and redshank.

In winter the grasslands support nationally important numbers of teal, Bewick's swan, wigeon, pochard and golden plover.

To monitor bird activity in the area, Natural England’s NNR team, volunteers and local bird ringers have a blog about their ringing project in the Lower Derwent Valley NNRexternal link

Mammals: the noctule, pipistrelle and Daubenton's bat are seen regularly, with occasional sightings of the brown long-eared bat. Brown hares are very common at the site as are common and pygmy shrew. There is a large population of field voles, and bank and water voles may also be seen.