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Derbyshire Dales
National Nature Reserve


Location Guide

This NNR is within the Peak District National Park. It consists of five separate limestone valleys of Lathkill, Cressbrook, Monk's, Long and Hay. They represent some of the best examples of wildlife and geology in the White Peak. Larthkill Dale is a Spotlight Reserve because they offer the best opportunity for wildlife and is recommended for the casual visitor. The other dales are for more seasoned walkers.

Lathkill Dale is situated south west of Bakewell, between the villages of Over Haddon, Monyash and Youlgreave. There are car parks at Over Haddon and Moor Lane, Youlgreave.

What to see:

  • A river with many dippers
  • Spectacular views such as the view down the dale from the top of Ricklow Quarry steps
  • 360 million year old fossils in Ricklow Quarry
  • The woods in early May
  • The hay meadows in June as you approach Ricklow Quarry
  • Display of the blue-flowered jacobís ladder in June.
  • Lathkill Head Cave in full winter flood
  • For the clearest water Ė try the top end of Carterís Millpond. You get to it via a track running from the lane below Over Haddon. The track is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs (as is the gate by Over Haddon Mill) although the surfaced lane leading to it from the village is steep. It follows the river upstream through the woods and towards Carterís Mill, passing Batemanís House and the deep, dark mineshaft which runs under it as well as other lead mine remains along the way.
  • Batemanís House
  • Cross the Dale from north to south by crossing Cales Dale footbridge, climbing up to One Ash Grange and following the paths round to Monyash.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Lathkill Head Cave, Derbyshire

The reserve can be walked west to east (or vice versa) in about an hour and a half at a fast pace. English Nature have a virtual tour online that you can view at home before trekking out.

More detailed information

More detailed leaflets on sections of the reserve are available free from English Nature's Bakewell office (Tel: 01629 816640) or you can get downloadable copies by taking the links below:

Further information on this site and the other 21 English NNRs can be found in a colour 140-page book called Land Marks (this shows the cover of it). Which details their fascinating history and contains photographs, historic paintings and illustrations as well as detailed descriptions of these reserves, the historic personalities associated with them, and their wildlife interest.

Other dales worth a visit whilst in the area include:

Cressbrook Dale is situated 11.3 km north of Bakewell, between the villages of Wardlow and Litton. There are car parks at Upperdale in Monsal Dale, Monsal Head, Tideswell Dale and Ravensdale.  It has steeper paths, leading from the ash woods to a turf landscape dotted with rockrose and alive with butterflies and moths, broken by rocky outcrops and screes. More Information can be found in 12-page leaflet that includes a map.

Monkís Dale is situated 14.5 km north west of Bakewell. The nearest car park is at Miller's Dale station. It is a wilder prospect, needing more effort to reach its inner sanctum, but well worth that effort.  A detailed map can be found from this link Monkís Dale.

Hay and Long Dales are small and make a great trip for naturalists looking for limestone flowers and insects.  Hay Dale is situated 13 km north west of Bakewell, between the villages of Wheston and Peak Forest. The nearest car park is at Millerís Dale station. Whilst Long Dale is situated 9.7 km south of Bakewell, near the village of Elton. There are car parks at Minninglow, Friden and Elton.

How to get there

The Planning Grid below gives an overview of the details for Lathkill Dale and the Nature Reserve, details on how to find the other dales in the area are included within the description of each one above.

The Peak District is served by sections of the National Cycle Network. Click here for a map of the Over Haddon area or click here for a map of the Monyash area.

The nearest train stations are in Buxton, served by Northern Rail, and Matlock served by London Midland.

For details of local bus services visit the Derbyshire County Council website.


There are Youth Hostels at Bakewell, Youlgreave, Elton, Ravenstor (near Tideswell), Hartington and Buxton, as well as camping barns and campsites.

Location: Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve

Grid Reference: SK204666 Ceremonial County: Derbyshire

Map Link: VIEW MAP
(this is for the Car Park at Over Haddon)

Aerial photo:

Getting there: From the A6 at Bakewell take the B5055 out towards Monyash, turning off left into Over Haddon and its car park.

Access: Most of the open dale sides in the reserve are Access Land where one can walk freely, but take care to cross boundaries carefully, preferably at stiles or gates. Car parks can be found at Over Haddon and Moor Lane, Youlgreave.
Website: English Nature- Lathkill Dale
Other Useful Websites: English Nature
Email: peak.derbys@english-nature.org.uk
Address: English Nature, Peak District National Park, Endcliffe, Deepdale Business Park

Ashford Road, Bakewell, Derbys

Postcode: DE45 1GT Telephone: 01629 816640
Opening Times: Any reasonable time

Charges: Free

Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages:

Notes: Dogs should be kept under close control at all times - especially when there are sheep grazing - and should never be encouraged to enter the river. There are toilets at the Monyash end of the Lathkill Dale. Youth hostels and camp sites are in the area.


Best Times to Visit are early May for early purple orchids, cowslips and the hay meadow. Jacobs Ladder in mid June. At other times there are Trees, wildflowers, panoramic views, fossils, cave, water, and wildlife such as Dippers, water vole, butterflies.


Items to take with you should include a zoom lens, macro, wide lens, tripod, water and warm clothing if visiting during winter months.

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: National Park Key:
Page Ref: derbyshire_dales Topic: Routes    Last Updated: 07/2009


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