Know before you go
Parking informationPlease use County Council's Peter Fidler car park off Riverside Way.
To reduce disturbance, the reserve is accessible only on the concessionary paths. Full disabled access around all the paths on this reserve and to all three viewing screens. There is no access to the fishing platforms for wheeled vehicles. There are no stiles.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times.
Fishing closed season from 16th March to 30th June
Best time to visitAll year round - Summer for sand martins and dragonflies and winter for wintering ducks
About the reserve
This wetland reserve is a great place for birdwatching. The mixture of open water, marsh, wet and dry grassland, scrub and trees attracts a rich variety of birds throughout the year.
In winter large numbers of wildfowl feed in the wetlands and surrounding grasslands. Large flocks of wigeon graze the banks while teal can be seen preening and feeding on the water's edge. As well as wildfowl, the reserve attracts wintering flocks of finches and buntings, which feed along the field boundaries. A more secretive winter visitor is the water rail, which skulks above the marsh areas. More often heard than seen, it has a distinctive squealing call.
Spring and autumn are important times on the reserve, as many birds are on migration and Carr Vale is an ideal place for them to feed and roost. In September, swallows gather in the marsh, in a roost of between 1-2,000 birds. They usually attract hobbies, birds of prey which are skilled hunters on the wing. In early summer the marsh and scrub are home to a range of breeding birds, including reed and sedge warblers, whitethroat, yellowhammer, moorhen and gadwall.
The grassland provides nesting habitat for the nationally declining skylark. The marker on the map below shows the access point after you have walked through Derbyshire County Council's Peter Fiddler Reserve.
Take a look at the latest sightings
The latest sightings at Drakelow
Tom Cockburn gives us the latest updates from Drakelow Nature Reserve....
Spring is on the way at Carr Vale
Mark Beevers sums up the second week of March with his sightings at Carr Vale....
Hedgehogs are waking up!
Hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation in Derbyshire.
Spring at Carr Vale
Mark Beevers records the sightings from the first week of March at Carr Vale.
Frogspawn at Somercotes!
Frogspawn has been spotted in the local ponds.
Sightings at Drakelow with Tom Cockburn
The latest sightings at the Drakelow reserve.
Nearby nature reserves
Download our nature reserve leaflets
Check out the reserve map
Play Wild rating
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