Duckmanton Railway Cutting

Duckmanton Railway Cutting, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Duckmanton Railway Cutting, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust 

Rowsley speckled wood Shirley Freeman

Rowsley speckled wood Shirley Freeman

Willow tit, Paul Shaw

Willow tit, Paul Shaw

The first reserve acquired by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust specifically for its geology - rocks and fossils give this reserve geological interest, while grassland flowers attract a variety of butterflies.


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West of Arkwright Town, between Chesterfield and Bolsover
S44 5DN,

OS Map Reference

SK 4239 7037
A static map of Duckmanton Railway Cutting

Know before you go

2 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

There is limited parking at the entrance to the Arkwright Colliery Reclamation Site, just south of the site entrance.

Walking trails

Please note that rock exposures may be unstable - no unauthorised use of hammers or sample collecting.


Permit required for access, please contact the Trust. Paths through the reserve on both sides of the road are accessed by steep steps and stiles going down into the cutting - this is not ideal for those with mobility issues.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Spring/summer for wild flowers and insects and autumn for beautiful autumn colour

About the reserve

From ancient volcanic ash to coal formed in a lush tropical swamp and an internationally important Marine Band, this reserve has much to offer anyone with an interest in how our landscape has formed over millions of years.

This small nature reserve is recognised internationally because of the exposure of the Clay Cross/Vanderbeckei Marine Band. This is the defining point between the Middle and Lower coal measures, two points on the geological time scale. Marine Bands are important for dating other rocks of the time period. Thin layers of ancient volcanic ash also reveal that this landscape was periodically affected by volcanic eruptions.  

Duckmanton also exposes sequences of Coal Measures - these layers were formed in the Carboniferous Period, about 300 million years ago. They contain many non-marine platn and bi-valve fossils.  

On the sides of the cutting are areas of oak scrub and mixed deciduous woodland. Among the birds here are blue, great and willow tits and great spotted woodpeckers. Willow warblers visit during summer, and butterflies include speckled wood and small tortoiseshell.

Contact us

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01773 881188

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)