Duckmanton Railway Cutting
Know before you go
Parking informationThere is limited parking at the entrance to the Arkwright Colliery Reclamation Site, just south of the site entrance.
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.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring/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.
Nearby nature reserves
Download our nature reserve leaflets
Read about the history of this reserve
Play Wild rating
Play Wild all year round.