Know before you go
Parking informationPark just off Porter Lane, DE4 4FT or at The National Stone Centre
Grazing animalsYes, sometimes
Paths open at all times. Please note that the reserve has some dangerous mine shafts which are normally capped but may be liable to soil movement. Please be careful.
There is limited parking for disabled visitors, by agreement with the neighbouring land owner, adjacent to the recreation ground and adjoining the reserve on the western boundary. All paths are uneven but several should be accessible to wheelchairs (accompanied) and people of limited mobility in dry weather.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitEarly summer for the wild flowers - follow the wild flower trail
About the reserve
This reserve is part of an ancient lead mining area.
The name Gang Mine comes from the word 'gangue', meaning waste, for the waste minerals which were dumped around the shafts. The lead spoil heaps are of little agricultural use, and only a small number of plants are able to tolerate the high concentration of minerals.
Among the species that thrive here are the nationally rare spring sandwort, and alpine pennycress. Both are locally known as leadwort. The lead spoil grades into other open areas. In some, lichens dominate the ground cover, while in others colonising species such as kidney vetch and thyme dominate. These open areas provide ideal conditions for ground-hunting invertebrates such as wolf spiders and ground beetles.
Away from the lead spoil heaps the habitat is mostly unimproved neutral grassland with a variety of flowers such as yarrow, mouse-ear hawkweed and bush vetch and occasional pyramidal orchid. The dew pond, a traditional drinking place for livestock, has been restored and adds an interesting feature to the reserve, providing permanent water, a valuable habitat for amphibians including the rare great crested newt.
Metal-rich grasslands such as Gang Mine are uncommon across Europe and because of this the area has been designated not only as a Site of Special Scientific Interest but also under European Law as a Special Area of Conservation.
Take a look at the latest sightings
Sightings from Drakelow Nature Reserve
The latest sightings from Thomas Cockburn.
Sightings from The Avenue Washlands
The latest sightings from Brian Cutell.
Witches Oak Water sightings
Colin Baxter tells us about his recent sightings at Witches Oak Water.
Guy Badham's exciting sighting at Deep Dale and Topley Pike!
Sightings at Rose End Meadows
Gary Atkins fills us in on the wildlife down at Rose End Meadows
The latest sightings from Drakelow Nature Reserve
Thomas Cockburn talks us through the latest sightings at Drakelow.
Nearby nature reserves
Download our nature reserve leaflets
Check out the reserve map
Play Wild rating
Play Wild all year round but beware of mine shafts.