Lots of viewing platforms and a feeding station.
Know before you go
Parking informationAll visitors are recommended to park in the free DCC car park next to the Dragon pub in the village - about a 10/15 minute walk into the reserves.
All visitors are recommended to park in the free DCC car park next to the Dragon pub in the village and walk down to the nature reserve.
The best way to get to the reserve is by public transport:
- The trentbarton V3 bus between Derby and Burton passes the entrance to the reserve- get off at the Willington Road stop and walk down the track to the entrance.
- Willington train station is on the line between Derby and Burton. There are hourly services stopping at Willington from both Derby and Burton with Cross Country trains, as well as trains from further afield locations such as Nottingham and Birmingham. There is a 10 minute walk from the station to the reserve.
There is a small public car park in the village of Willington, from which there is a 10-15 minute walk to the reserve. Please use this car park, rather than parking on residential streets.
There is no official parking at the reserve. Please keep the track between the road and entrance to the reserve clear, it is in 24 hour use for access for livestock and neighbouring landowners.
Access on the reserve is limited to the main track and the viewing platforms provided. Meadow Lane is accessible to mobility scooters in dry conditions, but please note that there are eight steps leading up to the second and third viewing platforms. The first platform and the bird hide are accessible to all.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitThis former gravel quarry is teeming with bird life all year round, from ducks in winter to sand martins and common terns in summer.
About the reserve
This former sand and gravel quarry provides a haven for wildlife in the Trent Valley.
The flooded gravel pits form an important wetland habitat attracting many rare birds in addition to a variety of more common species.
The reserve is particularly important for its wetland habitats, from open water to reed bed. Beavers now call Willington home, thanks to a beaver reintroduction that took place in September 2021 following years of planning. If you would like to visit to try and spot the beavers, please follow our guidelines here.
The shingle and grass islands provide a refuge for birds and are ideal for breeding waders.
The reed along the edges of the pools and in the old silt lagoon is home to a range of species and the grassland and duck marsh provide rich feeding for many species and breeding cover for others.
All year round the reserve is rich in bird life. In winter, large flocks of wildfowl gather, including wigeon, teal, pochard and shoveler.
In early spring, curlew gather on the wet grassland before they head north to their breeding grounds. During spring and autumn up to 20 species of wader pass through. Among the birds that breed at Willington are sand martins, lapwings and common tern.
Birds of prey also visit the reserve - these include peregrine, kestrel, hobby and sparrowhawk, as well as the very occasional marsh harrier. In recent winters, bittern has been seen at the reserve.
In addition to birds, Willington's wetlands also attract several species of dragonfly and damselfy as well as otters. The conditions suit water plants such as short-leaved water starwort.
Take a look at the latest sightings
Sightings blog - Week Starting 18th October 2021
Your wildlife life sightings in Derbyshire in the week starting 18th October
Week Starting 11th October 2021 Sightings Blog
Your wildlife sightings in Derbyshire in the week starting 11th October
Week Starting 4th October 2021 Sightings Blog
Your wildlife sightings in Derbyshire in the week starting 4th October
Week Starting 27th September 2021 Sightings Blog
Your wildlife sightings in Derbyshire in the week starting 27th September
Week Starting 20th September 2021 Sightings Blog
Your wildlife sightings in Derbyshire in the week starting 20th September
Week Starting 13th September 2021 Sightings Blog
Your wildlife sightings in Derbyshire in the week starting 13th September