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Hilton Gravel Pits

These worked-out gravel pits provide refuge for a number of species

View recent sightings at Hilton Gravel Pits.

The combination of lakes and ponds, woodland and sheltered sunny areas make the former gravel pits at Hilton a haven for wildlife. The reserve supports species that are fast declining in this country including the great crested newt and black poplar. The reserve is well-known for its dragonflies and damselflies. Fifteen species have been recorded here, among them the emperor and ruddy darter dragonflies and the emerald and red-eyed damselflies. The old gravel pit settling beds provide a sheltered area where they can feed and where plants such as southern marsh orchids and common twayblade have now established themselves. The ponds and lakes attract many species of waterfowl. You can see coot, great crested grebe and tufted duck, while in spring the water is an amphibian nursery - frogs, toads, great crested and common newts all breed here. A streak of blue flashing across the water will alert you to the presence of a kingfisher. Walk through the woodland in autumn and you will find a wealth of fungi growing near the path - among the many species that flourish here are fly agaric and shaggy inkcap.

Please note that dogs are no longer permitted in the main area of this nature reserve. This is to protect our grazing livestock and the reserve's wildlife.

Dogs are still permitted on the main perimeter track that runs from Willowpit Lane to Sutton Lane. We would ask you to observe the following conditions:

  • Keep to the footpaths provided.
  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times.
  • Clean up after your dog and take the mess home with you.
  • Keep your dog out of the water.

Species and habitats

Wetland, Woodland

Nearby nature reserves

Willington Gravel Pits
4 miles - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
7 miles - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Carvers Rocks
8 miles - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Just north of Hilton village
Map reference
SK 249 315
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Opening Times
Open at all times
29.00 hectares
There is disabled access to about half the reserve. Wheelchairs can be taken along the main track that runs the length of the reserve and through the kissing gates into the main woodland compartment around the lake but at the moment the path is being restored and may be too rough for comfot so care is needed.
Walking information
The water in the ponds is deep - please keep to the paths.
Park on the dead-end road off Willowpit Lane, opposite the nursery. Access is through the wooden gate.
Dogs must be on lead
Reserve manager
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01773 881188