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Willington Gravel Pits

Update: A permit is required to access the hide - please contact the Trust. 

This former sand and gravel quarry provides a haven for wildlife in the Trent Valley

View sightings for Willington Gravel Pits


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. 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.

Species and habitats

Sand Martin, Lapwing, Bittern

Nearby nature reserves

Hilton Gravel Pits
4 miles - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Carvers Rocks
4 miles - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Spring Wood
6 miles - Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Willington Gravel Pits is situated down an unmade lane (Meadow Lane) which comes off the Repton road just before the bridge over the River Trent.
Burton upon Trent, Derby
Map reference
SK 285 274
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Opening Times
Open at all times
44.00 hectares
Access is currently limited to the lane 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 each of the viewing platforms. There is a height restriction into the car park of the site (the height is 6 foot 6 inches). We can unlock that if given sufficient notice, however this barrier is in place to prevent caravans/motorhomes going down this track.
Parking is limited. Please park at the top end of Meadow Lane and continue into the reserve on foot unless you require closer parking for mobility reasons.
Dogs must be on lead
Reserve manager
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01773 881188