Part of the Ilkeston Cam "Days Out" Series

Calke - Dimminsdale Nature Reserve
w/e 11 February 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

We ventured a little further away than usual for this set of images but it was still less than 20 miles from Ilkeston to the southern end of the Staunton Harold Reservoir in South Derbyshire, near Melbourne. We parked on the Springwood Car Park and followed the road round the bend and over the small bridge that can be seen on the left of the image above. The entrance to Dimminsdale Nature Reserve is about 50 metres beyond the bridge.

Entrance Path

The path from the entrance leads via a small footbridge and a number of steps to an information board to a point where it splits to follow a circular route around the site. We opted to go right in an anti-clockwise direction but we saw marker posts as we walked and it soon became apparent the they were numbered in descending order so perhaps the normal way to go is the clockwise direction.
Information Boards

We maybe should have spent more time studying the information boards of which there are several instead of photographing them for later perusal.


The whole reserve is on a site that has been the subject of mineral extraction as in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries both limestone and lead mining took place here. After the cessation of the mining activity, the quarries flooded and created a number of pools and brooks. This one was in a fairly sheltered place and was only partly covered by a thin layer of ice.

The south-western corner of the site is renowned in February for displays of snowdrops and this was one of the things that had instigated our visit.

The path around the site is about a mile long and visitors are advised not to stray from it as it could well be dangerous to do so. There are several mine shafts on the site as well as the water filled quarries. The path from the snowdrop area passes above a quarry and quite close to edge as can be seen above.

Further evidence of the earlier industrial activity can be seen in the remains of kilns that were built to burn limestone for the production of lime but most of the other buildings that stood on the site have now disappeared. The snowdrops originated in the gardens of cottages used by workers for the Staunton Estate.
Laundry Pool

The main quarry on the site was owned by the Harpur-Crewe family and was at one time overlooked by a cottage which served as a laundry for Staunton Harold Hall half a mile further up the valley. This gave rise to this expanse of water being called the Laundry Pool. The reserve is now owned by Severn Trent Water and managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

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