Why you should visit the Gang Mine Nature Reserve near Cromford

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 August 2018

Milkwort at Gang Mine Photo: Kieron Huston

Milkwort at Gang Mine Photo: Kieron Huston

Derbyshir Wildlife Trust

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is working across six Living Landscapes, with 46 nature reserves, to ensure there is wildlife and wild places for everyone. Reserve Officer Julia Gow tells us about this reserve near Middleton by Wirksworth

A wildlife bench on which to rest Photo: Jacky SwiftA wildlife bench on which to rest Photo: Jacky Swift

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Gang Mine Nature Reserve is a must to see at this time of year. Not only will you find fields of flowers but also a dew pond teaming with life and the remnants of an industrial past. Gang Mine is situated at the top of Cromford hill opposite the National Stone Centre.

This important Site of Special Scientific Interest was 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. Now the lead spoil heaps are a home for wildlife. In the spring the heaps were covered in the white starry flowers of the spring sandwort which is a fairly rare plant and likes to grow in lead rich soils.

In the summer, there are open areas around the spoil heaps where purple wild thyme, yellow kidney vetch and bird’s-foot trefoil grow.

Away from the lead spoil heaps there are meadows of calcareous grassland with a variety of flowers, such as yarrow, mouse-ear hawkweed and bush vetch and the occasional pyramidal orchid.

Common Frog Photo: Philip PreceyCommon Frog Photo: Philip Precey

Thanks to funding from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund through the Derbyshire Environmental Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has installed a wild flower trail illustrated with some of the typical plants that are found here. Visitors can follow the trail to less frequented parts of the reserve. In addition new interpretation panels have been installed which feature a map and information about this wonderful place. There is an additional interpretation panel featuring the geology of the area.

Across the road, the iconic Black Rocks is a gritstone outcrop, whereas Gang Mine is on carboniferous limestone which was formed some 340 million years ago by the sea creatures that lived here when practically the whole of Derbyshire was covered by a shallow warm clear sea.

The dew pond is now open for visitors and people can enjoy pond dipping here. Around the pond there are signs depicting some of the creatures to be found within its depths.

If you fancy admiring the view you can rest a while on the fabulous hand-carved bench which features pond life including a frog, a newt and a water boatman.

After visiting Gang Mine you could pop over to Black Rocks and have a delicious coffee and a slice of cake from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s newly opened Badger Barista Café.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust runs regular volunteer reserve work parties to carry out essential habitat and general maintenance work.

If you would like to volunteer with the Trust call 01773 881188 and if you are not already a member, be sure to sign up. For more information about Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, visit the website www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk

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