Attenborough Nature Reserve
This complex of flooded gravel pits and islands covers 145 hectares and provides an ideal habitat for a wide range of plants, birds and other wildlife. The nature reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with the owners, Cemex with support from Broxtowe Borough Council. The SSSI extends westwards beyond Barton Lane to the County Boundary. Download a map of the reserve
About the Reserve
The reserve was established in 1966 and opened by Sir David Attenborough. It comprises a series of disused gravel pits excavated between 1929 and 1967. The process of recolonisation over some 40 years has created a wide range of aquatic and waterside habitats. Between the ponds are drier areas of scrub and grassland as well as areas of native willow and old stream courses. New species of plants and invertebrates are continually being recorded as part of the recolonisation process. The reserve has a wide range of fish and invertebrates including great diving beetle, damselflies, dragonflies (including the four-spotted chaser and southern and migrant hawkers), and zebra and swan mussels. Amphibians include the smooth newt.
The reserve is best known for its birds. The area is an important site for winter wildfowl and often holds a high proportion of the County’s shoveler and diving ducks, with larger numbers of mallard, teal, and occasionally wigeon. Scarcer wildfowl such as sawbills and sea ducks are recorded regularly and cormorants are common. All the British grebes have been recorded. In the spring and autumn, many migrants birds pass through and the delta area attracts a wide range of waders in small numbers. In the summer, the breeding birds include great crested grebe, shelduck, little ringed plover and common tern. A substantial population of reed and sedge warblers, and some rarer species such as grasshopper warbler, may also be present.
The reserve has an important educational role and is the venue for guided walks, Wildlife Watch activities and research. There are two public hides open all from 9am to 4pm daily (except Christmas Day). These hides have some great pictures and information about what you might see there. The kingfisher hide on Barton Lane has bird feeders to attract a large range of birds such as tree sparrow, great spotted woodpecker, chaffinch and many birds you will see in your garden. Kingfisher are also seen from this hide. A further bird watching hide is situated opposite the delta area; a passcode may be purchased from the Nature Centre. A nature trail guide and a full colour leaflet are also available in the Nature Centre.
Families have been visiting this site for many years to enjoy the views and walks around this haven for wildlife. There are several circular walks to suit all fitness levels and a favourite pass time is feeding the ducks (we do not recommend feeding bread to the ducks).
Management includes maintenance of the footpath network (and the associated marginal vegetation.) The Delta Sanctuary is a restricted access area in which much work is done to maintain the diversity of its habitats and the associated flora and fauna.