Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Nature Diary - the best places to see wildlife in March

Wild daffodils, Lea Wood Photo: Kelvin Lawrence

Wild daffodils, Lea Wood Photo: Kelvin Lawrence - Credit: Archant

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust manages 43 nature reserves throughout the county, from wetlands to upland woodlands and wildflower meadows, each month they will be suggesting the best places to go to see wildlife and what you can expect to find there

Chiffchaff Photo: Amy Lewis

Chiffchaff Photo: Amy Lewis - Credit: Archant

Lea Wood, Matlock: For those of you near the centre of the county, Lea Wood is a great reserve to visit in March. Lea Wood borders Cromford Canal and at this time of year the wild daffodils are in flower. Much-beloved by William Wordsworth, a host of wild daffodils is a rare sight these days. The hazel catkins, or lamb’s tails, should be out too. Catkins are the male flower of the hazel. The female flower looks like a small bud with a protruding red style.

Overdale, South of Hope Valley, Sheffield: If you fancy a breath of really fresh air, then visit Overdale in March. This upland reserve lies high above the Hope Valley, not far from Abney. Sit on the makeshift bench and contemplate the carpet of primroses on the hillside opposite. A little later in the spring, the stonechat can be heard calling from the drystone walls. They are named after their song, which sounds just like two stones being knocked together.

Willington Gravel Pits, : For those in the south of the county, Willington Gravel Pits is the perfect place to spend a March day. As you walk down the lane that borders the reserve, listen for a chiffchaff singing. Their song is really the only reliable way to distinguish them from the willow warbler, as both birds look remarkably similar, brown on top and pale yellow underneath. Another small brown bird that you might hear at Willington this month is the Cetti’s warbler. Once confined to a few sites in south east England, the Cetti’s warbler is starting to move north, and is now often reported at various sites in lowland Derbyshire. While you are here, make sure you look out for a stoat or weasel – as the vegetation is low, now is a great time to try and see one.

Primrose Photo: Paul Shaw

Primrose Photo: Paul Shaw - Credit: Archant

To find out all the location, access and visitor details for these nature reserves, please visit