Dovedale National Nature Reserve

The steep sided, woodland ravines of the National Nature Reserve Dovedale

'Dovedale more like LOVEdale!' We know that so many people adore coming to Dovedale but might not realise that it is a National Nature Reserve that needs everyone's help to look after it. Please read on before you visit, to discover some vitally important ways you can help to look after this special place for nature and for people.

Share with care

Dovedale is a National Nature Reserve that serves as an important refuge and research location in terms of species movement due to climate change, and how we can improve the area to benefit more species of birds, animals, insects and amphibians. The National Trust has developed further links with universities and regular research is conducted on site, enabling a better understanding of the different habitats, species, geology and use by visitors. The Nature Reserve is a major resource for schools and other education providers who work in partnership with the us to inspire and teach young people about how delicate and sensitive Dovedale is and how best to look after it. 

The Nature Reserve is also a dynamic landscape where hundreds of thousands of visitors annually get a taste of the wild and experience everything that makes the dales of the White Peak so special, be it woodland, wildflowers, limestone crags or spectacular views - all at their best. But to help keep it at it's best we need everyone that visits to take special care of this beautiful place so that nature can thrive and other people in the landscape can enjoy their time here. 

Time together as a family in the great outdoors is a great way to make unforgettable memories and reconnect to nature
Family walking through woodland
Time together as a family in the great outdoors is a great way to make unforgettable memories and reconnect to nature

Respect, protect and enjoy

Since the easing of lockdown restrictions in England, beautiful places across the country have understandably attracted lots of visitors, but also disappointingly high volumes of litter, illegal camping, BBQs/campfires and fly-tipping. This puts a lot of pressure on our limited charitable resources, the emergency services and local communities, as well as damaging wildlife. It’s disheartening for our team and others who care deeply about our special places and since there is no quick or easy solution to this complex issue, we really empathise with the frustration that many are feeling.

We are working closely with our partners, local authorities and emergency services across the Peak District National Park to dissuade antisocial behaviour. Part of this activity includes new signage at most popular locations and strong consistent messaging across our websites. You will see more activity throughout the spring and summer months, so do follow our social media channels @PeakDistrictNT for the latest updates.

Litter left by visitors in the River Dove that flows through Dovedale
Litter left by visitors in the River Dove that flows through Dovedale
Litter left by visitors in the River Dove that flows through Dovedale

For the love of Dovedale

National Nature Reserves are open to the public, and we welcome our visitors to enjoy them freely whilst looking after this special place that you love to escape to.

If you love Dovedale then please follow our guidance for a visit that is enjoyable but respectful of the landscape at the same time: 

  • BBQs/campfires/outdoor cooking equipment (stoves/free standing BBQs) are not allowed anywhere in the Peak District National Park as they are a severe health and safety risk to the landscape and to people. If you see a fire get to a safe place and dial 999 and give location details. 
  • ‘Wild camping' (anywhere outside of designated camp sites) is only allowed with landowner permission, and the majority of landowners in the Peak District do not allow this. There's also no wild camping allowed on National Park Authority land or National Trust land. To avoid disappointment, we encourage anyone wanting to camp, to plan ahead and book in at a campsite. To book in at a campsite you can visit the Pitchup website which lists all the different campsites across the UK. 
  • Dogs on leads at all times is required when exploring any National Nature Reserve. This helps to protect the wildlife that lives there from disturbance and also is safest for you, your dog and other people exploring the area. 
  • Take all the litter that you brought with you home. Issues of access, emptying and servicing make the provision of bins extremely costly and our charitable resources, as well as staff and volunteer time is very limited. We have some incredible staff and volunteers who are picking up litter each day across our different Peak District sites. You can help look after the places you love to visit, by taking all your litter home when bins aren't available. This includes dog mess, tissues, wipes, nappies, shoes, picnic blankets etc. Fly-tipping is against the law and you can face heafty fines for doing so. 
  • It is safest for you and for nature that you stick to footpaths as you could easily disturb the home of animals that live in these areas, as well as delicate wildflowers, vegetation, insects and amphibians. 

Thank you for being #peakdistrictproud and helping to look after the places we all love.