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Things to see and do at Staunton Harold

Image shows a family of three cycling along a path alongside the wildflower meadows, flourishing with yellow buttercups. In the background you can see views across the water.
Family enjoying a bike ride at Staunton Harold | © National Trust/Annapurna Mellor

Find a slice of idyllic countryside at Staunton Harold, a 210-acre reservoir with woodland walks, abundant wildflower meadows and spectacular views. From walking and water sports to wildlife spotting and outdoor play, find out what there is to see and do on your visit to Staunton Harold here.

Top things to see at Staunton Harold

Staunton Harold is a 210-acre countryside space, home to one of the largest reservoirs in Derbyshire. At this hidden gem you'll discover wildflower meadows, woodland habitat, industrial archaeology and nature reserves, along with spectacular views across open water.

Top things to see include the Tower Windmill, which dominates the skyline, a children’s play area for family days out and sweeping views across the reservoir.

At nearby Dimminsdale, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, you’ll find open water ponds where quarrying excavations once mined for lead and limestone. Look out for derelict lime burning kilns and other industrial features hidden among the vegetation.

Walking at Staunton Harold

Situated in the heart of the National Forest, Staunton Harold is a peaceful spot for walking, with links to the wider National Forest network and nearby Calke Abbey.

All paths at Staunton Harold are multi-use, so please be respectful of other users and share with care.

Please keep dogs out of the water

Please keep dogs on leads to protect nature and wildlife, and keep them out of the water for their safety, where blue-green algae is present.

A view across Staunton Harold Reservoir with sandy banks visible around the front and right edge of the water, which is surrounded by trees and greenery.
There are lots of waymarked walks at Staunton Harold | © Severn Trent/Daniel Wildey

Staunton Harold circular walk

This 2.5km (1.4-mile) circular walk enjoys reservoir views and wildflower meadows, with some stiles, slopes and muddy ground when wet. Take a photo of the map when you arrive at the car park and follow the waymarkers along the route.

Staunton Harold to Calke Abbey

Take in views of the reservoir, arable fields and woodland on this 2.7km (1.7-mile) walk to nearby Calke Abbey, where you can continue to explore, or return along the same route back to Staunton Harold. There are some stiles, slopes and muddy ground when wet along this walk.

Wildflower walk

This 2.5km (1.5-mile) scenic walk takes you along the reservoir bank and wildflower meadows, which you’ll see in various stages of bloom between April and September. Look out for swallows hunting low as the meadow comes alive with insects in the summer. Follow the yellow waymarkers along the wildflower walk.

Snowdrop trail at Dimminsdale

Park at nearby Dimminsdale car park to enjoy a short, circular walk around Dimminsdale Nature Reserve, where you’ll find a carpet of snowdrops in late winter and early spring. Discover the remains of lime kilns and the site’s industrial heritage all year round. This walk includes steps, stiles, boardwalks and bridges.

Orienteering trail

Get active in the outdoors on Staunton Harold’s orienteering trail, suitable for adults and families. Pick up a trail from the café and enjoy an outdoor adventure across woodland and along the water’s edge.

Activities on the water

Fancy getting out on the water? Staunton Harold Sailing Club offers a variety of water sports from sailing activities to windsurfing and paddleboarding, with training available for beginners of all ages.

The tranquil reservoir is also an ideal fishing spot, with around 2.2km of bank fishing available. Day tickets are available through Burton Mutual Angling Association.

Find out more about water sports and how to book using the links below.

Image shows a path in the woodlands between a stone wall at Staunton Harold
Enjoy a woodland walk this winter at Staunton Harold | © National Trust/David Goacher

Wildlife spotting at Staunton Harold

Staunton Harold is home to a variety of wildlife habitats, including wildflower meadows, woodland habitat and open water, making it a great place for wildlife spotting.

Spring and summer are the best times to see the wildflowers in bloom, which encourages insects like butterflies and bees, and you’ll often see swallows hunting in the meadows at this time of year. The orchids are a particular highlight in the wildflower meadows in summer.

In late winter and early spring, Dimminsdale’s snowdrop display is a highlight, accessible from the Dimminsdale car park or nearby Calke Abbey.

Look out for veteran trees in Charnells Wood, an important habitat for plants, birds and insects.

Bring along a picnic

While there’s a dog-friendly café at Staunton Harold offering a range of hot and cold refreshments, including ice creams for those sunny days and hot chocolates for warming chilly fingers, you’re welcome to bring along a picnic to enjoy anywhere at Staunton.

Barbecues not permitted

Barbecues and open fires are not permitted anywhere at Staunton Harold, and we ask you to take care of the countryside by taking all litter home with you.

Things to do for families

With plenty of open space, there are lots of ways to enjoy family days out at Staunton Harold – from picnics and playgrounds to family walks and orienteering trails.

The playground is an essential stop-off for adventurous children who love to climb, swing and spin, located near the main car park.

Why not complete some of your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ at Staunton Harold? Find a spot in the woods to build a den, get to know a tree, or join nature’s band and see what sounds you can make in nature. If you’re new to ‘50 things’, pick up a wallchart and stickers from the café to begin your nature adventures.

A view of the water tower at Staunton Harold with a blue, cloudy sky above and bare trees visible around the tower.

Discover more at Staunton Harold

Find out how to get to Staunton Harold, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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Fancy a day on the water? Staunton Harold Sailing Club offers a variety of water sports at Staunton, from sailing activities to windsurfing and paddleboarding, with training available for beginners of all ages. All launching of watercraft must be through the sailing club.

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The tranquil surroundings of Staunton Harold make an ideal fishing spot, with around 2.2km of bank fishing available. Day tickets are available through Burton Mutual Angling Association.

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Eating at Staunton Harold

The café is open every day serving a range of hot and cold drinks, light bites, sandwiches and sweet treats. Dogs are welcome inside the café, with dog treats and essentials available to buy. Seating is available indoors and outdoors.

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