Nature Reserves

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Peak District National Park, DerbyshireWebsiteStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

The Peak District
National Park
Managed by:Peak District National Park Authority
OS grid reference:SK 246 789 (Brunts Barn)
Nearest postcode:S32 2JA (Brunts Barn)
Usual work:Path maintenance

The beautiful and tranquil Peak District National Park was established in 1951 and is Britain's first national park. The park spans 555 square miles and spreads out through parts of Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. It provides a wide variety of habitats including limestone dales, calcareous and acidic grassland, moorland, woodland and wetland.


The Peak District provides a wide variety of habitats due to its diverse geology. The Southern and central parts of the national park (referred to as the White Peak) lies on limestone, providing the picturesque limestone dales that are a mosaic of rivers, valleys, grassland, hay meadows and woodland. Underlying the acidic areas of the Dark Peak (to the North and East of the Park) and the South West Peak is a mixture of grit-stone and shale that are brown-grey sedimentary rocks. This provides both the high cliffs that dominate the landscape and the underlying rock for moorlands and wetland.

Flora and Fauna

White Peak contains a variety of grassland and woodland, the latter including ancient ashwood. Due to being farmed to provide winter feed for animals for hundreds of years the hay meadows provide perfect habitat for a diverse range of grasses, flora, insects, birds and small mammals. Insects recorded within the neutral pH meadows include the great yellow bumble bee, which feed on flora such as ribwort, meadow clover, meadow vetchling, ox-eye daisy and hay rattle. Cowslip and lady’s bedstraw are example flora to be found within the calcareous grassland, while within soft rush. marsh marigold and meadowsweet thrive within the areas of waterlogged meadow. Within the rarer acidic grassland within the park species such as betony, mat grass, purple moor grass and devils-bit scabious can be found where they provide food for a range of butterflies and moths including the marsh fritillary butterfly and the narrow-bordered bee hawk moth.

Heather dominates the acidic peaty soil of the Dark Peak moorland, although fauna including bilbery, bracken, and cotton-grass can also be found. There is also ancient semi-natural oak and birch woodlands within this area. The grassland and moorland support species of birds include the skylark, twite, lapwing, curlew, short eared owls, merlin and golden plover. Within the waterlogged bogs a variety of sphagnum mosses thrive, alongside some rarer species such as crowberry. The moorland-bog margins support sundew, bog asphodel and cranberry, which in turn support a diversity of insects and moorland wild fowl.

The Peak District is also home to adders, water voles, white-clawed crayfish, brown hares, and the only population of mountain hares in England.

Conservation Management

The Peak District National Park Authority is responsible for caring for both the countryside and local communities within the park, which includes a wide range of nature conservation work in addition to preservation of listed buildings and enabling public access. Due to the diverse range of habitats within the Peak District the conservation work carried out encompasses a wide range of tasks too numerous to mention here. Examples include the protection of woodland through woodland management techniques and planting of native species, protection and restoration of hay meadows through continued traditional management, and maintenance, restoration and re-creation of ponds throughout the park. OCV will assist the Peak District National Park Authority with tasks such as maintaining public access so that people can access the site without damaging the delicate, and often rare, habitats.


The best way to make your own way to Brunts Barn is by train, which takes under 3 hours from Oxford to Grindleford railway station and generally requires just one change at Sheffield. From Grindleford railway station take a left and you will see Brunts Barn on the left a little way down the road.

If driving from Oxford head North on the A34 and join the M40 North-bound. Leave the M40 and junction 10 and take the A43 to Northampton. When you get closer to Northampton follow sign for the M1 towards Birmingham and the North. Leave the M1 at junction 29 and take the A617 towards Chesterfield, and then the A619 towards Bakewell and Buxton. At Baslow join the A623 to Stockport . At the crossroads in Calver turn right onto the A625 at the traffic lights, and then left onto Main Road. Stay on this road until you see signs for Grindleford railway station, then follow those signs to leave the road onto a track. (If you see Padley Hill or Tegness Road on the right you have gone too far). Follow the track round to the left and past the train station. Brunts Barn will be on your left.

Peak Park Conservation Volunteers