Set within the Peak District National Park, Dove Stone is a dramatic landscape that's home to an array of wildlife. This is a place to spot Curlews, Golden Plover and Mountain Hare on open moorland and blanket bog, or Peregrine Falcons and Ravens soaring over old quarry cliffs. In the winter, Mountain Hares stand out in their white winter coats as they sunbathe on the rocks above the path leading up to Chew reservoir.
Our grasslands buzz with bees and butterflies and, throughout the reserve, dragonflies and damselflies dart over ponds, while Palmate Newts, toads and frogs hide beneath the surface.
Take a 2.5 mile walk around the edge of the Dove Stone reservoir, stopping off for lunch at the picnic area and exploring woodland paths along the way. Those after a longer walk on rougher terrain can check out Yeoman Hey and Greenfield reservoirs, or for truly spectacular views across the national park, walk the 1.5 mile route to Chew reservoir. Dedicated hill hikers can head off on circular walks through the open moorland above the reservoirs – you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views.
Working with the landowner, United Utilities, we look after the site’s different habitats to create the ideal conditions for wildlife. The internationally important blanket bog above Dove Stone reservoir took around 5,000 years to develop, but in the last 200 years has been degraded by acid rain, burning and heavy grazing. This left vast areas of eroded peat and gullies. We are working to make the bog wetter again by blocking gullies, while volunteers have also been busy planting sphagnum mosses on areas of bare peat.
This work benefits Curlews, Golden Plovers, Red Grouse and Dunlins, but that’s not all – healthy peat bogs also lock away carbon, helping to reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, reduce flood and fire risk and improve drinking water.
Elsewhere on the reserve we have been planting trees, bilberry and heather at the edges of the moorland for wildlife such as Ring Ouzels. Planting wildflowers and digging more ponds means there is more wildlife to see around the main Dove Stone trail, too.
There is a memorial woodland at Dove Stone called Celebration Wood where trees can be planted in memory of loved ones.