Lead mining is the reason Arkwright built his Mills in the Derwent Valley. The water that pumped out of the mines to Cromford was always warm providing water for the Mills that never froze. The history around the Mills has left many unique features for Wildlife. Gang Mine Nature Reserve is part of Middleton’s ancient lead mining area.
Today the lead spoil heaps are of little agricultural use, and only a small number of plants are able to tolerate the high concentration of minerals. Among the species that thrive here are the nationally rare spring sandwort, and alpine pennycress – known as leadwort.
In some areas, lichens dominate the ground cover, while in others colonising species such as kidney vetch and thyme have taken over. These open areas provide ideal conditions for ground-hunting invertebrates such as wolf spiders and ground beetles.
The dew pond, a traditional drinking place for livestock, has been restored and adds an interesting feature to the reserve, providing permanent water, a valuable habitat for amphibians including the rare great crested newt. Metal-rich grasslands such are uncommon across Europe and because of this the area has been designated not only as a Site of Special Scientific Interest but also under European Law as a Special Area of Conservation.
Take a further look at Gang Mine
What other Derbyshire Wildlife Trust reserves would you like to visit along the Derwent Valley?
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Sandy Hill, Main Street, Middleton, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 4LR
Tel: 01773 881188. Email firstname.lastname@example.org