Discover the Wonderful Wildlife of Dovedale
Often regarded as the prettiest of the Peak District's limestone dales, Dovedale is a wildlife enthusiasts paradise. The limestone cliffs and tranquil River Dove provide the optimum conditions for life to flourish and let Mother Nature do what she does best. Such richness of biodiversity has rightfully earned Dovedale the status of being a designated 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' and an official National Nature Reserve.
The varied and virile landscape includes some the finest ash woods our England has to offer. The steep flanks, crags and scrub of the gorge drip with rare lichens, mosses and wild flowers (such as Herb Robert) are a popular attraction, and many visitors come specifically to see the wild and rare Jacobs Ladder with its striking electric blue blooms. Geologically speaking, the gorge of Dovedale actually straddles the border of two differing counties, namely that of Staffordshire to the north (shale) and Derbyshire to the south (limestone). This creates a melting pot of eco-diversity, showcasing different species on each side of the river. To the north, the grasslands are littered with Cuckoo Flowers and Orange Tip Butterflies. Rare Orchids and Mountain Pansies prevail on the southerly limestone slopes.
Dovedale is also famous amongst bird enthusiasts for the ever popular dippers that populate the area. Though when visiting, you are also likely to see grey wagtail, moorhens and possibly herons towards the northern stretches of the river. The ravined woodland also hosts a great number of breeding birds, including the great spotted woodpecker, and sparrowhawks. Alternatively, since the publication of “The Compleat Angler” by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, the River Dove is also a popular destination for anglers with its healthy, burgeoning fish population, namely Trout.
If you do happen upon the pleasure of visiting this enchanting pocket of the Peak District, it goes without saying that we, as visitors, have a responsibility to help preserve its natural beauty. By all means, appreciate its wonders, but please leave it as you found it so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.
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