Idle Valley Nature Reserve

Idle Valley Nature Reserve, Retford: Hours, Address, Idle Valley Nature Reserve Reviews: 4.5/5

Idle Valley Nature Reserve
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
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10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
318 reviews
Excellent
212
Very good
78
Average
20
Poor
4
Terrible
4

Heather Lou
Carlton in Lindrick, UK24 contributions
Aug 2020 • Solo
Situated along the western bank of the River Idle, Idle Valley Nature Reserve (also known as Lound/Sutton Gravel Pits) is both a Local Wildlife Site and a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is 450 hectares of land consisting of a network of lakes, wetland, grassland, woodland, and scrub. As you can imagine it's home to a diverse range of wildlife, but it's also recognised as a brilliant birding site in the region. In fact, the lakes within the nature reserve were gravel extraction pits 70 years ago, flooded when the land was given to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and nature reclaimed the land. It's now one of the largest sites for nature conservation in the East Midlands and the multitude of walking routes really reflects that.

Today I took my dog for a good four mile walk around the reserve, through all the different terrain. My dog even went for a swim in the River Idle to cool off! It really is a beautiful place to walk, so many different things to look at. Definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good walk.

Just to note - the centre and car park are closed until further notice due to the pandemic situation, but the reserve and it's footpaths remain open to the public. There is ample parking space just outside the car park though for non-locals. The centre (when open) boasts toilets, gift shop, and cafe.
Written August 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lizingloss
Retford, UK83 contributions
Jan 2020
This place is brilliant for bird watching & just generally walking out. The lakes are lovely with lots of bird life & the walks are all well kept pathways. The cafe serves nice food & they bake daily on the premises.
The shop in the cafe sells some amazing books & gifts aimed at both children & adults & there is a large window with binoculars & photocards of all the birds you may spot while spying on the lake.
A great place to take the kids.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Happy feet
Nottingham, UK3 contributions
Mar 2020
I highly recommend this reserve but don’t waste your time using the cafe.

Food of poor quality service not much better. The whole kitchen area looks scruffy and even dirty. I sent my tray back because it was so dirty and the young lady put it straight back in the “to use pile”

Toast not served after 11.30 and the toasted tea cake was stale.
If you order a sandwich expect it to be served on thick doorstops - thinner bread not available.
Many local people have complained to Nottingham area office,
Who totally ignore complaints.
Such a shame as at one time this cafe was first rate.
Written March 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Donna B
Retford, UK31 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
Considering it’s a nature reserve where people walk their dogs, dogs are not allowed inside the cafe although it’s full of mud all over the floor from people with muddy boots and screaming kids. Our dogs are better behaved. Explain the sense in that???
Also food very expensive and so over priced it’s a joke. One of the cafe staff very arrogant and really has put us off coming back.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Logan
Yorkshire, UK33 contributions
Sep 2019 • Family
Lovely walk around the nature reserve with a good variety of birds, but obviously mainly the aquatic type (ducks etc). Depending on the time of year you go, I recommend some gnat repellent. Obviously with water being nearby there’s a fair few gnats.
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Karon B
Retford, UK54 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
I really like Idle valley but I was disappointed on this occasion.
We met our daughter and her family for a leisurely stroll and then coffee and cake. The que at the food counter never died down but this was due to one person trying to do everything while others were standing about talking in the kitchen.
We decided to order soup as it was a cold day. This took over 30 mins to be served; we had to go and remind them that we were waiting as they had forgotten. We didn’t bother going back for cake although it did look nice.
Hope this was a glitch, Will try again later in the year.
Very disappointed.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hel
1 contribution
Mar 2022 • Friends
We've enjoyed several visits to reserve and cafe but our experience last week was very disappointing especially as we were with friends who hadn't been before. The tables weren't clean so I mentioned this to a staff member and was abruptly told, we're short staffed, so we did it ourselves. The floor was FILTHY, obviously not from one day as we arrived soon after opening. Really hope this place gets it's act together again so visiting can be a relaxing experience watching the birds instead of dirty surroundings being a distraction.
Helen Keen.
Written March 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vikinglongboat
Derby, UK72 contributions
Jan 2022
Lovely quiet spot but just off the main road. Lots of flat even walks, especially the lake walk. Modern small visitor centre with toilets which were well maintained and also a cafe and small gift shop. Ample sized car park for which donations can be left as there is no set charge. All in all a very easy, accessible site with good facilities and lots of easy walks. A pleasant find.
Written January 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Laura E
Leeds, UK1,851 contributions
Jan 2020 • Friends
We like to bring my gran here as it's flat and a lovely setting. The leek and potato soup was tasty with two huge pieces of bread. The sweetbpotato curry was a bit plain but still tasty. The tea cakes were toasted nicely. Lovely setting, and a queue at lunch time is a great sign. Friendly staff and nicely busy at the weekend. Still not enjoyed a walk though!
Written January 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Paola C
Retford, United Kingdom5 contributions
Apr 2013 • Solo
Not much of a conservation area; the wildlife in the reserve merely consists in a few common garden birds and some waterfowls observable in every city park with a pond - nothing bad with that, but you don't need to get into all the trouble to come to Retford for that. No educational wildlife-related information in sight, and the only thing you can get in contact with in the reserve is the huge amount of dog poo scattered everywhere along the footpaths.
You're asking a contribution for the parking space, for the projects (?) and for any activity the reserve organizes (usually just a day every now and then for the children to play around) but get nothing in return, really. The visitor centre is a nice place to spend your money in food, drinks and gadgets, certainly not a education point for the visitors willing to learn and connect with wildlife.

Furthermore, during my last visit I've been told by a reserve officer that the whole place is not safe and that as soon as you walk some distance away from the visitor centre, chances are to encounter criminals that steal everything they find and local people with bikes that vandalize any vehicle they see, car, bycicle or caravan. As a matter of fact, he told me that it wasn't safe for me to walk alone in the reserve nor to leave my bycicle, even if locked up.

Now, how inviting is that?
Written March 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Idle Valley Nature Reserve

Idle Valley Nature Reserve is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM


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