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Ancaster Valley

A steep sided valley covered with limestone grassland, scrub and woodland. It is one of the finest sites for limestone flowers in the country.

This narrow, steep-sided valley is covered with limestone grassland, scrub and woodland. It is one of the finest sites for limestone flowers in the county. Recorded species include the rare and beautiful pasqueflower, bee and fragrant orchids, dyer's greenweed, dropwort, spring cinquefoil, rock-rose, spring-sedge and many others.

There is an attractive woodland, consisting chiefly of beech, on the eastern slope of the valley, which has yew, box, wayfaring tree, barberry and wild clematis on its edge, and woodland plants, such as violet and early-purple orchid.

Large numbers of butterflies and bumble-bees may be seen on calm sunny days. The wide variety of birds include green and great spotted woodpeckers.

Large areas of the steep banks had become overgrown with scrub of gorse and hawthorn in the 1970s, and, since the reserve was acquired in 1982, one of the main management tasks has been clearance and control of scrub in order to retain the flower-rich grassland. This is now managed with light sheep grazing. 

The origin of Ancaster Valley is uncertain, but it is thought to be a glacial spillway formed at the close of the Ice Age when meltwater from the ice cap on higher ground poured into the Ancaster Gap - the former course of the River Trent before ice forced its course further north.


Nearest postcode: NG32 3PN

Please note - postcodes are for the nearest registered address as we are unable to get postcodes for nature reserves. Please use the maps provided here to locate the entrance to the reserve.

Species and habitats

Cowslip, Pasqueflower, Rock-rose, Dog-violet, Beech

Nearby nature reserves

Moor Closes
0 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Duke's Covert & Copper Hill
1 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Rauceby Warren
3 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Sleaford Road, A153
Map reference
SK 984434
Great for...
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
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Opening Times
Open at all times
9.70 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Lincs/Rutland Limestone Natural Area
Walking information
A public footpath runs through part of the valley.
It is advisable to park cars in the village.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01507 526667


Factsheets and guides for your visit