Ancaster Valley

Ancaster Valley

Lilianna Witkowska-Wawer

Ancaster Valley

Barrie Wilkinson

Ancaster Valley

Peter Foster

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.


Sleaford Road, A153
Nearest postcode NG32 3PN

OS Map Reference

SK 984 434
A static map of Ancaster Valley

Know before you go

10 hectares

Parking information

It is advisable to park cars in the village

Grazing animals


Walking trails

A public footpath runs through part of the valley


Mown grass path with steps leading to public bridleway, not suitable for wheelchairs or people with mobility issues


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to July

About the reserve

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, as well as a wide variety of birds including 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.

Location information

Ancaster Valley location PDF 



Contact us

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)