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DERBYSHIRE (Castleton, Hope), (Compass)

53o24´05´´N/01o44´36´´W (Derwent Reservoir) m 
53o24´52´´N/01o40´09´´W (Strines hairpin) 
Peak District National Park 
Best Time for visit (1983 to present)


Birding Site Guide

Inside the national park there are many places to stay to suit all budgets. Places such as Castleton in the S are popular and maybe expensive peak season, though there are caravan and camp sites here and nearby at Hope. Sheffield is the main city to the E and Manchester to the W and the national park can be reached in half an hour if traffic is not too bad.

The 2 huge reservoirs of Ladybower and Derwent are either side of Snake Road; A57 (Sheffield-Glossop), Ladybower is on the n and s side and Derwent is higher on the n (above dam). On the reservoirs is a selection of water birds, though the huge area requires a scope. Birding is slow in this open exposed environment and the overall species list will probably be short, if you are used to coastal migrant hotspots. However this place provides the opportunity to see species mainly seen on passage in their breeding haunts. Along the minor roads around here it is possible to find most of the moorland species and some woodland species, though much is pine plantation with few birds. However Crossbill, Siskin and Goldcrest and other finches are fairly common. Taking a right turn off the A57 along the minor road alongside Derwent water (Derwent Lane) brings the visitor to a car park, cafe and mountain bike hire centre, which is situated not far from the dam. Parking here and walking either way along the same minor road provides good birding opportunities, but be warned it is extremely busy most weekends and holidays. Scanning the reservoirs, particularly the Derwent above the dam should produce Goldeneye, Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser. Common Sandpipers are present too and in winter a diver or rare grebe is sometimes found. Red Grouse should be looked for along any minor road. There are many footpaths and open access areas over the high moors around the reservoirs and it is possible to see Dotterel on passage, though the traditional sites are obviously more reliable. In winter there are large flocks of thrushes and Waxwings can be met with virtually anywhere between Sheffield and here where there are berries, which often means town centres. Dippers can be found across the main road, taking the road alongside Ladybower (A6013) and then at its end taking a side road to the bridge over the River Derwent, here walking along the stream is where Dipper may be seen. This is also a good spot for Grey Wagtail, though this can be seen anywhere. Along the A57 Buxton Road from Sheffield but before Ladybower Reservoir is a right turn to Strines Reservoir along Sugworth Road. This minor road forks after a short way, take the left fork along Mortimer Road follow this through plantations with native woodland in places such as along streams towards the hairpin bend (Cutthroat Bridge). At this sharp bend on the left is a pull in and a public footpath, park and follow the footpath leading up a hill. Up the hill a short way there are reasonable views across the plantations and this makes a good raptor watch point. This area is good for Goshawk and other birds of prey, and their populations would flourish without persecution. Unfortunately some of the shooting estates in the area are notorious for killing birds of prey, such as Hen Harrier and Goshawk, both of which are virtually wiped out here.

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Goshawk (Rob Watson 2014)

Great Grey Shrike is seen some winters. Further along this road on the left is a pub that does good food, and anywhere from here in open areas such as Bradfield and Broomhead Moor Red Grouse can be found and scan for birds such as Wheatear and crag areas are worth a try for Ring Ouzel, though these are not common. More likely is Stonechat. Broomhead Reservoir is a little further N and is worth looking over for wildfowl and the woods are good for Crossbill and Coal Tit. Some years rarities turn up such as Two-barred Crossbill. The road minor ends further north at Lansett Reservoir. 

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Two-barred Crossbill (Rob Adams 2014)

Species seen This is by no means an exhaustive list, but does provide an idea of species to be found.

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: BSG