Posted: Thursday 5th June 2014 by ASpecialPlaceEachWeek
Priestcliffe Lees (Image: Attand Priest)
Blow the cobwebs away and take a bracing walk to Priestcliffe Lees’s top hill and reward yourself with the breathtaking views over the Peak District's limestone dales. At this time of year the grassland is a carpet of cowslips and early purple orchids.
Managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Priestcliffe Lees Nature Reserve lies on a steep limestone hillside above the River Wye and the Monsal Trail. Striking views over the Wye Valley is abundant here.
Scattered throughout the reserve are bumpy lead spoil heaps – reminders of the land’s lead mining past. These soil heaps are also renowned for supporting flowers distinctive to Derbyshire, among them including early purple, common spotted and fragrant orchids.
In summer, the tops of hills are alive with yellow mountain pansy and the tiny white flowers of leadwort. Breathe in the fresh hilltop air and you will be rewarded with the fragrant scent of thyme. It is no wonder that various butterfly species are attracted to the reserve, while many birds enjoy the cover of the trees on the lower slopes.
Among the year-round residents include tree-creepers, green woodpeckers and nuthatches.