A careful observer, looking for mammals, could come across fifteen or more different species.  The smaller mammals in particular, form an important link in the food chain.

Rabbit, Fox and Brown Hare are seen often and sightings of Roe Deer are becoming more common.

Weasel and Stoat, with its distinctive black tip to its tail, can be seen occasionally with Mole hills in evidence throughout the year.

 Of the rodents; Brown Rat, Wood Mouse, Field Vole, Bank Vole, Common Shrew and Pygmy Shrew are all known to breed on site. The most frequently reported species is the Grey Squirrel, mostly in the Wood Yard where the bird feeders are an attraction. Harvest Mouse was recorded but has not been sighted for some time.

Bats can be seen in summer months including : – Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s, Brown Long-Eared, Noctule and Leisler’s bats.

Brown Hare


Over 300 species of wild flowers have been recorded on the Pleasley Pit site.

Orchids are found on the orchid patches near the sometimes bare and rocky magnesian limestone outcrops. Other species at the site include Common Twayblade. Southern Marsh and Common Spotted and Bee Orchid and their hybrids grow in their hundreds spreading through grasslands to the pool margin. There are a few examples of the rare Fragrant Orchid and good numbers of Pyramidal Orchid. Germination of orchid seeds only takes place when Rhizoctania fungus is also present and is essential for supplying food elements to the orchid.

The lower flower patch, new species include Musk Mallow Malva mochata, Ladies Bedstraw Galium verum, Square Stemmed Willowherb Epilobium tetragonium

In grasslands we have sown Ragged Robin, Field and Devils bit Scabious, Common Fleabane, Rough Hawksbit, Meadow Cranesbill, Sneezewort and Kidney Vetch. There are very different habitats in the park. The highest ground is bare pit waste with a collection of pools. Flora here is mainly Needle Rush, Sedges and some Hawkweed

Yellow-wort and Common Century thrive all over the site, these are two members of the Gentianaceae family, a few of which flower in the UK.
Viper’s Bugloss grows beside the Bird Hide, also a rare plant in this region. Marjoram now grows in many places on site. It is a very important food and nectar plant for the many species of butterflies, moths, and insects found on the site.

Bee Orchid


We have many species of fungi on site and an expert visits the site each autumn to run a fungus foray teaching fungus identification.

As a young site with few mature trees the number of species found is relatively small but if you want to find fungi the places to look first are the Wood Yard and the perimeter of the pit buildings where Brown Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum)can frequently be seen.

The best time to see our fungi is in the autumn and early winter but in spring you could be fortunate enough to see Morels (Morchella esculenta).
We are very proud that we have had both Common Bird’s Nest fungus (Crucibulum laeve) and Field Bird’s Nest fungus (Cyathus olla) on site but you do have to be eagle-eyed as they are found on the ground and are only about 1cm across.

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolour), Jelly Ear (Auricularia auricular-judae), Candlesnuff fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon) and different puffballs and earthballs can be seen at most times of the year. Several of the inkcaps can also be seen regularly in the Wood Yard: Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus comatus), Hare’s Foot Inkcap (Coprinus lagopus ), Pleated Inkcap (Coprinus plicatilis) Common Inkcap, (Coprinus atramentarius), Fairy Inkcap (Coprinus disseminates) and Coprinus radiata.
Witches’ Butter (Exidia glandulosa) has been found on rotting wood and Orange Peel fungus (Aleuria aurantia)has been seen on the red shale at the rear of the pit buildings in November.

Fungus Forays have been held each year since 2010 and a good number of species have been recorded. Amongst these have been: White Spindles (Clavaria fragilis) Scurfy Twiglet (Tubaria furfuracea), Yellow Waxcap and Blackening Waxcap, Bleached Brittlegill, Brown Rollrim, Poison Pie, Brown Birch Bolete, Common and Grey Puffball and Redlead Roundhead. Funnels, waxcaps, milk caps, brittlegills can be seen in good numbers.


Butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera, and there are 72 species on the British list

Many of the Butterflies were present during the year, though records were somewhat down on previous years. Most pleasing however was the White-Letter Hairstreak, which was previously seen flying around the Wych Elms on Longhedge Lane. White-Letter Hairstreak have not been recorded for a couple of years. It is hoped that the disease resistant elms that were planted on site will be used by the White-Letter Hairstreak butterfly.

At Pleasley we have so far recorded a total of 30 species, many of which are common on site and quite a few have been shown to breed here

These include Brimstones, Dingy Skipper, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Small Heath, White Letter Hairstreak, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood andBrown Hairstreak.


Pleasley Pit is one of the best sites for Odonata in Derbyshire. 22 species have been recorded so far on site and on hot days from May till the end of October, they can be seen around all water bodies, sometimes in large numbers.

Usually referred to as Dragons and Damsels, these insects make up the order Odonata, of which there are around 55 on the British list.


Moth trapping helps monitor the species at Pleasley Pit Nature Reserve.  On site we have recorded over 500 different species of Moth and are still spotting new species every year. The most recent new species being the Clancy’s Rustic.

The UV light attracts the Moths to fly into the trap where they can find shelter in the indentations of egg boxes until morning. The trap is checked the next morning. Sometimes with up to 100 moths caught. Moth trapping isn’t harmful and all are released once recorded and counted. The beauty of Moth trapping is there are different species emerging all year round.After we have counted and identified all the Moths we compile our findings into a spreadsheet to send to the County recorder who will forward these to the national Butterfly Conservation organisation.


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