Welcome to Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group we cover the whole of Derbyshire including part of the Peak District National Park.
Our group aims to promote the study and conservation of the amphibians and reptiles of Derbyshire and their habitats. We achieve this by:
We hope our website will help you to find the information you are looking for, but if you still have a query, please contact us and we will do our best to help.
Derbyshire ARG always welcome new members to the group, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to join. There is currently no membership subscription required, though that is reviewed at every AGM..
We are very grateful for any records of amphibians and reptiles in your local area that you can pass to us as it helps in mapping the distribution of species and protecting their known habitats. Either contact us directly or use the Record a sighting tab on this website.
The group is run by a committee which is elected at the AGM each year. For 2017 - 2018 the committee elected at the AGM on 4th March 2017 are:
Chair - Christian Murray-Leslie, Vice Chair - Kelvin Lawrence, Secretary - Chris Monk, Treasurer - Jayne Thompson
Committee members - Bev Bowman, Richard Fenn Griffin, Lisa Lawrence, Matt Liston, Iaian Stafford, Trevor Taylor
See our last newsletter here 2016_Autumn-Winter.pdf
A working party of Derbyshire ARG members undertook conservation work at the end of October 2016 to clear vegetation on a dewpond on the edge of a hay meadow near Hartington in the Peak District. Previous recording which started in 1988 and was more regular in the past decade had shown that the pond supported great crested and smooth newts, common frog and common toad. However after years of virtually no change, in the past two years nearly all the dewpond was swamped by Glyceria that formed a thick floating mat leaving just a small open water area in the middle.
The Glyceria mat was so interconnected that it had to be cut up into segments so that it could be pulled out using pond rakes. About two thirds of the pond was cleared leaving sufficient vegetation on one side where there was a greater variety of emergent aqautic plants. Hopefully the small clump of Potamogeton natans that was still surviving in the open water area when we arrived will spread back into the cleared areas.
The type of moorland management in the Dark Peak is of concern to herpetologists as intensive management with regular burning is extremely detrimental to reptiles. There has been considerable concern by naturalists over the persecution of birds of prey which has prevented most species breeding in the National Park. Over a century of keepering has resulted in the destruction of "vermin" on the grouse moors and as a result of this and the burning there are no known adder populations on the keepered moors. If highly protected birds like hen harriers and peregrines are illegally killed by some people then they would have no qualms in dispatching any adders they come across.
Due to incidents the National Trust has announced that the grouse shooting lease of two of its large tenanted estates on the Dark Peak will be terminated in a year's time as they do not consider the tenant can produce the outcomes desired in the NTs Moorland Vision.
A campaign has been set up to welcome the decision by the National Trust and to call on the Trust not to lease the land to another shooting tenant. Instead, the NT should take the opportunity to work with other partners to establish a wilder landscape, free of intensive grouse-management, where wildlife can recover and thrive and not be subject to illegal persecution. Derbyshire ARG is one of the 12 local environmental groups who have formed a coalition to sponsor the campaign and petition.
Find out "moor" at http://nomoorshooting.blogspot.co.uk
or sign the petition online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/nomoorshooting
The first results are back from the eDNA water samples taken by the group on the GCN training course day and on the field trip in May.
The water sample from the pond at Hilton Gravel Pits SSSI nature reserve came back negative for great crested newts, so they appear to be avoiding this pond which probably has more fish than the one we saw at the time of sampling.
The village mere pond sampled on the field trip and the restored field dewpond both near Hartington came back as positive for great crested newts.
The results from the pond sampled as part of Freshwater Habitats Trust PondNet project will be know later in the year.
Derbyshire ARG organised a field survey trip at the end of May to carry out water sampling for sending away to test for the presence of great crested newt environmental DNA in water bodies.
The first site in the morning was to carry out the GCN eDNA sampling and pond habitat survey for Freshwater Habitats Trust's PondNet project. The large field pond near Pilsbury in the Peak District was the water body selected by FHT and members completed the survey and took the water samples. The result of the eDNA sampling will be known later in the year.
The group then moved on to sample two other ponds a few miles away to take additional eDNA samples for analysis by ADAS. A village mere restored in the 1980's by the Peak District National Parlk Authority was sampled first and the eDNA result was positive for the presence of great crested newts.
A circular field dewpond near Hartington that was restored in 2012 by the Peak District National Parlk Authority from its previous silted and leaking condition was then visited. The eDNA water sample was positive for the presence of great crested newts, confirming that it was worthwhile to have restored this pond which had no previous amphibian records. Whilst taking the samples frog and toad tadpoles and a female smooth newt were seen meaning that this pond supports 4 amphibian species.
A third eDNA sample taken earlier at one of the ponds on Hilton Gravel Pits SSSI nature reserve for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust returned a negative result for great crested newt presence, which was not surprising as it has a connection to a fishing lake and a fish was seen during the sampling.
Once again Derbyshire ARG is intending to have a stand at this popular weekend show organised by the County Council's Countryside Service at the wonderful Elvaston Castle Country Park just outside Derby. Come along and visit us, tell us about your sightings of amphibians and reptiles, learn more about them, colour in the ARGUK colouring sheets (for children of all ages). Entry free but car parking charge applies. Open from 10am to 4pm both days