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 email@example.com 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
The Group ran a series of pond surveys this spring to monitor amphibians, particularly great crested newts but also palmate and smooth newts, in ponds in the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park. These involved 9 ponds on 3 different nature reserves belonging to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to add to their species monitoring data. Also we visited 6 ponds on two different farm holdings at the request of their owners and the Peak District National Park Authority farm advisers. In addition for the second year running we visited the pond near Hartington which had been randomly selected by Freshwater Habitats Trust for their PondNet great crested eDNA survey. The surveys were also advertised to people who had been on our great crested newt training courses so that they could gain more field experience in bottle trapping, torchlight surveys and eDNA water sampling.
Derbyshire ARG has been working with the Moors for the Future project to launch their Scales and Warts survey http://www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/community-science/scales-and-warts the latest in their HLF funded Community Science surveys for the public. The launch was held at Hathersage on Thursday 6th April and 86 people attended to hear talks by Sarah Proctor, Community Science Project Manager for Moors for the Future, Kim Strawbridge from the Eastern Moors Partnership and Chris Monk from Derbyshire ARG. The survey joins existing surveys on bumblebees, butterflies, sphagnum & mosses, hares and others where people are asked to look out for just a few of the species that occur in the area. So far several hundred records have been received for the earlier surveys, the aim being to feed in data about species distribution that will be used to see how the ecosystems are coping and to determine how they will respond to climate change.
People can collect reply paid postcards to fill in and post back from Visitor Centres & other venues around the area, enter sightings via the surveys web form or download the free MOORWILD phone & tablet app available for both Apple & Android, links to download are on the MoorAPPS page where other apps for moss, plants and landscape are also available. Data about possible adder and common lizard distribution is particularly lacking from the northern & western Dark Peak and the South Pennines and it is hoped this survey will locate new sightings. The app and the web form also allow people to upload photos to aid in verification, which is particularly valuable for determining if a reported snake is an adder or a grass snake as these are often mis-identified.
Due to unforeseen circumstances our speaker for the spring meeting had to cancel so prior to the AGM the secretary updated the members on the October 2016 Vanishing Viper adder conference and also on the Natural England GCN District Level Licensing Project that was the subject of a presentation at the 2017 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting in February at Nottingham.
It is hoped to reschedule the grass snake and adder research talk to later in the year.
Our Spring meeting on Saturday 4th March starting at 2pm will feature a talk by Kevin Palmer from Reaseheath College in Nantwich on the research activity that has been taking place at the College, including work with both adders and grass snakes. The meeting is free & open to anyone and will also cover Natural England's proposals on District Level Licensing for great crested newt, followed by a brief AGM for Derbyshire ARG members.
The meeting is being held in the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Whistlestop Centre at Matlock Bath Railway Station just off the A6 road. There is a large pay & display car park at the station.
The Freshwater Habitats Trust have sent out the results from the analysis for great crested newt eDNA of their Pond Net samples earlier this year. Members of Derbyshire ARG had a field trip to a pond near Pilsbury in the Peak National Park which was the square allocated to us in the PondNet survey. A previous visit by FHT in 2015 was apparently negative for GCN eDNA but our sample from May 2016 has come back as positive for the presence of great crested newts.\r
Two other ponds near Hartington where we went on to take further eDNA samples for analysis by ADAS (and paid for by Derbyshire ARG) had already come back as positive for great crested newts. The farmer who owns one of the ponds would like us to survey all his 4 ponds in 2017 so it is planned to organise surveys there and at another farm near Pikehall next spring.
Once again Derbyshire ARG will 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 but using the poster voucher on our photo gallery you can get £1 off the parking charge. Open from 10am to 4pm both days
Morning visit subject to reasonable weather to a field survey site near Cromford where we have had a variety of reptile survey cover objects out for a couple of years. The surveys are assisting the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust with the management of the area. Grass snakes and slow-worms have been found there in previous years. 9.30am start, duration approximately 2 hours.
Please email the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place and find out details about meeting place.
Morning visit at 9am subject to reasonable weather to a field survey site where we have had a variety of reptile survey cover objects out since the surveys commenced in 2015 near Hassop. Duration approx 2 hours. The surveys are assisting the Peak National Park Authority with the management of the area. Common lizard and slow-worms have been found there in previous years.
Please email the secretary at email@example.com to book a place and find out details about meeting place. NOTE that this is a very steep site and you have to climb over a stock fence (with barbed wire) to access the two plots, so you need to be fit and agile to attend.
Evening torch-light survey at a site on the edge of the Hope Valley between Castleton and Bradwell for annual monitoring of palmate & smooth newts
Contact Derbyshirearg@gmail.com for details
Evening torch-light survey at 2 sites at Cromford (a few miles south of Matlock) for annual monitoring of smooth & great crested newts
Contact Derbyshirearg@gmail.com for details
Location: In the Peak National Park approximately half way between Buxton and Ashbourne
Time: 2.30pm to 5.00pm
We will be undertaking a visit to carry out eDNA water sampling for Freshwater Habitats Trust's PondNet Project in a large field pond in the projects random sample square in the Peak District north of Hartington that we first visited for them last year. Apart from taking the water sample, this will include completing the project's environmental assessment form for the pond and carrying out their Clean Water for Wildlife test for nitrate & phosphate levels in the pond water.
This will be followed by setting bottle traps for the first survey since 1985 of a farm field pond a few miles away near Newhaven, where a single great crested newt was recorded in 1985. The traps will be checked on Sunday morning though attendance then is not compulsory.
For more details, including locations and meeting places email us at Derbyshirearg@gmail.com
Evening torch-light survey at locations to be confirmed (sites within a few miles of Matlock)
Contact Derbyshirearg@gmail.com for details
Training course open to everyone. This will be held at a venue near Derby starting with an indoor session on Saturday morning on GCN Ecology, Survey Methods and Biosecurity. An afternoon field session will be held at a nearby great crested newt site to undertake survey techniques including netting, egg search and water sampling for GCN eDNA determination, followed by setting bottle traps. A Saturday evening torchlight survey will be held on site followed by a final session on Sunday morning to examine the bottle trap catch.
Course fees are £5.00 for Derbyshire ARG members (as at 1 January 2017); £25.00 for other attendees.
For more details and to book a place email us at Derbyshirearg@gmail.com
Freshwater Habitats Trust will be holding an amphibian training session in Derby to recruit volunteers to go and carry out the PondNet Common Toad & Frog survey on their own self-selected ponds in Derbyshire. If you have a favourite pond and you would like to get to know the amphibians that live there then sign up today for FREE Amphibian ID Training.
The training course will be run by Anne Heathcote, FHT Project Officer for Northern England
The course is on Sunday 9th April 2017 at Sinfin Moor Local Nature Reserve in Derby, places are limited so for further details and to book a place contact the Project Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Derbyshire ARG spring meeting and AGM
Will be held at The Whistlestop Centre Education building, Matlock Bath Station, Derbyshire from 2pm to 4.30pm
Talk by Kevin Palmer of Reaseheath College on research projects on adders and grass snakes. Highlights from last October's Vanishing Viper adder meeting and a presentation on the proposals from Natural England for District Level Licensing that were shown at the 2017 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting followed by the AGM which usually lasts for no more than 15 minutes!