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 a previous newsletter here 2016_Autumn-Winter.pdf
Current newsletter 2018_02_February_newsletter.pdf
A large moorland fire on Monday 21st May following a period of warm dry weather has burnt 43 hectares of the Peak District Eastern Moors SSSI before eventually being extinguished. Unfortunately one of our regular adder survey sites has been destroyed along with eggs of ground nesting birds and the habitat there could easily take 10 years to recover to a condition where it would be suitable for lizards and adders. The Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is believed to be suspicious ignition, possibly deliberate, but that is something for the police and Eastern Moors staff to establish."
This was the second moorland fire in May after another fire, again thought to have been deliberately started, destroyed an area in the Goyt Valley SSSI including many bird nests.
Both sites are in the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Peak District Moors (South Pennine Moors phase 1) Special Protection Area (SPA).
After the significant snowfall and cold weather in late February and early March that held back the start of the 2018 amphibian season, put a break on the reptile emergence surveys and postponed our spring meeting, it has all come to a halt again on Sat 17th with cold weather and snowfall blanketing the county especially the upland areas in the Peak District. Toads had just started moving last week especially in southern Derbyshire, frogs were spawning across the county and some reptiles were basking and now it has all come to a halt. Hopefully it will be full speed ahead for frogs and toads later this coming week with mild & wet weather forecast, though it doesn't look good for the reptiles. However we have just purchased a further supply of toad migration road signs to add to our stock and they will be put up this week as soon as the snow has cleared.
The Group's Spring Meeting and AGM due to be held on Saturday 3rd March has been cancelled due to the heavy snow and ice. It will be re-arranged for later on this spring when the weather is better.
Derbyshire ARG orgnised a mornings practical conservation work for ecology staff from one of the various ecological consultancies in Derbyshire. Clearance of Typha and other vegetation was undertaken to two ponds created a decade ago for a small scale great crested newt mitigation but later passed onto the Wildlife Trust for management. No great crested newts have been found in regular surveys of the site but the ponds are important from frogs, toads and smooth newts. Discussion was held on site with the ecologists over their views on habitat management or improvements needed, value of great crested newt mitigation and whether it works. It is hoped to organise a few other conservation events for the company and any others who might be interested over the next year.
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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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!
Approximate dates for 2017 toad patrols helping toads across the road at around 20 sites across Derbyshire. If you would like to assist let us know and we will put you in contact with the nearest patrol.
Upcoming events will be listed here.