Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group
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About us

About Us

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:

  • raising awareness of the ecology and conservation needs of Derbyshire's amphibians and reptiles
  • undertaking practical conservation projects
  • running approximately 20 Toads on Road patrols at locations across the county every spring during the toad migration season
  • carrying out regular reptile surveys and amphibian surveys
  • organising amphibian and reptile training sessions for members and the public
  • providing advice and information and answering queries for the public
  • developing recording, monitoring and research intitatives
  • providing a forum for those interested in amphibians and reptiles
  • working in partnership with other relevant organisations

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 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 pdf2016_Autumn-Winter.pdf 

Current newsletter pdf2018_02_February_newsletter.pdf




Winter returns with a vengeance

Posted on Sunday 18th March, 2018

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.

Spring Meting postponed

Posted on Thursday 1st March, 2018

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.

Conservation day organised for local ecological consultancy

Posted on Friday 24th November, 2017

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.

Derbyshire ARG Pond surveys spring 2017

Posted on Saturday 17th June, 2017

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.

New survey launched for adder, common lizard & common toad in Dark Peak & Southern Pennines

Posted on Sunday 9th April, 2017

Derbyshire ARG has been working with the Moors for the Future project to launch their Scales and Warts survey 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.



Past Events

Show Upcoming Events

Great Crested Newt Survey Training Course

Sat 13th May, 2017 - Sun 14th May, 2017

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

PondNet Amphibian Survey training

Sun 9th April, 2017

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

AGM & Spring meeting

Sat 4th March, 2017 - Sat 4th March, 2017

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!

Toad crossing patrols

Wed 1st March, 2017 - Sat 15th April, 2017

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.

Pond conservation work

Sat 29th October, 2016 - Sat 29th October, 2016

Morning event from 10.00 to 13.00 to rake out invading Glyceria and do a little silt clearance from dewpond that supports newts, frogs and toads near Hartington. Tools will be provided. Meeting place Hartington Station car park on the Tissington Trail between Ashbourne and Buxton. Please let us know that you will be coming and find out extra details by emailing

Derbyshire Woodland Festival

Sat 24th September, 2016 - Sun 25th September, 2016

Derbyshire ARG will be having our 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

Pond dipping at The Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve

Sat 2nd July, 2016

The Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve, Mill Lane, Wingerworth

We will be running pond dipping sessions and having a stand at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s "A Venue for Wildlife" event at this reserve which as an important site for amphibians and reptiles. 10.00am to 4.00pm

Reptile field survey visit

Sat 11th June, 2016



Field visit to record reptiles at one of our survey sites near Hassop in the Peak District National Park, meeting  at 9.15am and lasting just under 2 hours.  Contact us at to find out details of meeting place in nearby car park, as event may be cancelled if there is bad weather.  Note this site has a very steep slope in parts with loose scree and to access most of the location it requires a climb over a stock fence topped with barbed wire. Therefore suitable footware and agility is required to take part.

Pleasley Pit Country Park Wildlife Day

Sun 5th June, 2016

We will be having a stand at this all day event organised by the Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group at this important Local Nature Reserve which supports good populations of amphibians and reptiles. 10.00am to 4.00pm

GCN eDNA survey

Sat 28th May, 2016

Field visit as part of the Freshwater Habitats Trust's PondNet project to take eDNA water samples for testing for presence of great crested newts in ponds at Pilsley near Hartington in the Peak District National Park. Contact us on to book a place and receive details of time and meeting place.

Contact us

Contact Us

Or contact the secretary at:
Hilburn, Chapel Lane,

Upcoming Events

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