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 a membership subscription of £5 per year, 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 2021 - 2022 the committee elected at the AGM on 10th November 2021 are:

Chair - Kelvin Lawrence, Vice Chair - Christian Murray-Leslie, Secretary - Chris Monk, Treasurer - Jayne Thompson
Committee members - Garry Dorrell, Richard Fenn Griffin, James Longley, Sheila Stubbs, Trevor Taylor and Ben Wyke

Kelvin Lawrence is also the Derbyshire Toad Crossings Co-ordinator for the Group & for Froglife and Richard Fenn Griffen moderates our Facebook page

See a previous newsletters here







Derbyshire ARG data policy





Nature and Species Recovery in Derbyshire

Posted on Sunday 12th February, 2023

Derbyshire ARG was invited to a couple of meetings in January & February dealing with those issues

Firstly there was a seminar organised by Natural England to seek information on possible species recovery or re-introduction in the county for their upcoming grant scheme for projects.

Unfortunately there are no amphibian or reptile species that could be re-introduced into the county as the geology and weather means that the county is not suitable for any of the native species that are not already present (Smooth snake, Sand Lizard, Natterjack Toad or Pool Frog). Although we would like to see species recovery particularly to extend the adder population in the Peak District there is not enough information on how to successfully carry this out at present and certainly not within the short timescale for the grant scheme.

Last Friday 10th February the ARG Chair and Secretary attended the first Bolsover Local Nature Recovery Summit meeting at the Bolsover District Council Offices. The Council and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust had produced an Action Plan for Nature Recovery across the District. It was attended by a large number of representatives of wildlife groups, parish councils and community groups who also took part in workshop sessions across 3 themes.

Our suggestions of following up on the several registered toad crossings across the District as we do not know of any volunteer groups covering the crossings or of other unregistered sites. We also supported the creation and survey of more ponds across the District and suggested we hoped to re-establish a grass snake egg laying heap at one site where a former wildlife group had built them in the past and they were used by the snakes.

Linacre reservoirs reptile survey

Posted on Friday 16th September, 2022

At the request of Severn-Trent Water's ranger in March 2022 we gave a presentation on reptile surveying to his volunteer party As occasional sightings of grass snakes have been made around the reservoirs we laid out a mixture of cover objects. In early September we organised a reptile survey field trip to check on the survey cover objects and 4 grass snakes were found at two locations. It is planned to continue the survey next year in spring 2023.

20220910 Large adult grass snake

Large adult grass snake with it's head down a hole

20220910 Habitat pilejpg

Habitat pile created by S-T Water ranger & his volunteers cutting back dense stands of Rosebay willowherb and stacking the arisings. These will be good for grass snakes.

Results of our 2022 Peak District & north Derbyshire pond surveys

Posted on Friday 16th September, 2022

Thank you to the members who helped with
these surveys this spring. 16 members helped
out on one or more surveys and in total 67 ponds
were surveyed, mostly by torchlight, 4 by bottle
trapping and at 2 water samples were taken for
testing for great crested newts by environmental
DNA as part of the Freshwater Habitats Trust’s
PondNet survey now in its 8th year. The results
from the eDNA are not yet available but for the
other 65 ponds great crested newts were found
in 36 ponds.

2022 03 08 walled concrete dewpond

Walled concrete dewpond, torch light survey showed great crested and smooth newts present


20220514 GCN eDNA water sampling

Water sampling for Freshwater Habitats Trust's PondNet GCN eDNA project


PondNet GCN eDNA survey

Posted on Friday 22nd April, 2022

Again in 2022 we will be helping Freshwater Habitats Trust with their long running Great Crested Newt eDNA survey that they set up in 2015 with a series of randomly selected locations across England. Since 2016 Derbyshire ARG has been sampling a field pond near Hartington in the Peak District National Park every year and we will be visiting there again this May. This pond has a low population of great crested newts and has returned a mixture of positive and negative tests over the years suggesting that in some years the newts are absent from the pond. Since 2020 we have also taken on doing the other Derbyshire site at North Wingfield south of Chesterfield. This is a fishing pond that was created during the landscaping following open casting and removal of local collieries. Due to the presence of large numbers of fish this pond has always tested negative for great crested newts but we will still be taking samples there in May.

Photo of the 2021 sampling near Hartington


2021 06 09 PondNet Pilsbury E3gegx4X

Derbyshire ARG Members meeting Survey Report and AGM

Posted on Sunday 21st November, 2021

This meeting was held on-line on 10th November 2021, the last AGM having been held in February 2020 just before the first Covid lockdown.

Topics included a summary of the reptile and the amphibian surveys carried out in 2021 and the proposals for the surveys to be organised in 2022 (see attached meeting report).

There was a discussion reviewing the 2021 Toad Crossing Season, which had been a mixed result across the county with some sites having very low numbers and others matching the numbers seen in previous years.

The Chair gave a presentation on the monitoring scheme that has been set up on the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Willington Wetlands nature reserve, a former gravel extraction site. The multi-species monitoring is being carried out to assess how the site changes over the years and the impact of beavers on the flora and fauna. Evidence of presence on site of great crested and smooth newts, common frog and common toad was found on the visits and the Wildlife Trust have just released the beavers into the reserve recently just before our meeting.

At the AGM three members joined the committee and the existing officers were re-elected.




Show Past Events

National Forest pond surveys

Sat 25th March, 2023 - Sun 30th April, 2023

We have made the arrangements to set up pond surveys within the National Forest area in South Derbyshire this spring. It is a relatively under recorded region in the county although common frog, common toad plus great crested and smooth newts are known from casual sightings, toad patrols and old records. It is planned to visit ponds in three areas and carry out 3 to 4 surveys on each pondcomprissing frog spawn survey , toad mating/spawning survey and one or two torchlight newt surveys.

Members/volunteers who would like to assist please contact us at

Peak District pond surveys

Sat 1st April, 2023 - Sun 4th June, 2023

As in all years since 2005, excepting the Covid lockdown in 2020, we will again be carrying out pond surveys across the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park this spring. Mostly monitoring the amphibian colonisation of dewponds restored by the National Park Authority's, National Trust, Plantlife and others. Mostly we will be carrying out torchlight surveys for newts but there will also be some bottle trapping and GCN eDNA water sampling.

2022 11 12 High Fields SSSI field concrete dewpond repair

Members/volunteers who would like to assist please contact us at

Guided amphibian walk (change of date to Sunday)

Sun 23rd April, 2023 - Sun 23rd April, 2023

How to Find and Identify Amphibians at Coton Park Local Nature Reserve

Join Chris from the Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group to learn about the frogs, toads and newts that might have a home at Coton Park Local Nature Reserve. This will be a short walk through woodland, meadows and by the pond in the reserve.

Date: Sunday 23 April 2023

Start Time: 2pm (to 4pm)

Venue: Coton Park Local Nature Reserve. Meet at free car park Badger Hollow by playing field, Coton Park, DE12 6RD. Come in sturdy footwear and dress for the weather.


BOOKING ESSENTIAL  contact Marion Farrell  at Groundwork or by mobile 07801 122 494. All children to be accompanied by an adult.

This project is funded by the National Forest Company in partnership with Leicestershire County Council and Groundwork.  

Poster Amphibian Guided Walk at Coton Park Sunday 23 April 2023

Pleasley Pit Wildlife Day

Sun 14th May, 2023 - Sun 14th May, 2023

We will be having a stand at the Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group's Wildlife Day.

One of the best examples of colliery restoration the Country Park created on the former colliery tips has an amazing mix of habitats including several ponds, reedbeds and scrapes with records of amphibians and grass snakes.Car park and entrance off Pit Lane, Pleasley Mansfield  NG19 7PH

Derbyshire Woodland Festival

Sat 16th September, 2023 - Sun 17th September, 2023

A bit early but dates have already been fixed by Derbyshire County Council for next year's festival at it's usual venue in Elvaston Castle Country Park, near Derby. We will probably have a stand there as we have done most years since 2011.

Contact us

Contact Us

Or contact the secretary at:
Hilburn, Chapel Lane,

For Toad Crossings and to contact our Derbyshire Toad Crossings Co-ordinator please email

Upcoming Events

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