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 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, Zoe Lingard, 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
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
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.
Today we have launced our new Facebook site to replace the previous with new administrators so hopefully it will remain up to date with what we are doing.www.facebook.com/Derbyshire-Amphibian-and-Reptile-Group-DARG-101964412268342
Planning for next spring's reptile survey of the North Lees & Stanage estate for the Stanage Forum is proceeding with the first of two walkovers to decide routes for transects and possible cover object surveys completed today. In addition we have some records from a DARG member who went for a family walk in August and spotted more lizards in that than the total number of recorded sightings in the last twenty years as put on RecordPool, iRecord & NBN Atlas. There is the possibility that there may be a very small adder population still present based on the very occasional sightings by members of the public over the last 15 years. We hope to get permission to put cover objects out to see if we can find any slow-worms on the area.
Four juvenile and three adult lizards were spotted today by the team of 6 DARG surveyors after the sun came out and the wind had eased. An initial assessment of possible routes off the main paths where drawn up by the Chair & Secretary. Although a busy area with many walkers, rock climbers and mountain bike riders off the path here may ring ouzels & other ground nesting birds of conservation concern so final routes will need to be agreed with the Peak Park ecologists. It is planned to use ARGWEB for the recording of the surveys. We just hope now that there will be sufficient snow and wind over winter to flatten significant areas of the waist high bracken fronds from this year so that visibility for the surveys next spring is improved, before the bracken regrows in late spring.
Having managed earlier in the year to carry out our regular toad crossing patrols and to do several torchlight surveys for newts in restored or existing dewponds in the Peak District National Park, we are planning to do some reptile work in the late summer/autumn.
We have refreshed our cover objects on our reptile survey site near Hassop in the Peak District so a couple of survey visits are planned for there in August and September depending on weather conditions.
The Group has been asked to carry out a reptile survey next year, mainly for common lizard, by the Stanage Forum to help inform their revision of the the management plans for the Stanage and North Lees areas on the borders with Sheffield in the Peak District National Park. Despite it's popularity with walkers and rock climbers there have been very few reptile records from there in the past couple of decades. Hopefully the survey will find common lizard, possibly slow-worm and maybe even a snake or two. Therefore we are organising a couple of walk-overs in the autumn to look at the areas, possibly spot some reptiles and decide on setting out some transects and a few cover object survey sites for next spring.
We have also reserved a place at the Derbyshire County Council's Countryside Service Woodland Festival in September. Held annually (except last year due to Covid-19) it is very popular and is at the usual venue of Elvaston Castle County Park just outside Derby. Deppending on what happens with the Covid-19 pandemic by September we will let you know nearer the date if we are taking our stall and display there this year.
As in previous years we will be running a series of evening torchlight surveys across the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park. These are to monitor colonisation of ponds that have been restored under the various funding streams in recent years in the National Park. There may also be some bottle trapping surveys and possibly great crested newt eDNA water sampling as well.
After a productive meeting with National Forest staff in late March it is hoped to run some pond surveys for amphibians on sites identified by the National Forest company on its own land in South Derbyshire. Further details to follow.
Refugia survey of old lead mining area scree slopes for slow-worms and ocassionally common lizard and toad.
It is planned to hold a reptile survey day in conjunction with the Severn Trent ranger some time in June. The site is known to support grass snake and common lizard. Further details to be confirmed
This event is being held at The Land Trust's Avenue Country Park off the A61 at Wingerworth between10.00am and 3.00pm
We will be having a stand at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Family Fun Day to talk to people about amphibians and reptiles. The main theme of the event is wetlands and the day will encompass stands by local community groups and organisations, highlighting nature education and engagement. Activities will include pond dipping, insect hunting, bug house making, nature and identification walks, den building and nature themed arts & crafts activities
Third time lucky as was cancelled in 2020 & 2021 due to Covid.
Chesterfield local group of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve event off Mill Lane at Wingerworth Main event running from 10.00 to 16.00
We will be having a stall and running pond dipping sessions at 12.00 and 14.30 Pond has good range of invertebrates and smooth & great crested newts.
Other species groups will be doing bird ringing at 07.00 and moth trapping at 22.00