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 2019 - 2020 the committee elected at the AGM on 2nd March 2019 are:
Chair - Kelvin Lawrence, Vice Chair - Christian Murray-Leslie, Secretary - Chris Monk, Treasurer - Jayne Thompson
Committee members - Richard Fenn Griffin, Lisa Lawrence, James Longley, Emily Major, Trevor Taylor
Kelvin Lawrence is also the Derbyshire Toad Crossings Co-ordinator and Richard Fenn Griffen covers membership and data protection
See a previous newsletters here
Derbyshire ARG data policy
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.
A working party of Derbyshire ARG members undertook conservation work at the end of October 2016 to clear vegetation on a dewpond on the edge of a hay meadow near Hartington in the Peak District. Previous recording which started in 1988 and was more regular in the past decade had shown that the pond supported great crested and smooth newts, common frog and common toad. However after years of virtually no change, in the past two years nearly all the dewpond was swamped by Glyceria that formed a thick floating mat leaving just a small open water area in the middle.
The Glyceria mat was so interconnected that it had to be cut up into segments so that it could be pulled out using pond rakes. About two thirds of the pond was cleared leaving sufficient vegetation on one side where there was a greater variety of emergent aqautic plants. Hopefully the small clump of Potamogeton natans that was still surviving in the open water area when we arrived will spread back into the cleared areas.
The type of moorland management in the Dark Peak is of concern to herpetologists as intensive management with regular burning is extremely detrimental to reptiles. There has been considerable concern by naturalists over the persecution of birds of prey which has prevented most species breeding in the National Park. Over a century of keepering has resulted in the destruction of "vermin" on the grouse moors and as a result of this and the burning there are no known adder populations on the keepered moors. If highly protected birds like hen harriers and peregrines are illegally killed by some people then they would have no qualms in dispatching any adders they come across.
Due to incidents the National Trust has announced that the grouse shooting lease of two of its large tenanted estates on the Dark Peak will be terminated in a year's time as they do not consider the tenant can produce the outcomes desired in the NTs Moorland Vision.
A campaign has been set up to welcome the decision by the National Trust and to call on the Trust not to lease the land to another shooting tenant. Instead, the NT should take the opportunity to work with other partners to establish a wilder landscape, free of intensive grouse-management, where wildlife can recover and thrive and not be subject to illegal persecution. Derbyshire ARG is one of the 12 local environmental groups who have formed a coalition to sponsor the campaign and petition.
Find out "moor" at http://nomoorshooting.blogspot.co.uk
or sign the petition online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/nomoorshooting
The first results are back from the eDNA water samples taken by the group on the GCN training course day and on the field trip in May.
The water sample from the pond at Hilton Gravel Pits SSSI nature reserve came back negative for great crested newts, so they appear to be avoiding this pond which probably has more fish than the one we saw at the time of sampling.
The village mere pond sampled on the field trip and the restored field dewpond both near Hartington came back as positive for great crested newts.
The results from the pond sampled as part of Freshwater Habitats Trust PondNet project will be know later in the year.
Depending on weather conditions across the county we will be running our volunteer toad crossing patrols at various sites across the county from Overseal in the south to Furness Vale in the north. These may start & finish earlier if weather is mild and damp.
If you would like to volunteer please contact our County Toad Crossing Co-Ordinator Kelvin Lawrence at email@example.com
Great Crested Newts and Licensing for Surveys training course.
Saturday 4th May and Sunday 5th May 2019
Hilton, South Derbyshire
A one day training course and field survey session on the Saturday followed by shorter field survey session on the Sunday morning.
This will cover Species ID, Ecology, Legal status and Licensing, Great crested newt survey methods including environmental DNA (eDNA), the GCN Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) and Biosecurity, followed by field sessions demonstating survey methods, including bottle trapping and torchlight surveys.
Further details to follow -
This course is open to non-members at a cost of £30 Opportuntities after the course to gain further experience by taking part in Derbyshire ARG GCN survey trips in the Peak District National Park and adjacent areas.
To book a place email us at firstname.lastname@example.org