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 derbyshirearg@gmail.com 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 2024 - 2025 the committee elected at the AGM on 13th January 2024 are:

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

Kelvin Lawrence is also the Derbyshire Toad Crossings Co-ordinator for the Group & for Froglife

See a previous newsletters here

 pdfJanuary_2021_DARG_newsletter_31.pdf

pdfAugust_2020_DerbyshireARG_newsletter.pdf

pdfFebruary_2020_DARG_Events_newsletter.pdf

pdfDARG_April_2019_newsletter.pdf

pdfDARG_January_2019_newsletter.pdf

 

Derbyshire ARG data policy

pdfDARG_data_protection_policy_November_2018.pdf

 

News

News

Spring meeting - talk on research involving grass snakes and adders

Posted on Friday 24th February, 2017

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.


Pond Net GCN eDNA results

Posted on Saturday 10th December, 2016

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.

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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.


Pond Task

Posted on Saturday 12th November, 2016

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.


Moorland Management

Posted on Tuesday 9th August, 2016

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


GCN eDNA results

Posted on Monday 11th July, 2016

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.


Events

Events

Show Past Events

National Forest pond surveys

Thu 14th March, 2024 - Sun 5th May, 2024

We will be running pond surveys across the National Forest area in southern Derbyshire. Details to be confirmed


Reptile Surveys

Fri 12th April, 2024 - Sat 5th October, 2024

We will be running a series of reptile surveys across the year at several sites.

We have refugia (cover object) surveys out at Hassop near Bakewell, Linacre Reservoirs near Chesterfield and Hardwick Hall near Doe Lea. Hassop has been running for 10 years and is monitoring slow-worms and common lizard. We were asked to help set up refugia surveys at Linacre by Severn Trent Water's Ranger where we have monitored grass snakes and checked on common lizard by visual surveys at a separate location on the site. At  Hardwick we have assisted the National Trust Rangers in setting up a refugia survey this year to help assess the grass snake population.

In addition we are carrying out visual transect surveys at the Peak District National Park Authority's North Lees Estate to determine the status of Common Lizard across this large estate. There is a mixture of habitats there including the gritstone edges and dry stone walls, dwarf shrub heath, large areas of bracken domination, acid grassland fields, woodland plantations and some wetland and flushes.


Peak District newt surveys

Sat 20th April, 2024 - Tue 28th May, 2024

As in previous years we will be running a programme of torchlight surveys of dewponds across the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park These include checking on ponds that have been restored by the PeaK District National Park Authority through earlier grant funded programmes or their current Farming in Protected Landscape Scheme. The aim is to assess the success of  restoring ponds for the newts particularly the great crested newt to colonise restored ponds and to monitor continued amphibian presence in suite of ponds that are surveyed every year.

A few ponds may be bottle trapped and we are waiting to hear from the Freshwater Habitats Trust whether they will be running a tenth year of their PondNet Great Crested Newt eDNA Project. There are two sites in Derbyshire we take the water samples for them, one near Hartington in the Peak District National Park and one near North Wingfield in NE Derbyshire.

The programme of surveys is still to be confirmed but if interested in taking part please contact us at derbyshirearg@gmail.com


National Forest pond walk

Sat 27th April, 2024 - Sat 27th April, 2024

Part of a programme of free environmental walks organised by Groundwork Five Counties for the National Forest Company

This year Derbyshire ARG will be leading the pond walk at New Lount Nature Reserve in the Leicestershire part of the National Forest. The walk will last around 2 hours and will look at the ponds amd amphibians to be found at the nature reserve.The reserve is known to be a good site for amphibians and also attracts grass snakes

Book to attend at environment@groundworknottingham.org.uk or by text to 07801 122494

.Amphibian walk in National Forest


Pleasley Pit Country Park Wildlife Day

Sun 19th May, 2024 - Sun 19th May, 2024

Event organised by the Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group, held by the old engine house at the entrance to Pleasley Pit Country Park and Local Nature Reserve

We will be having a stand at the event which runs from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

The Country Park was created on the site of the former Pleasley Colliery and is one of the best examples of landscape restoration with nature conservation. There is a mixture of habitats with some areas being underlaid by slightly acidic mining spoil  whilst other areas have the underlying Magnesian Limestone especially noticeable on the disused railway cuttings. The site is well known for grass snakes and also for toads, frogs and smooth newts in and around the several ponds on site.


Staunton Harold Bioblitz

Thu 30th May, 2024 - Fri 31st May, 2024

We will be attending a bioblitz organised by National Trust Rangers at Severn Trent Water's  Staunton Harold Reservoir on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st  May. The event will run between 10.00am and 2.00pm each day. We will be organising a stand with information about our native amphibians and reptiles, there will also be wildlife walks  and talks on both days.

The entrance to the Reservoir is signposted off the B587 road just south of Melbourne, follow the signs on Calke Road to the car park

 


Contact us

Contact Us

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DerbysARG
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Derbyshire
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For Toad Crossings and to contact our Derbyshire Toad Crossings Co-ordinator please email derbyshirearg.toads@gmail.com

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