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 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







Derbyshire ARG data policy





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.


New Facebook site

Posted on Thursday 7th October, 2021

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

Stanage and North Lees Reptile Survey

Posted on Sunday 26th September, 2021

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.

P20210926 12.49 Lizard on wall

DARG Activities 2021 Update

Posted on Friday 9th July, 2021

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.

DARG Activities 2021

Posted on Monday 22nd February, 2021

Derbyshire ARG will be deciding at its next committee meeeting at the end of February on what activities can be organised this year depending on Government guidance and regulation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic



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

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 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


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

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