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
Thanks to the volunteers who helped with the clearance of the farm dewpond just outside the Peak National Park boundary in mid February. Due to the depth of the pond and the thickness of the mat of Typha covering virtually the entire pond only a belt around half the margin of the pond was cleared using hand tools lent by the Derby City Pond Wardens Association. This has created a belt of open water around about half of the pond for the 2019 amphibian season. (See the photo gallery page)
It is proposed to go back this spring to survey for amphibians using the pond which when last surveyed held common toad, great crested and smooth newts. In addition we are investigating how to clean out the remainder of the pond to fully restore it. It is over 35 years since the dewpond was last fully cleared out by an excavator after which the great crested newt population quickly expanded to take advantage of the open water then available on the pond.
Our work party planned for Saturday 19th January had to be called off when the Peak District was hit by snow the previous evening. The pond was already frozen from the frosts the previous few nights but the farmer said you couldn't see the ice for the couple of inches of snow on top! We hope to re-schedule it for mid February.
This was organised by ARG UK and the National Trust and held in early October 2018 in Shropshire. There was a large attendance of Land Mangers and volunteers from across the Midlands and from the Humberhead Peatlands NNR in Yorkshire. A staff member and volunteer from each of the National Trust and the Eastern Moors Partnership in Derbyshire attended and heard presentations from Herefordshire and Derbyshire ARGs following which the National Trust led a field visit to an adder site to demonstrate the managements works that were being done to conserve adders.
A large moorland fire on Monday 21st May following a period of warm dry weather has burnt 43 hectares of the Peak District Eastern Moors SSSI before eventually being extinguished. Unfortunately one of our regular adder survey sites has been destroyed along with eggs of ground nesting birds and the habitat there could easily take 10 years to recover to a condition where it would be suitable for lizards and adders. The Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is believed to be suspicious ignition, possibly deliberate, but that is something for the police and Eastern Moors staff to establish."
This was the second moorland fire in May after another fire, again thought to have been deliberately started, destroyed an area in the Goyt Valley SSSI including many bird nests.
Both sites are in the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Peak District Moors (South Pennine Moors phase 1) Special Protection Area (SPA).
After the significant snowfall and cold weather in late February and early March that held back the start of the 2018 amphibian season, put a break on the reptile emergence surveys and postponed our spring meeting, it has all come to a halt again on Sat 17th with cold weather and snowfall blanketing the county especially the upland areas in the Peak District. Toads had just started moving last week especially in southern Derbyshire, frogs were spawning across the county and some reptiles were basking and now it has all come to a halt. Hopefully it will be full speed ahead for frogs and toads later this coming week with mild & wet weather forecast, though it doesn't look good for the reptiles. However we have just purchased a further supply of toad migration road signs to add to our stock and they will be put up this week as soon as the snow has cleared.
Field visit to record reptiles at one of our survey sites at Cromford, starting at 9.45am and lasting just under 2 hours. Contact us at email@example.com to find out details of meeting place in nearby car park, as event may be cancelled if there is bad weather. (Last year's April visit co-incided with a thunderstorm!)
A two day course at Hilton in South Derbyshire, starting at 10.30am on Saturday including field survey work in the afternoon and evening finishing at 11.15pm. Morning session on Sunday 15 May finishing around 11am.
Cost £25.00 (or £5.00 for members of Derbyshire ARG before 1st March 2016)
This training course is suitable for those wishing to work towards a Natural England GCN survey class license. It will include netting, egg searching, bottle trapping and torchlight surveys and information and demonstration of GCN eDNA sampling.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries or to book a place.
Field visit as part of the Freshwater Habitats Trust's PondNet project to take eDNA water samples for testing for presence of great crested newts in ponds at Pilsley near Hartington in the Peak District National Park. Contact us on email@example.com to book a place and receive details of time and meeting place.
We will be having a stand at this all day event organised by the Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group at this important Local Nature Reserve which supports good populations of amphibians and reptiles. 10.00am to 4.00pm
CANCELLED TODAY DUE TO WEATHER - TO BE RE-ARRANGED
Field visit to record reptiles at one of our survey sites near Hassop in the Peak District National Park, meeting at 9.15am and lasting just under 2 hours. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out details of meeting place in nearby car park, as event may be cancelled if there is bad weather. Note this site has a very steep slope in parts with loose scree and to access most of the location it requires a climb over a stock fence topped with barbed wire. Therefore suitable footware and agility is required to take part.
The Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve, Mill Lane, Wingerworth
We will be running pond dipping sessions and having a stand at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s "A Venue for Wildlife" event at this reserve which as an important site for amphibians and reptiles. 10.00am to 4.00pm
Derbyshire ARG will be having our stand at this popular weekend show organised by the County Council's Countryside Service at the wonderful Elvaston Castle Country Park just outside Derby. Come along and visit us, tell us about your sightings of amphibians and reptiles, learn more about them, colour in the ARGUK colouring sheets (for children of all ages). Entry free but car parking charge applies. Open from 10am to 4pm both days
Morning event from 10.00 to 13.00 to rake out invading Glyceria and do a little silt clearance from dewpond that supports newts, frogs and toads near Hartington. Tools will be provided. Meeting place Hartington Station car park on the Tissington Trail between Ashbourne and Buxton. Please let us know that you will be coming and find out extra details by emailing email@example.com.
Approximate dates for 2017 toad patrols helping toads across the road at around 20 sites across Derbyshire. If you would like to assist let us know and we will put you in contact with the nearest patrol.
Derbyshire ARG spring meeting and AGM
Will be held at The Whistlestop Centre Education building, Matlock Bath Station, Derbyshire from 2pm to 4.30pm
Talk by Kevin Palmer of Reaseheath College on research projects on adders and grass snakes. Highlights from last October's Vanishing Viper adder meeting and a presentation on the proposals from Natural England for District Level Licensing that were shown at the 2017 Herpetofauna Workers Meeting followed by the AGM which usually lasts for no more than 15 minutes!