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.
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!