Derbyshire Biodiversity
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News: Biodiversity Projects

Derbyshire Flora Project
Dormouse Recovery Project
Harvest Mouse Project
Water Vole Monitoring
Derbyshire Mammal Atlas
Great Trees of Derbyshire Project
Derbyshire Swift Survey

Derbyshire Flora Project
The Derbyshire Flora scheme was a project to publish an up-to-date account of the wild plants in the county. It covered all ferns, conifers and flowering plants growing wild in the area, whether or not they are native, introduced or merely casual. A team of expert, but mostly volunteer local botanists collected and computerised over 800,000 records since 1987.
The Flora of Derbyshire by A.Willmot and N. Moyes was finally published in 2015 (price £38.50). Follow this link for further details, and where to purchase it.
For more information contact the authors at
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Dormouse Recovery Project
The Dormouse, a BAP species, has been re-introduced into three sites in Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park as part of the Natural England's Species Recovery Project. The Derbyshire Mammal Group are working with the landowners to monitor the re-introductions.
To find out more visit the Derbyshire Mammal Group website.

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Harvest Mouse Project

Derbyshire Mammal Group is currently carrying out a Harvest Mouse Survey. Records of harvest mice are very good for the north-eastern part of Derbyshire where the Sorby Mammal Group have carried out their Harvest Mice flying squad surveys. Elsewhere they are more scattered. The survey involves searching for nests. However, if you have records of harvest mice sightings, or cat kills in Derbyshire no matter how old, please send these to Debbie Alston at Derbyshire Mammal Group. 

To download a copy of the harvest mice survey form .... right-click link belowand choose"Save TargetAs", and save the form to your computer.
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Water Vole Monitoring
Water voles have been identified as a priority species for action in both the Lowland Derbyshire, and the Peak District, Biodiversity Action Plans. In co-operation with neighbouring wildlife trusts and others, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is working to protect water voles by:
  • Raising awareness of the water vole and its requirements
  • Helping landowners and managers to protect populations and encourage their expansion
  • Monitoring water vole sites so that early action can be taken to protect threatened populations
  • Carrying out surveys and encouraging recording
  • Providing training for surveyors and land managers
  • Carrying out practical conservation work to benefit water voles

We are commited to saving the water vole in Derbyshire and the Peak District, but we can't do it without YOU. For further information visit the DWT website, or mail

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Derbyshire Mammal Atlas
The Mammals of Derbyshire was a major project to publish a new atlas, showing the distribution of all the county's mammals with supporting text about the status and ecology of each species.
It was published in 2014 and is available for £12.50. Further details from the Derbyshire Mammal Group.

Derbyshire Mammal Group are continuing to collect records, which are then added to their database and are available for research or future updates. Please send any Derbyshire mammal records to Debbie Alston (DMG Recorder) 90, Over Lane, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 0HN. Email:

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Great Trees of Derbyshire Project
The Great Trees of Derbyshire was a HLF-funded project to locate and survey all veteran trees in the County, and to celebrate our veteran tree heritage. Derbyshire is blessed with many old and ancient trees providing nature conservation, landscape and cultural heritage benefits. This work will assist with implementing the LBAPs in Derbyshire, and will build upon the similar projects already progressing in Nottinghamshire, Charnwood, Staffordshire and the National Forest.

The value of veteran trees for wildlife is enormous. A single oak may have major trunk cavities, water pools in the canopy, sap runs, standing dead wood both within the trunk and in the canopy, loose bark, rotten heart wood dead wood on the ground, fungi growing it and a myriad of other micro-habitats. These micro-habitats that veteran trees have the potential to be a suitable home for a wide variety of invertebrates: it has been estimated that there are more than 1600 species of saproxylic (dependant upon dead or dying wood) invertebrates in Britain. A veteran tree will also support the epiphytic plants that grow upon the bark of ancient trees, fungi living on the deadwood, birds nesting on the invertebrates and bats roosting within the tree itself.

Derbyshire possess a number of important veteran tree sites such as Chatsworth Old Park SSSI, Calke Park SSSI, Kedleston Park SSSI and Hardwick Park pSSSI. There are also a number of County Wildlife Sites that are important for Lowland wood-pasture, parkland and veteran trees. Derbyshire also is home to a number of celebrated old trees such as the Darley Yew, Doveridge Yew, Vernon’s Oak, Bess’s Oak and the Old man of Calke.
Find out more here or see a list of some important veteran trees in Derbyshire discovered through this project.
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Derbyshire Swift Survey
Why do we need a swift survey in Derbyshire?
There is increasing national and international concern about loss of swift nest sites leads to an increasing desire to do something about it.
Very little survey of swift colonies has taken place so far - the reason may be that "twitchers" prefer to twitch in the countryside and not around the housing estates. 
  1. Aim: To obtain sufficient information for the purposes of protecting and creating swift nest habitat. thus:- 
    To establish the locations of nesting colonies .
  2. To obtain some indication of sizes of colonies
  3. To identify the type of structure they are nesting in and the significant location within that structure - i.e. whether the critical place is under the eaves or soffit, under roof tiles or holes in the fabric of the building.
  4. To identify any threats which the swift colonies may encounter in the near future.
Where to look?

Swifts may be found anywhere where there are buildings. There are several myths about swift nests - one is that they always nest in towers, another that they always nest in old buildings. They do not have our perceptions about buildings, and will nest anywhere where they find a suitable cavity accessed by a suitable hole. If surveyors do not go into housing estates to look for swifts, they won't see them there.

When to look?

It is generally found that swifts are most visibly active around 8.30 - 9.30 in the morning, around mid-day and from 9 - 9.30 until dark time in the evening. The most prolonged displays are usually in the evenings, and activity increases as the season progresses. So this is the most reliable time to go out…BUT swifts only party in good weather.

What to record?

Fill in the swift nest survey form with the following information:
  • date you recorded them
    • Number of house and street name/names or building name (e.g. Crusty Castle) and the style of building and or grid reference - 6 or 8 figure grid ref
    • Town or village name.
    • The number you saw or approximate number ( e.g. 8 - 12 or 30/40). It is not always easy to count them.
    • Any nest sites you do see and any comment of interest.
  • Location of nest site – height, aspect and description with a sketch for clarification.
    • It is important also to record places where they used to be, either from your own memory or from anecdotal evidence, as there are very few existing records of swift colonies.

    Please remember to send also your name and address - e-mail identification does not always give this.
What will the information be used for?

There are concerns over the decline in swift colonies in the county. This survey will provide information on population sizes and locations of population as well as a baseline of information to monitor against in the future.

If at the end of the survey there is sufficient information to suggest that there is a need for a Species Action Plan for swifts one will be drawn up by the Biodiversity Project Officer in consultation with the DOS amongst others.

Some of the swift colonies may be at risk with future building work being planned at their nest sites, especially in large warehouses and mill buildings where there is a current trend of renovation. The project could also aim to provide data on swift colonies to planning officers and building owners who will then be able to make informed decisions about renovation works that effect swift colonies. Several tried and tested methods of working around swift colonies have been worked up in other parts of the country.
The Concern For Swifts website can provide more information.
Please download a survey form and return all records to Dave Budworth at
Download the Survey Form .... right-click link belowand choose"Save Target As", and save the form to your computer.

Derbyshire Ornithological Society has produced a information sheet for house and property owners with swifts.
To download the information sheet.... right-click link belowand choose"Save Target As", and save to your computer.
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