Over the years many projects have been undertaken, some of which it is possible to complete in a morning and other, much larger tasks, which are ongoing over many months or even years.
& steps improvement programme
If you walk around the reserve you will come across areas where the footpaths and steps have been improved and also areas where more work is needed.
Work on the access via Woodlands Lane has been improved over time and conditions are certainly much better during wet weather. Other areas have been highlighted for work over the coming years and this upgrade will continue whilst there are Section 106 monies available.
The reserve has
been awarded a sum of money from Section 106 funds to improve the footpaths
and steps around the reserve. Section 106 money is an amount which developers
pay to the local councils, this money can be allocated to projects which the
Council feels will benefit the local community. The footpath improvement work
is undertaken by the Derby Parks Volunteers and the Friends group. The DPV
are a small group of dedicated volunteers who work two days a week in parks
and nature reserves throughout Derby. They undertake projects which are too
onerous or specialised for the Friends group.
This programme of improvements is an ongoing project and work will continue when manpower and funds allow.
You may have also noticed the smart noticeboard which has been installed adjacent to the Bensley Close car park, we are currently compiling an information sheet which will give information relating to species that can be found on the reserve. We also display our Green Flag Community awards here along with details of upcoming events/tasks.
to the Pit Close access (next to the Scout Hut) the original reserve sign
has been removed to be totally redesigned and updated by the Scout group.
As soon as circumstances allow the new sign board will be installed.
Habitat creation is always a vital part of any nature reserve and we were fortunate in having The 103rd Derby (Chellaston) Scout group create two impressive Bug Hotels on our reserve. A group of Scouts, their leaders and parents came along one Saturday morning to construct these wonderful habitat shelters. All the materials were donated and the boys made a great job of putting them to good use. There was no master plan other than to ensure that the structures were sturdy and solidly built and as you can see from the hotographs the outcome was two very individual dwellings. The insects and small mammals who took up residence, could choose between an 'Eco Lodge' type dwelling and an exclusive 'High Rise apartment block'.
Thanks to everyone who took part or supplied materials including Redrow Homes, the Scout group and members of the Friends group. Sadly however, 18 months after being built the bug hotels were destroyed by fire. Everyone was upset by this mindless act but very soon afterwards the Scouts built two new bug hotels in a much more secluded spot and these continue to provide great habitat for many types of insects and small mammals. Since then a third bug hotel has been installed.
When the ‘friends’ group started working on the reserve in 2005 no maintenance or improvements had been carried out for around 20 years and large areas had become covered with self set seedlings, especially Alder, White Poplar and Hawthorne. Therefore, one of the first tasks was to remove some of these saplings in order to give some of the larger trees space to mature and to take out some of the non-native species that had been planted when the landfill site had been caped.
Over the years open areas or glades have been created and although the site is still largely wooded there are some good open areas which provide wildlife with the right conditions to thrive. The glade maintenance and sapline removal programme are both on-going projects.
One of the tasks which fills a great many of the Friends group sessions is cutting and raking the wildflower glades. We are unable to get large machinery onto the reserve, all grass cutting is done by hand, this is hard work but nothing compared to the effort required in raking.
In order to improve habitat for wildflowers all grass cutting needs to be removed,if not it would enrich the soil. Wildflower species require poor quality soil.
All this hard
work keeps you warm in the winter and provides a great workout, no gym needed
and it ensures that the wildflowers already on the reserve are spreading and
populating more areas.
There are no natural ponds on the reserve but over the years five small ponds have been created in order to provide habitat for frogs, newts and pond dwelling insects. All these ponds are what are known as ‘Seasonal Ponds’ in that they tend to dry out during the summer months. It is hoped that in the future we can improve one of the ponds to retain water for the whole of the year.
During each autumn an inspection is carried out on the five small ponds, and with the help of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust we are able to highlight maintenance tasks which should help to keep the ponds in good order. Due to the fact that the site has a network of methane extraction pipes quite close to the surface we cannot deepen the ponds and therefore they dry out quickly during dry spells. Work has been carried out on two small ponds, which were close together, to link them into a larger pond with the hope that more water is retained. All 5 ponds are cleared of debris in the Autumn, ready for the winter rains. Each year we hope that spring is not too dry and that the ponds retain enough water to enable the tadpoles to reach maturity.