Crich Chase Meadows, Kieron Huston
An exciting new partnership between Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and National Grid has come together to embark on an ambitious mission to restore the nationally important habitats at Crich Chase SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
The partner organisations are working together to protect the mosaic of flower-rich grasslands, scrubland and ancient woodland that give Crich Chase its unique character and high ecological importance. Crich Chase was designated as a SSSI in 2013 for its species-rich grassland, ancient woodland and its diverse assemblage of fungi and a trip to Crich Chase Meadows in summer will show you that this only captures a few of its qualities.
The meadows support fantastic butterfly and pollinator populations (the hoverflies alone number more than 50 species!) and there are plenty of bird species to fill the air with a jumble of songs and calls. The crisis our pollinators are facing due to loss of habitat and the use of pesticides makes places like Crich Chase Meadows vital sanctuaries for these species, where they have the space and resources to feed and breed in their natural environment.
Without the right management these habitats will deteriorate and as a result many plant, animal and fungal species would disappear from the site. The grasslands in particular are threatened by the encroaching scrub and so work began in the winter of 2014 to keep the bramble and hawthorn at bay and ready the meadows for the spring sunshine
The partnership will ensure that the meadows will continue to be managed using the old traditional methods that made this stunning piece of land the wildlife haven that it is today. Keeping the meadows fertiliser-free and grazing them with a herd of cattle that is able to roam the meadows and woodland will allow the native wildflowers to thrive, which in turn will feed the insects and birds and so on.
Come and visit Crich Chase Meadows to experience some of the best wildlife our county has to offer. Guided walks are being run by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust during the summer and autumn to give everyone the opportunity to get closer to nature and learn a bit about the amazing insects, wildflowers and fungi that fill Crich Chase Meadows.
Mondays 9:30am – 3:30pm (occasional weekend dates TBC)
If you enjoy working outdoors and want to help protect wildlife in a beautiful setting then why not come along on a work day and help us tackle the hawthorn and bramble that threaten to swallow up the wildflower meadows if left unchecked. Volunteer work days are being run on the meadows on Mondays and occasional weekends. All tools will be provided – you only need to bring sturdy boots, waterproofs and your lunch!
If you are interested in coming along on a work day or you simply want to find out more about this project contact Oliver Foulds on 01773 881188 (firstname.lastname@example.org). To find out more about the Heritage Lottery Funded DerwentWISE Landscape Partnership project visit www.derwentwise.com.
Photos: Bee, Kieron Huston