Funded by Rewilding Britain and the Green Challenge Recovery Fund, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is currently developing the Wild Peak Project. This ambitious project will look at the potential to manage large areas of land across the Dark Peak and its urban fringes’.
The Wild Peak is a place where wildlife is thriving and extending into surrounding areas; where golden eagles and ospreys soar overhead; black grouse and hen harriers are back where they belong in wildflower meadows and healthy blanket bogs; native woodlands are re-generating and expanding, and are teeming with pine martens, adders and red squirrels, and beavers are managing and expanding its wetlands. It’s a dynamic place, with habitats blending together with complex interfaces. Wild Peak is a place that is valued by and benefits society, locally, nationally and internationally.
What is the Wild Peak all about?
The Wild Peak is a project that aims to work in close partnership with landowners, local communities and project leaders, to inspire and implement long-term, landscape-scale conservation gains in the Wild Peak region, that are driven by nature-led approaches where wildlife dictates the pace of restoration.
Building on the Lawton conservation principles of bigger, better, more and joined up, the Wild Peak project will work towards creating, restoring and connecting wild spaces across the region.
People and communities are at the heart of the Wild Peak project and will be key to its success! As well as creating a network of wild spaces, the Wild Peak project will create a network of people and communities to facilitate, support and celebrate nature’s recovery across the region (and beyond!).
As well as establishing nature and community networks, the project also comprises a number of immediate tasks, to support nature’s recovery in the Wild Peak region. These tasks include:
Undertaking opportunity mapping and gap analysis of rewilding in the Wild Peak region.
This task will identify places within the Wild Peak area, and the urban connection zones, where existing and future landscape restoration, and other rewilding activities, are taking place.
Undertaking research into moving to a nature-based economy.
This task will allow us to identify mechanisms by which businesses can move from “business as usual” to the development of a nature-based economy. This work will draw on proven examples from across the UK and overseas, such as Osprey photography around Rutland Water, Pine Marten photographic hides in Scotland and ecotourism benefits in the Isle of Mull and the Knepp Estate.
Undertaking species re-introduction assessments.
A key element of the Wild Peak project will be the reintroduction of species that once inhabited the Wild Peak area but are now missing, such as beaver, pine marten, red squirrel, osprey, twite, golden eagle and black grouse. This piece of work will begin to scope out what will be required to develop the strategic plans to eventually bring these species back to the area.
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Land Owner – Cat Raynor, Thornhill
“I love spending time in nature and watching wildlife and photographing it has become a bit of a passion. Having got a few fields I had never realised that I could leave them to return to a more wild habitat and had let various local farmers use it for grazing so I was really excited after talking to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to find they were promoting an initiative to get more of Derbyshire wild again. The project has only just begun but I am really hoping to increase the biodiversity over all areas and hopefully go a small way to benefit nature.” – Cat Raynor, Thornhill
We are currently working with Cat who owns an area of land close to our Thornhill Reserve. We have just completed the baseline habitat surveys for the site and over the next few months will be working closely with Cat to produce a land management and monitoring plan.
Community Group – Whaley Bridge Biodiversity Group
“Biodiversity Whaley is an interesting mix of nature lovers, ecologists, artists, professionals, younger parents and retirees, but we all have one thing in common: a passion for nature conservation, with re-wilding at its very heart. Our aims are to support our community in: taking practical action to nurture biodiversity in our area; to protect and strengthen local species and habitats and to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
Our first project, which started in 2019, initially looked at creating wildflower verges. As a result, we started working collaboratively with High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) and identified some areas for ‘re-wilding’. We are now very happy to report that the first of these areas ‘The Linear Parkway’ is in its first year! We prepared a management plan for HPBC and as a result, the mowing regime has now been reduced from 16 to 2 cuts a year after plants have set seed.
Going forwards, we will survey this site regularly for plant and butterfly species and monitor our re-wilding efforts for years to come. We are also looking to expand our re-wilding efforts across Whaley and we have a number of other similar projects with HPBC at the planning stages, one of which will draw inspiration from a large local re-wilding scheme which will be showing at the RHS show at Tatton Park this year. Most importantly, through these re-wilding efforts and our other key projects (e.g. wildlife sightings database, Whaley Hogwatch, invasive species mapping) we are establishing a network of key community contacts, many of whom are also landowners interested in ‘re-wilding’. Our aspiration is to create a ‘Wild Whaley’ and we are excited to be working with the Wild Peak Project.” - Zoe Connolly, Acclimatise Whaley
Donor – Porter Pizza, Sheffield
“We opened Porter Pizza in July 2015. As well as focussing on making the best possible Neapolitan pizza, we've always been conscious of our environmental impact. That said we still get through a lot of meat and cheese and we burn (well-seasoned) wood so we were keen to explore ways to mitigate our carbon footprint. I've been a closet environmentalist for years, donating to Trees for Life, reading books, going on demos, doing outdoor sports and generally worrying about the state of the natural world. When our sales increased during the pandemic it felt time to start doing more as a business. My brother put us on to Rewilding Britain, who in turn pointed us to the Wild Peak project. After a chat with Dave and Phoebe from the project we felt inspired to get behind it, making a monthly donation to match what we spend on firewood. We're excited to see areas of the Peak District become richer places for nature and am convinced that the Wild Peak team have the expertise and motivation to make things happen. More and more businesses are looking for ways to get involved in the fight against climate change and ecosystem collapse and we wanted to be a part of it.” – Dave Musgrove, Porter Pizza
How to get involved
There are many different and exciting ways to get involved with the Wild Peak Project including pledging your land, time or money, through a donation…
We are currently building a live pledging map for our webpage that will allow you to make your pledge and pin your location on our Wild Peak map. Until then, if you’d like to make a pledge or discuss getting involved please use our enquiry form below or email email@example.com directly.
Pledge your Land -
Do you have land that you can pledge towards our Nature Recovery Network?
We are already working with range of fantastic land owners, community groups and Councils across the region, who we are helping to support and advise on their rewilding journeys. If you would like to pledge your land or enquire about rewilding community or publicly owned land near you, please complete our enquiry form below.
Pledge your time -
Do you have time to support an existing rewilding initiative or join your local biodiversity action group?
If you need help finding a local group or project, please get in touch using the form below, and we will do our best to connect you with some of the amazing people we are already working with!
Pledge a donation -
As well as land and volunteer time Wild Peak also needs funding to deliver our work. Every penny donated means we can give more advice, plant more trees, create more meadows and reintroduce more species. So if you are short of time please make a difference by donating whatever you can to Wild Peak.
If you would like to discuss a corporate or large project donations with us, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org directly or filling in the form below.