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A really wild year at The Avenue Washlands

Friday 3rd November 2017

Avenue 2017 10th anniversary Doug JacksonAvenue 2017 10th anniversary Doug Jackson

It’s been a fantastic twelve months at The Avenue Washlands nature reserve just outside Chesterfield.

After ten years of hard work by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s dedicated teams and volunteers, the site at the old Avenue Coking Plant at Wingerworth has been transformed into a wildlife haven and vital accessible community green space. Not bad for somewhere once considered one of the most polluted sites in Europe!

In August the Trust celebrated 10 years managing the site on behalf of The Land Trust, hosting a community event and planting an oak tree to mark the occasion, mirroring the original opening ceremony. Even the rain couldn’t put the enthusiastic attendees off!

In May the Trust won Project of the Year award for enhancing the natural landscape with its volunteer led Building Walls for Wildlife project. The £12,000 project funded by Tesco Bags of Help, created new habitats for wildlife at the reserve, including an artificial nesting bank for sand martins ensuring they have a permanent, secure place to breed.

Local volunteers working with the Trust’s reserves team have made a massive difference to wildlife here. Thanks to them, wildlife highlights this year have included barn owls nesting and successfully raising four owl chicks here, and two kestrel chicks have also fledged; all from boxes they’ve installed across the reserve. Volunteer Reserve Warden Ron Turner sends in regular sightings about the wildlife he sees on his daily walks around the Avenue. This year his vigilance was rewarded when he recorded the first ever sighting of a purple hairstreak butterfly on the reserve.

The Avenue Washlands is home to almost 1,000 species already, and the team at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is excited to see what the next year brings!
The Trust’s Head of Living Landscapes (North) Tim Birch said “It’s fantastic to see how brilliant this old industrial site has become for people and wildlife. The development of the site is testament to a great partnership with the Land Trust and dedication from a wide variety of volunteers. We look forward to the next 10 years!”

If you would like to volunteer at this wonderful nature reserve, give Derbyshire Wildlife Trust a call on 01773 881188, they’d love to have you on board.

Note: The Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve is on part of the former Avenue Coking Works site at Wingerworth near Chesterfield. It is managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on 01773 881188, they’d love to have you on board.