Doe Lea River being brought back to life

Norbriggs Flash

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has received an Our Heritage grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Doe Lea River Restoration project.

The project was made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to promote the recent restoration of a section of the river that was restored by the Environment Agency in 2017.Funding of £41,300 has been awarded to help Derbyshire Wildlife Trust engage local communities with Chesterfield Borough Council’s hundred acre Norbriggs Flash Nature Reserve in Staveley and by offer exciting opportunities for everyone; outdoor education for local schools, a free alternate health club for adults to get outdoors and for the local community to come together to help find and record all the wildlife on the reserve.

"This is an exciting time when wildlife is returning to our rivers."
Helen Mitchem
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

The project comprises of several elements. The first was the restoration of a 650 metre stretch of the Doe Lea River which was previously straightened when its water was too polluted to support life. The Environment Agency have worked to restore the river to its original meandering channel, restoring a diverse range of habitats, including slower and faster moving sections of water which are all required to introduce more oxygen into the water and therefore start to sustain a river rich in wildlife.

Norbriggs Flash River Doe Lea

Norbriggs Flash River Doe Lea

The latest elements of the project involves promoting the site to local communities and connecting them with it and its wildlife. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust will work with volunteers to improve the nature reserve around the river: clearing up rubbish; working to educate users about reducing dog muck on the site and conservation tasks including ‘balsam bashing’ (to eradicate himalayan balsam, an invasive plant species).  There will also be a regular programme of events such as guided walks, wildlife survey training and children’s activities including river dipping.

Commenting on the award, Helen Mitchem, the Norbriggs Flash Project Officer said: “We are really grateful to have received this grant thanks to National Lottery players. In the past the Doe Lea River was essential to local industry, which is something we celebrate in this project. This did however result in a decline in natural habitats, river creatures and clean waterways.  This is an exciting time when wildlife is returning to our rivers and this project offers great opportunities for local people to participate and make a positive difference to wildlife and improve our understanding of Staveley’s important industrial past.” 

Norbriggs river dipping

Norbriggs river dipping

Councillor Chris Ludlow, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on this project, which will showcase the valuable habitats present in this nationally-important nature reserve that the council has created over the past decade.

Councillor Chris Ludlow added, “It is great to receive National Lottery funding to enable the local community to engage more with the nature reserve, the wildlife and ecology that it holds.”