Walks and views for miles around Derbyshire’s first beaver site

Walks and views for miles around Derbyshire’s first beaver site

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce they will be reconnecting an old five mile walk and building a viewing tower at Willington Wetlands in the Trent Valley thanks to a grant of £67,868 from the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund. 

Willington Wetlands is a former sand and gravel quarry. Despite its industrial past it is now a haven for wildlife, teeming with bird life all year round, from bittern in winter to sand martens and common terns in summer. Dragonflies and damselflies are plentiful here too and otter are regular visitors. 

The reserve is particularly important for its wetland habitats, from open water to reed bed. The shingle and grass islands provide a refuge for wildlife and are ideal for breeding waders. And, the site is soon to be home to Derbyshire’s first beavers in 800 years. 


(C) Shutterstock

This latest round of funding for the site will see the Trust improve 1250m of existing trackway and create 250m of new path. But the key element is the installation of a bridge over the boundary brook which will link two halves of a broken bridleway. This multi-user bridge will be the link needed to create a five mile circular loop allowing local residents and all visitors unhindered access to the surrounding countryside for the first time in over 20 years. A viewing tower will also be installed so visitors can experience the full extent of the wetlands. 

The need for this project has been highlighted by visitors, local residents, the Willington Footpath and Open Spaces Group, cycling groups, Green Health Walking Group and is supported and partly funded by Willington Parish Council. 

Other funders who have contributed generously to the project are the Co-op Community Fund and the Transforming The Trent Valley Project, a partnership that has been working for better habitats and access in the Trent Valley region. 

Kate Lemon, Regional Manager at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said, “We’re delighted that so many organisations have come together to support this access work at Willington Wetlands. It’s a really important site for locals and we’re delighted to be able to create more opportunities for them to enjoy their wild surroundings.” 

Elizabeth Cooke, Head of Grants at The Veolia Environmental Trust added, “We’re so proud to be able to support Derbyshire Wildlife Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund. The works will improve access across the reserve, enabling more people to enjoy the wonderful wildlife Willington Wetlands is home to.“ 

To find out more about the work going on at Willington Wetlands visit: If you’d like to volunteer in the area please contact the Trust at enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk