The Trent Valley

These are vitally important wetlands that need our help

Willington Gravel Pits, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust 

We're transforming the Trent Valley

Over the past two centuries, industrialisation along the Trent has taken its toll. Agriculture, mineral extraction and development have all led to a loss of reed beds, wet grassland and other habitats with species such as redshank, lapwing and otters suffering a dramatic decline in numbers.

The Trust is working to restore these habitats and find ways of connecting them together to encourage wildlife to thrive in the Derbyshire Trent Valley and beyond.

Let us tell you more...

Transforming the Trent Valley project leaflet

We're improving nature reserves here

We have six reserves in the project area: Barton Pool, Drakelow, Golden Brook Storage Lagoon, Hilton Gravel Pits, Witches Oak Water and Willington Gravel Pits.

Some of our work includes:

  • Re-establishment of grazing at Drakelow
    No grazing has occurred on this land for many years and silage cutting ceased about five years ago. Since then the riverside meadow has been slowly scrubbing up with small trees and the grassland has become dominated by tall vigorous species of grasses out competing flowering plants and making the area unsuitable for feeding birds. Grazing should help to reduce the scrub and open up the grassland to encourage more flowering plants. Currently we only have grazing until September but we are hoping to negotiate longer term grazing from the owners E-on.
  • Access improvements at Hilton Gravel Pits
    A project funded by Biffaward aimed at updating Hilton’s gates, boardwalks and footpaths for visitors, and developing orientation and information panels to help visitors understand some of the unusual habitats and species on the reserve.
  • Successful reed bed planting at Willington Gravel Pits
    We have been developing new habitats including reed beds both here and at Drakelow. Both reserves now report winter visits of bitterns, one of the country's most threatened and secretive birds.

We're working together

We continue to work with various mineral companies in the valley and all sorts of other groups and organisations. We are developing relationships and discussing management when needed.

  • For several years we have been working closely with Toyota regarding their land and helping to increase its biodiversity, including advising on their nature reserve area.
  • We are have taken over management of Severn Trent Water’s land at Witches Oak Water. The site was established to store water in case of drought but has the additional function of being an important area for wildlife in the Trent Valley. It is hoped that positive habitat and water management could attract a range of important species particularly during spring and autumn when many birds are looking for places to stop and feed up.
  • Staff attended a technical working group for the Nottingham left bank flood alleviation scheme to help achieve biodiversity gains both at Attenborough Nature Reserve (Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust) and land extending into Derbyshire. This work led by the Environment Agency has helped secure new wetland habitat in the area.
  • The Trust is also talking to Derbyshire County Council looking at the role of mineral planning in helping to achieve greater biodiversity in the valley and, with other organisations, to develop a joined up approach for the whole river catchment.
  • We also continue to work with Local Authorities on wildlife sites and have commented on a number of planning applications in the area.

Trent Valley drone footage kindly donated by Tim Rogers,

Nature reserves in this Living Landscape

We have lots of beautiful nature reserves for you to explore in this Living Landscape, take a peek at our top three...

What can I see here?

You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to fauna and flora in this beautiful area of Derbyshire - get out and explore - we recommend looking out for...


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Bittern, Elliott Neep


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Otter, Mark Hamblin 

Emperor dragonfly

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Emperor Dragonfly, Tony Pioli

Get hands on

You can play a big part in the Trent Valley's recovery by volunteering on our nature reserves - find out where we need you most and get in touch. 

Thank you 

Volunteer in this Living Landscape

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Volunteering at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust 

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