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Rose End Meadows & Carsington Grassland

Rose End Meadows by Roy SmithRose End Meadows by Roy Smith

This Living Landscape, covering 4000 hectares, lies on the south-eastern edge of Derbyshire's White Peak.

Limestone pastures, hay meadows, ancient woodlands and wetlands are all key features of the Rose End Meadows and Carsington Grassland Living Landscape. The area, which includes the Trust's Rose End Meadows and Gang Mine reserves, is home to 1100 flowering plants, mosses, liverworts, fungi and lichens, including 12 species of orchid which are found nowhere else in Derbyshire, plus great crested newts, slow worms, glow worms and water voles, to name but a few.

A defining feature of the wider landscape are the old lead mines, limestone quarries, sandpits and claypits, all of which have influenced the local wildlife. Many of the plants in this area are 'calcicoles' - they fare better living on calcareous soils (limestone or chalk) than more acidic ones - and spoil heaps rich in heavy metals like lead and zinc have been colonised by specialists such as spring sandwort and alpine penny-grass. In some places, deeper soils support lush grassland vegetation, ideal for making hay. Pits left behind by commercial extraction of sand, clay and pebbles, were quickly taken over by plants and animals, and have become ideal habitats for the nationally rare great crested newt and nationally important water beetles.

Carsington Water is an important habitat for wintering and breeding wildfowl and water voles, and the declining white-clawed crayfish has been reintroduced. The adjacent countryside is of great value to grassland flowers and birds such as the spotted flycatcher and tree sparrow. We work closely with Severn Trent Water, who have an excellent track record of sympathetic land management here. We have a Wildlife Discovery Room on site, where we provide school sessions, family events and adult education workshops.

This landscape is still outstanding for wildlife and much of it is protected. However, in recent years there has been a slow decline in many grassland sites due to a lack of regular management, the spread of shrubs, trees, bramble and bracken, ocasional intensification of land use, tipping and some built development. Woodlands and wetlands too are becoming overgrown. It is essential we ensure key locations for species are well managed; it is also crucial to ensure there is a link between these sites, which may mean that habitats need to be restored or created.

The future of this landscape is dependent on finding a vision that is shared between farmers and landowners, local communities, nature conservation and coutryside organisations, and local and national Governement.

Lower Derwent Valley

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is leading a large partnership in the Lower Derwent Valley and is in the process of developing an ambitious new project. Find out more about DerwentWISE.