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Transforming the Trent Valley

Willington Gravel Pits, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Willington Gravel Pits, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Our Living Landscape scheme aims to restore important wetland habitats in 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.

Download a leaflet about the project.

Reserve Restoration

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has five reserves in the project area: Barton Pool, Drakelow, Golden Brook Storage Lagoon, Hilton Gravel Pits and Willington Gravel Pits.

The latest 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 new project funded by Biffaward is aimed at updating Hilton’s gates, boardwalks and footpaths for visitors, and developing two new interpretation signs to help visitors understand some of the unusual habitats 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.

Working With Others

The Trust continues 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.
  • The Trust is still discussing the longer term 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 have 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.

Site Registration Scheme

In the Trent Valley we are encouraging businesses to sign up to our site registration scheme where they pledge to develop and protect their land for wildlife. Contact us to find out more.

Trent Valley Osprey Project

We are working with partners and neighbouring Trusts to create new nesting habitats for ospreys. Find out more.