Woodside Farm

We'll show you how wildlife and farming can go hand in hand

Highland cattle at Woodside Farm, Gavin Henderson

Bursting with wild flowers
Great for bird watching
Volunteers needed
Home to our grazing animals

So what do we do here?

Woodside Farm is the hub for all of our grazing animals.

Coming in at a huge 74 hectares, the nature reserve is on the site of the former Woodside Colliery, one of four that operated in this area until the 1960s. Part of the reserve once also formed car parks and fields owned by the American Adventure theme park.

Woodside Farm contains a variety of habitats including woodland, hay meadows and grasslands, and a network of small woodlands. It is perfect for wild flowers, notably bee orchids and attracts numerous pollinators, especially butterflies. It is also well known locally for its bird life, nuthatches, woodpeckers, tree creepers call it home and water voles and brown hare are known residents.

Woodside Farm is the largest protected area in Derbyshire outside of the Peak District!

Every acre is a home - #Becauseofyou 

Buy our farm products


Buy beef that is local, tastes great and protects Derbyshire's wildlife

Thanks to working with a local farm shop and butchers, we can offer a wider range of boxes to suit all tastes. 

How to order

To place your order call the office on 01773 881188 or email us

Family Box (approx. 20kg @ £11 per kg)

The original box – a range of roasting and slow cooking joints, prime steaks, diced beef, stewing steak, and mince. We feel that this box really gives you a taste of what we produce and will keep you supplied in high quality beef for some time. Suitable for the larger family with a big freezer!

Taster Box (approx. 10kg @ £12 per kg)

The same range of joints, steaks diced and minced beef as in the Family Box but half the size. This box is by popular request, for those with smaller freezers who want to still take advantage of our wonderfully tasty beef. 

Boxes can be tailored to your requirements, depending on supply. All pack sizes are approximate and you will be charged by the weight. Single joints/packs may be available, please ask for details.

How are the boxes packaged? 

The meat is vacuum packed in individual portions for hygiene and freshness. It can be frozen like this until you want to use it. Each pack will have the name/weight on it. It is then presented in a box for easy transport together with some information about Woodside Farm and our work there.


Buy firewood that helps woodlands thrive

We are pleased to announce that we have started selling firewood, sustainably sourced from our Woodside Farm, near Ilkeston.

The wood, which is cut as part of our habitat management, is a mixture of hardwoods and is seasoned before being sold. Both split logs and round cordwood is available.

Woodside Farm has many plantations which we are now thinning to allow light to the woodland floor and to ensure the long term viability of the remaining trees. In other areas we are trying to create a mosaic of different aged scrub to encourage birds like the grasshopper warbler to breed.

The wood is available for collection from Woodside Farm by arrangement, please contact the Trust office on 01773 881188 or email


Buy hay that helps wildflower meadows thrive

Hay is vital to support our animals over the winter months, as well as being a great way of managing our species rich grasslands.

We have a surplus that we sell, the proceeds of which helps funds our conservation work. Customers can buy the hay directly from the farm at £3.50 per bale. To order your please contact the Trust office on 01773 881188 or email

Woodside Farm Map

Woodside Farm Map

Let us tell you more...

Living lawnmowers

Our highland cattle and sheep graze selectively and often choose the more dominant plant species, which allows less competitive plants to become established and increases species diversity. As they graze across the landscape, the animals decide for themselves where to concentrate their efforts and create a mosaic of different sward lengths and micro habitats.

Lying, rolling and pushing also serve to increase the structural diversity of the sward. This is important for ground nesting birds like lapwing and snipe that need a varied sward structure to successfully rear their young.

Trampling creates of areas of bare ground, which is beneficial in moderation. It creates nurseries for seedlings that might not otherwise survive and creates habitats and hunting grounds for open ground, warmth-loving invertebrates and reptiles.

Dung creates a whole ecosystem by itself! Conservation grazing animals are usually grazed in extensive, low pressure systems so there is little need for chemicals to control internal parasites. This means that a whole range of wildlife moves into a cowpat to set up home - more than 250 species of insect are found in or on cattle dung in the UK and these in turn provide food for birds, badgers, foxes and bats.

Farming and conservation can co-exist

We are managing the extensive areas of grassland at Woodside Farm using our grazing herds -Highland cattle, Belted Galloway and mix breed sheep.

A byproduct of this is that we can produce beef.

This allows us to demonstrate that excellent meat products can be produced on a farm which demonstrates good conservation practices. The profits, together with money from government-funded initiatives such as Higher Level Stewardship, will enable us to invest further in habitat management and conservation work, improving the reserve for wildlife and visitors.

Local is best

Our view is that local is best, and because of this we only use local abattoirs and butchers for our beef. This reduces road miles and stress on the animals and makes it some of the least travelled meat you can buy. 

4 great reasons to buy beef from us

  • It’s good for you. Our animals are fed a total grass based diet, grazing our nature reserves and eating hay produced from them. Naturally reared meat has been proven to be lower in saturated fat, yet higher in omega-3, minerals and vitamins.

  • It’s good for the environment. Because our animals are fed on grass that we grow naturally, we don’t rely on imported soya, the production of which can lead to the destruction of tropical rainforests. We use a local abattoir to minimise stress on the animals and our carbon footprint.
  • It’s good for our nature reserves. We only use our animals on nature reserves where their presence is of benefit to the habitats we are managing. Our grasslands, wetland and scrub need active management to retain their diversity and livestock can be a great way of achieving this.

  • It’s good for the Trust. All of the money we raise from the sale of our meat boxes goes back into the Trust, helping us to look after Derbyshire’s wildlife for the future.

What's happening here?

Wildside Festival 2019

Tickets on sale now

Woodside Festival, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust 

Woodside BioBlitz

In June 2012 we carried out a BioBlitz at Woodside Farm and many local wildlife recorders took part.

Take a look at what we discovered and recorded during this fab event.


Fungi report by Beverley Rhodes.

Members of the Kingdom Mycota are a distinctive group of microscopic organisms. They obtain nutrients either from their surroundings as saprophytes, living off the remains of plants and animals or products of their decay or they may live in association with other organisms either feeding off them as a parasite or in a mutually beneficial way such as lichens or mycorrhizal fungi with plant roots.

Fungi are an important part of every ecological community. Some species are found on very young or changeable sites whilst other species are part of much older sites where  habitats are relatively undisturbed, such as ancient woodland and species-rich grassland.

Recording in Derbyshire
Recording fungi locally remains a challenge for the recording community. Some areas are well recorded, having received frequent visits, including all times of year, followed up by an expert to accurately identify any critical material. There are some recorders who enjoy finding fungi but don't have the skills to identify to species level. Help is needed if this is to be overcome and everyone is urged to attend organised forays and use cameras to take photographs to aid in identification. There is a specific need for a fungus recording group in the county to coordinate local recording effort.

The British Mycological Society and the Association of British Fungus Groups are the main national organisations for fungi. BMS lead members on forays in different parts of the country and they are regular visitors to Derby. Some members are leaders in particular family groups of fungi and they have a scientific basis. ABFG have in recent times set up CATE2 which is an online mapping database that records species distribution from which it is intended to produce an up to date Red Data list while other mycologists provide records for the BMS recording database.

The National BAP priority species Oak Polypore, Piptoporus quercinus, is now known from two sites in Derbyshire and is a notable record but was not included in the 1996 Derbyshire Red Data list as it had not been found then. On the other hand Pink Waxcap, Hygrocybe calyptraeformis, once a Derbyshire Red Data Book species has now been found at many locations in the county.

Records from Woodside Nature Reserve
Only a small number of fungi were recorded during the Woodside Bioblitz but this was due largely to the time of year that the event took place. We invite you to have another look to provide up-to-date records to identify the true fungi community; you may even find the Giant Puffball, Langermania gigantean, which was recorded on the site a few years ago. Please leave it to spore and produce more!

Species Recorded During the Woodside BioBlitz
Psathyrella candolleana
Taphrina pruni
Puccinia poarum
Puccinia urticata var. urticata


County Bryophyte Recorder Tom Blockeel reports on the status of these plants and records from Woodside.

Bryophytes are small photosynthetic plants. In most species the vegetative plant has branched stems bearing unstalked leaves, but in others it consists of a plate of tissue known as a thallus. They do not have true roots but are anchored to the substrate by hair-like structures known as rhizoids. 'Bryophytes' is a general term for three distinct groups of plants:

• hornworts: (4 species in Britain), the plants consisting of a thallus
• liverworts: plants either forming a thallus or consisting of leafy shoots
• mosses: plants always consisting of leafy shoots.

These groups differ most obviously in the nature and structure of their spore capsules, when they are present. In practice and with a little experience the three groups can be readily distinguished by a combination of vegetative characters.
Bryophytes reproduce sexually, but do not have flowers. The male and female organs are normally inconspicuous. After fertilisation the female egg develops into a spore capsule, which is usually raised on a long stalk. The spores are very small and appear like dust when released from the capsule. They germinate to form a thin green felt known as protonema. Leafy shoots develop from the protonema, and the cycle begins again.

Many species produce spore capsules abundantly, but in others they are rare and in a few cases unknown. For some species an alternative means of reproduction is by vegetative propagation.

Bryophytes are commonly regarded as plants of damp and shaded places, but this is only partly true. Some species demand high humidity, but others grow in exposed places like sunny rocks and tree trunks and can withstand prolonged drought. They resume activity as soon as they are wetted.

Recording in Derbyshire

The first mention of a moss in Derbyshire is in John Ray's Synopsis Methodica Stirpium Britannicarum (1690), in which the common hair-cap moss Polytrichum commune is reported to grow especially in the hills of Derbyshire. However very few named species were recorded until the nineteenth century, when botanists from the Manchester area visited some adjacent parts of the county. Several resident botanists elsewhere in the county researched their local areas. All these records were brought together by William Linton in his Flora of Derbyshire1, and Linton himself recorded bryophytes widely for inclusion in his Flora, his most important discovery being the tiny western liverwort Lophocolea fragrans near Hathersage, where it still occurs. Inevitably coverage at that time was very patchy and large areas of the county were almost unknown.

Recording continued at low levels during the 20th century. Frank Crosland from Derby was one of the few bryologists who recorded between the two world wars, and the British Bryological Society met in Buxton in 1923. The Society visited the county again several times in the 1970s and 1980s. Scattered records were also made both by residents and visitors, but there was no systematic recording.
When I moved to the historic Derbyshire village of Dore (now part of Sheffield) in 1985 I began recording bryophytes widely in the Peak District. Gradually this evolved into a project to record the county systematically on a tetrad basis, with the help of a few other dedicated local bryologists. Numerous species have been added to the county list, and the northern half of the county now has good coverage, but there is still much to do in the south. The Derbyshire database currently consists of over 47,000 records. Of the 750 tetrads within the historic county boundary, about 50% have 50 or more recorded species, and 75% have 20 or more species.
As a midland county Derbyshire has a rich and diverse bryophyte flora. At the time of writing 518 species (not counting varieties) have been recorded in the county over the past 25 years, almost half of the entire British flora, and there are old, reasonably reliable records of a further 25 species. This is in a context where many British bryophytes are confined to the humid west, or to the mountains of Scotland, the Lake District and Wales.

Records from Woodside Nature Reserve
Former industrial sites can be surprisingly good habitats for bryophytes and a number of very interesting discoveries have been made in east and south Derbyshire in recent years. 7 liverworts and 61 mosses were recorded during the BioBlitz. Of special interest were the large conspicuous species Hylocomium splendens and Rhytidiadelphus triquetruson an old concrete kerb edge under bushes (the Rhytidiadelphus also in secondary woodland). Both species occur frequently in natural habitats in the limestone dales, but in lowland Derbyshire are almost unknown except as colonists of old industrial sites. Even more remarkable was the discovery just outside the Woodside Reserve boundary of Loeskeobryum brevirostre, also in secondary woodland; this is a rare moss in lowland Britain and Derbyshire, with just three sites in the limestone dales, and a further site at Rowsley Sidings.

Species Recorded During the Woodside BioBlitz
Conocephalum conicum sens. str. Great Scented Liverwort
Frullania dilatata Dilated Scalewort
Lophocolea bidentata Bifid Crestwort
Lophocolea heterophylla Variable-leaved Crestwort
Metzgeria furcata Forked Veilwort
Metzgeria violacea Blueish Veilwort
Pellia endiviifolia Endive Pellia
Amblystegium serpens Creeping Feather-moss
Cratoneuron filicinum Fern-leaved Hook-moss
Hypnum cupressiforme var. cupressiforme
Leptodictyum riparium Kneiff's Feather-moss
Brachythecium rutabulum Rough-stalked Feather-moss
Eurhynchium striatum Common Striated Feather-moss
Homalothecium sericeum Silky Wall Feather-moss
Kindbergia praelonga Common Feather-moss
Oxyrrhynchium hians Swartz's Feather-moss
Oxyrrhynchium speciosum Showy Feather-moss
Pseudoscleropodium purum Neat Feather-moss
Rhynchostegium confertum Clustered Feather-moss
Bryum argenteum Silver-moss
Bryum capillare Capillary Thread-moss
Bryum dichotomum Bicoloured Bryum
Bryum mildeanum Milde's Thread-moss
Bryum pallescens Tall-clustered Thread-moss
Bryum pseudotriquetrum var. pseudotriquetrum Marsh Bryum
Bryum ruderale Pea Bryum
Calliergon cordifolium Heart-leaved Spear-moss
Cryphaea heteromalla Lateral Cryphaea
Dicranella staphylina Field Forklet-moss
Dicranella varia Variable Forklet-moss
Dicranum scoparium Broom Fork-moss
Ceratodon purpureus 
Fissidens bryoides var. bryoides Lesser Pocket-moss
Fissidens taxifolius Common Pocket-moss
Grimmia pulvinata Grey-cushioned Grimmia
Schistidium crassipilum Thickpoint Grimmia
Hylocomium splendens Glittering Wood-moss
Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus Springy Turf-moss
Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus Big Shaggy-moss
Calliergonella cuspidata Pointed Spear-moss
Hypnum cupressiforme Cypress-leaved Plait-moss
Isothecium alopecuroides Larger Mouse-tail Moss
Campylopus introflexus Heath Star Moss
Pohlia melanodon Pink-fruited Thread-moss
Mnium hornum Swan's-neck Thyme-moss
Orthotrichum affine Wood Bristle-moss
Orthotrichum diaphanum White-tipped Bristle-moss
Orthotrichum lyellii Lyell's Bristle-moss
Orthotrichum pulchellum Elegant Bristle-moss
Orthotrichum striatum Shaw's Bristle-moss
Ulota bruchii Bruch's Pincushion
Ulota crispa Crisped Pincushion
Ulota phyllantha Frizzled Pincushion
Plagiomnium undulatum Hart's-tongue Thyme-moss
Atrichum undulatum Common Smoothcap
Polytrichastrum formosum Bank Haircap
Barbula convoluta var. convoluta Lesser Bird's-claw Beard-moss
Barbula convoluta var. sardoa 
Barbula unguiculata Bird's-claw Beard-moss
Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum Red Beard-moss
Didymodon insulanus Cylindric Beard-moss
Didymodon rigidulus Rigid Beard-moss
Didymodon tophaceus Olive Beard-moss
Syntrichia montana Intermediate Screw-moss
Syntrichia ruralis var. ruralis Great Hairy Screw-moss
Tortula muralis var. muralis Wall Screw-moss
Dicranoweisia cirrata Common Pincushion
Thuidium tamariscinum Common  

Grasshoppers and crickets

County Recorder Roy Frost reports on these primitive insects

Grasshoppers and crickets belong to the order Orthoptera, from the Greek meaning straight-winged. They are large, primitive insects, of which some 600 species are found in Europe and about 35 in the UK. Both have large hind limbs, enabling them to jump many times their body length, and both create sound known as stridulation. Grasshoppers do this by rubbing their hind legs against their wings, while crickets rub their wing bases together. Grasshoppers are diurnal and vegetarian, while crickets are omnivorous and some are mainly nocturnal. In addition groundhoppers, which are silent, resemble grasshopper nymphs but may be identified by their greatly extended pronota. All of these groups can be found between spring and autumn, though most do not mature until the summer. In Derbyshire the various species occupy a wide range of habitats, including woodland, grassland, wetlands and industrial dereliction.

Recording in Derbyshire

Orthoptera recording in Derbyshire has been very limited until recently. There were two short lists of species published in the 19th century and in 1905 the Reverend Jourdain, a renowned ornithologist, wrote the Orthoptera account for The Victoria County History of Derbyshire1. No further detailed accounts were produced until Whiteley wrote three papers in publications of the Sorby NHS [1974, 1981 and 19852], dealing with Orthoptera of the Sheffield area, including a large part of northern Derbyshire. Roy Frost became interested in grasshoppers and crickets in 1986 and in 1991 published an account of their county status, based on 10k square mapping, in the DES Journal3, which has been up-dated in an annual report of the same society [now DaNES] ever since. The study of these insects remains a minority interest with an average of 15-20 observers a year submitting their observations, many of them casual.
Because grasshoppers and crickets produce distinctive stridulations, records are acceptable on aural identification alone. Older recorders who have lost the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, can use a bat detector which converts the insects’ ultrasound to an audible pitch. One species, Speckled Bush Cricket, produces sound even outside the range of most children’s hearing; using a bat detector, it can be heard 30m away.
The 1991 paper mentioned above gave details of just eight species then known to be resident in the county, including two aliens, the House Cricket and the Greenhouse Camel Cricket. The others were the widespread and locally abundant Field and Common Green Grasshoppers, and the more localised Meadow and Mottled Grasshoppers, Oak Bush Cricket and Common Groundhopper. Since then the list has virtually doubled, apparently as a result of climate change, with the addition of another groundhopper, a grasshopper and no fewer than five bush crickets.
The first ‘arrival’ was the Slender Groundhopper, which was found at Ilkeston in 1991 and is now widespread. The next ‘new’ species was the Dark Bush Cricket, which was known to Jourdain at Repton Shrubs, but with no further records until it was found in eastern Derby in 2000. It is still restricted to that area and parts of the Derwent river corridor downstream from there. As its rudimentary wings render it incapable of flight, its local presence suggests a remnant, previously overlooked, population or perhaps an introduction. In 2002 the Lesser Marsh Grasshopper was found on two former colliery spoil heaps in the north-east. Its subsequent speed of colonisation has been impressive, so much so it is now the numerically dominant grasshopper in huge swathes of the county’s lowlands. 2006 was very much a ‘break-through’ year when three new bush crickets were found in the county, namely Roesel’s Bush Cricket at Calke Park, Long-winged Conehead at Lullington and Drakelow NR and Speckled Bush Cricket at Long Eaton. The first two of these are now widespread in Derbyshire’s eastern and southern lowlands, but the Speckled Bush Cricket has been found only at two extra sites [and both by a nocturnal bat-worker]. In 2009 the Short-winged Conehead was discovered at Overseal and is presently known from another seven sites, as far north as the Avenue Washlands NR. Of these five bush-crickets, all except Dark and Speckled have macropterous forms, their extra-long wings giving them considerable powers of dispersal. I thank all of the observers who have submitted their records to the annual report.

Records from Woodside Nature Reserve
Three species were recorded on the Woodside BioBlitz; it would be very surprising if Field and Lesser Marsh grasshoppers were not also present.

Species Recorded During the Woodside BioBlitz
Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus
Slender Groundhopper Tetrix subulata
Long-winged Conehead Conocephalus discolor


Derbyshire has areas of major lichen interest, with some colonies potentially thousands of years old. Steve Price reports.

Lichens are not a single organism. They are the result of a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and a photosynthesising partner, usually an alga. The two form such a close partnership they appear to be a single individual; the fungal part of the organism cannot survive without its algal partner. Some colonies of lichen may be thousands of years old. Many lichens are susceptible to pollution and have suffered during two centuries of industrialisation. With the reduction in sulphur dioxide deposits, lichens have improved dramatically over the past three decades. Some previously rare species are now occurring regularly. But the increase in atmospheric nitrogen from agriculture and motor vehicles has led to a 'yellowing of the countryside' as nitrophilous species of lichen become dominant.

Derbyshire has areas of major lichen interest. The limestone dales support communities of lichens typical of basic rocks. The disused lead mines of the limestone plateau support a distinctive range of metalliferous lichens. The gritstone boulders and block scree of the Dark Peak support a range of upland lichens with a preference for siliceous rocks (containing silica). The gritstone edges and outcrops which are more exposed than the boulders seem to be much poorer, probably having been denuded of lichens by 200 years of industrial pollution. The woodlands are interesting but not particularly noteworthy; by contrast the trees of parklands like Chatsworth Old Park hold a good number and range of notable species.
The east and south of the county is generally not as rich as the Peak District, but a recent survey in the Moss Valley found a wide range of species in very low abundance. The positive interpretation of this situation is these lichens are returning and in another ten years will be found in some abundance. Churchyards in many areas of the south and east of the county are the only source of exposed rock, and this usually in variety, so it is not surprising churchyards support a significant number and range of species.

Recording in Derbyshire
In addition to true lichens, non-lichenized fungi with the characteristics of a lichen are also studied and recorded. In addition there are a number of lichenicolous fungi (fungi having lichens as their specific hosts) and these are commonly only studied by lichenologists and are included in lichen lists.
At the time of writing, 691 taxa are recorded in the county, about one third of the number of lichens on the British list. This total figure of 691 includes 31 species of lichenicolous fungi and 23 species which have been recorded in the past but are now considered to be extinct in the county.
Over the past six years there has been a resurgence of interest in lichens and recording in the county. The Sorby Natural History Society holds regular field recording meetings in the Peak District. The county has hosted the British Lichen Society on two field meetings; these together with consultancy surveys have added significantly to the knowledge of our lichens and their status.
Every churchyard in the county has been surveyed for lichens, most of the work being done by Ivan Pedley in the 1990s. Oliver Gilbert (died 2005) and Brian Fox (died 1999) did significant recording through the 1980s and 1990s. Prior to that there was much work by David Hawksworth in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Records of lichens in the county have been published in summary form in The LichenologistThe Naturalist and The Sorby Record starting with David Hawksworth's The Lichen Flora of Derbyshire in 1969.
A distribution mapping scheme, to a 10km resolution, is maintained by the British Lichen Society (BLS) and until recently this was the most accessible source of record data. The BLS now maintains a national database of records and this includes over 22,000 records of lichens from Derbyshire. This database information is supplied to the National Biodiversity Network and through this is accessible by the public.

Records from Woodside Nature Reserve
Woodside having not yet been studied by lichenologists has just two species recorded. Both species like nutrification and are to be found in abundance across the county. There are other species that would be expected to be found alongside them. 

Species Recorded During the Woodside BioBlitz
Physcia adscendens 
Xanthoria parietina

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