Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has teamed up with Peak Shopping Village in an unusual partnership which will see the creation of a new nature reserve on the banks of the River Derwent.
Work has already begun to transform the five acre site, owned by Peak Shopping Village into Derbyshire’s newest reserve. Large pools are already being dug and 200 trees have been planted by volunteers.
Dave Savage, from DWT explains, “The site naturally captures the excess rainfall and slowly releases it back into the river over several days, meaning the risk of flooding is reduced further downstream. So we’ve designed the reserve around this important function. We’ll have two large pools, wild flower rich grassland and a small area of woodland over by the river bank.”
Work is set to be complete in May but wildlife has already started moving in. So far a heron and two mandarin ducks are regular visitors, as is a lone kestrel. The Trust expect to see an increase in pollinators and invertebrates such as beetles, butterflies, bees and moths enjoying the wild flowers, tall grasses and piles of deadwood planned for the site. Wildfowl will be making the pools their home, as well as frogs, toads and newts. And an increase in woodland birds such as nuthatches, woodpeckers and finches thanks to the extra cover provided by the small woodland.
Dave Savage tells us, “The river bank is ideal for otters, so we’ve all got our fingers crossed that eventually an otter may call the reserve home! Flocks of sand martins regularly nest on the river bank which we have now fenced to increase to give added protection from people and grazing animals”
The area is also being improved for visitors. Footpaths will be threaded throughout the space, nature trails installed so little ones can discover the wildlife and a pond dipping platform. The site will be very user-friendly and allow local children, community groups and schools can get closer to nature in this scenic, quiet spot.
Katayune Jacquin from Peak Shopping Village said, “We are delighted to be working so closely with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. This area of Peak Shopping Village has long been underused so what better to allow it to return to nature for everyone to enjoy. It will be a real asset to the shopping village and also the local area. Now, when you visit us you can shop, relax in our café’s and pop outside and immerse yourself in nature.”
Keep up to date with progress at www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/news or follow the Trust at @Derbyswildlife