Ducks at Alvaston Park

Find out more about wildlife in your local area with these handy hints and links.

Where can I see wildlife in Derby?

Wildlife can be found all around us in Derby. Our own gardens are a good place to start, as hedgehogs, bats, frogs, many species of birds, butterflies and other insects will visit most gardens.

Beyond gardens, parks and open spaces offer excellent opportunities. There are over 300 areas of public open space in the city, covering almost 700 hectares of land, to explore for wildlife. Many of our best wildlife sites, some of which are local nature reserves, are home to a wide range of common species, as well as a few rarities found nowhere else in Derbyshire, such as the dark bush cricket and the broomrape.

Other unusual species found in Derby include:

  • otter
  • badger
  • moonwort
  • toothwort
  • crayfish
  • glow worm
  • the peregrine falcon
  • the sand martin
  • chiffchaffs (over-wintering).

How can I find out more about wildlife in Derby?

You can learn lots more about wildlife in Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Its Derbyshire Nature Gallery has great displays on local wildlife and geology, plus family discovery areas. You can follow a 'nature trail' of habitat reconstructions from the source of the River Derwent down to the heart of Derby.

You can also go on organised events. Our walks and activities programme brings together a selection of events led by local groups, such as:

Our own walks will get you out and about in your local environment.

Who looks after wildlife in Derby?

Volunteer groups help look after wildlife by managing parks and open spaces, operating museums and running countryside management projects.

Also, many groups help us care for wildlife in Derby, such as:

What can I do for wildlife in my garden?

Visit the Wild About Gardens website, which is a partnership between the Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts, for ideas about what you can do for wildlife in your garden each month.

  • Butterflies: visit the Butterfly Conservation website for advice on how to encourage butterflies to visit your garden.

  • Birds: visit the RSPB website for advice on how to make a bird box.
  • Bats: visit the Bat Conservation Trust website for advice on how to make a bat box.
  • Ponds: visit the Freshwater Habitats Trust's website for advice on how to make a pond for wildlife.
  • Wildlife: visit the BBC website for advice on how to encourage wildlife into your garden.

What can you tell me about hedgerows in Derby?

In 2003, we surveyed hedgerows in Derby to find out which contained native species, such as Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Elm, Dogwood and Guelder Rose. Over 1300 hedgerows were found, which helped us to identify the oldest, and those important to wildlife in the city. We wanted to find out more about hedgerows because:

  • hedgerows have their own collection of animal and plant life, and are an important habitat
  • there is an infinite variety of hedgerows
  • many provide homes, route-ways and food for birds, mammals and numerous insects
  • ancient or species-rich hedgerows support the greatest number of different animals
  • hedgerows are valuable to us as a landscape feature and as part of our history.

We found about 43% of the hedgerows across Derby to be species-rich. For our survey, species-rich meant that, on average, five or more different species had to be identified in 30 metre sections of hedgerow.

What can you tell me about ponds in Derby?

In 2004 and 2005, we surveyed ponds in Derby to find:

  • where the best ponds are
  • which ponds are important to wildlife
  • which ponds could, with careful management, be made more valuable for nature.

We wanted to find out more about ponds because:

  • nationally, ponds are recognised as a threatened habitat
  • ponds are a rich source of wildlife, either living in them, or visiting for food and water and are an important habitat in Derby
  • some ponds are natural, others are man-made, some are permanent, others are seasonal. Even temporary ponds are important for wildlife
  • we may find unusual or rare plants and animals in our ponds.

Our survey found that garden ponds are more important for frogs and toads than our field ponds, where a lack of appropriate management appears to be reducing wildlife value. However, garden and field ponds are equally important for newts and dragonflies.

What can you tell me about wildlife webcams?

We have contributed towards the setting up of a webcam at Derby Cathedral to view the Peregrine Falcons that first began nesting in 2006 when they raised three chicks. The webcam gives us the opportunity to view our natural environment close up and gain a better understanding of the wildlife that lives on our doorstep.

You can watch the falcons and find out more about them at Peregrine Falcons in Derby blog.