General Updates April 14 – March 15
- 1.The first phase of restoration work has been successful in creating woodland glades in Arboretum Wood. The Forestry Commission approved the removal of eight 20m diameter circles of sycamore to allow light to reach the woodland floor. Each glade has a significant donor tree (Ash or Oak) to seed into the area and invasive species regeneration will be monitored and controlled. Over the coming years, bramble and young native saplings will establish similarly to where the large beech tree has fallen. A group of young Derbyshire Wildlife Rangers have planted locally grown oak trees in two of the glade areas.
- 2.Nine new bat boxes have been installed throughout the park as a joint venture between Friends of Allestree Park and the Derbyshire Bat Group. The boxes where paid for by an Allestree resident in memory of her late husband.
- 3.700 trees have been planted in the main fields to create a mixture of new planting and butterfly glades. The trees have been planted close together to allow for natural losses and once established will be thinned where necessary. The trees in the butterfly glade, once established, will be put onto a coppice rotation and never allowed to develop fully. Community Payback will be drafted in towards the end of each summer to strim and rake the long grasses in the main field.
- 4.Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Derby Parks carried out a wildflower seed event on 30 March 15 as part of a Youth Wildlife Ranger project. The seed beds form part of the butterfly glade in the main field (G4). Grounds Maintenance will relax the mowing in this area to allow the wildflowers to establish.
- 5.Ten additional disease resistant elms have been planted along the south-east edge of Arboretum Wood (W12). They have been placed in an optimum spot to provide the perfect conditions for White Letter Hairstreak butterflies to breed.
- 6.The Conservation Volunteers carried out three days’ work in the park during autumn winter 14/15. The tasks were two days rhododendron clearance in Big Wood and one day Tree O’ Clock plantation maintenance.
The Conservation Volunteers
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Derby Branch has now disbanded. This is a great shame as the TCV Team were both knowledgeable in conservation management and trustworthy. The Parks Team are in the process of finding an equivalent group to carry out conservation work in Derby City.
Fishing - Latest from Earl of Harrington’s Angling Club (EoHAC)
The EoHAC will be carrying out lakeside improvements during April/May 15. The main bulk of the work will include removal of self set trees to increase light levels on the lake margin. This will be followed by marginal planting and bank restoration. All tree and planting work has been agreed by Council Officers. The work will not only improve the appearance of some untidy areas (boggy corner to name one), it will help improve the biodiversity in the lake.
High Level Stewardship – A look at the next steps 2015
Allestree Park has been entered into a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement. It is an agri-environment scheme lead by Natural England and provides funding to deliver effective environmental management on the land. It is a comprehensive agreement to achieve a wide range of environmental benefits over a longer period of time (10 years).
Why Allestree Park? The Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Partnership prepared the Derby Area Action Plan and this plan highlighted Allestree Park for improvements. HLS has been recommended as part of the Local Nature Reserve Management Plan and championed by partners including Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, friends groups and local ecologists.
What will change on the park? The HLS agreement is a detailed document which informs the types of conservation management needed in each area. The main changes will be the introduction of grazing animals to five fields in the park. The grazing will be low density cattle in late summer for approximately one month. All fields will continue to be fully accessible, however, when stock are grazing dogs should be kept on their lead. Other changes on the park will involve scrub removal, re-seeding meadows, and removing invasive trees and shrubs.
Map to show fields included in the HLS agreement
Indicators of success - A greater diversity of bird and wildflower species should be present. Dunnock, Song Thrush and Bull Finch will be thriving and plant species such as pignut and bird’s-foot trefoil should be occasional.
Overall timescales - Start up works, for example fencing, gates, water supply, are to be completed by August 2016. We hope to start stock fencing in September 2015 and grazing the main fields on the A6 in Autumn 2016.
Positive for nature in Allestree - This is a huge boost for nature conservation in Derby and Derbyshire and will provide a best practice example to other land owners both local and national. It will offer protection of the park and nature reserve from external pressures and help the Parks Department to better manage the park.
Burley Brook Pond
The pond on Burley Brook has dried up. Recent restoration projects have been unsuccessful as they were connected to the brook and the pond acted as a silt trap. The proposed way forward will be to dig out the pond by hand and create a barrier to the brook with the spoil. EoHAC kindly offered their support with this project. This task could be started at any point in the year as there is no water in the pond but ideally later in 2015.
Paths through Big Wood (and generally throughout the park)
Community payback will be working on the main path through Big Wood during April and May. They will be paying particular attention to muddy areas, adding bark chip throughout and loosely relining with logs where appropriate. They will also be paying some attention to the path through Ladycroft Wood between the Evergreen Club and lake.
Contact Details for Allestree Park