Friends of Allestree Park

Allestree Park in Derby, England

Conservation Projects

The Friends of Allestree Park place the conservation of the Park’s natural features and wildlife at the top of its aims - and there are many environmental problems which the City’s Parks’ Department cannot tackle on its own.

Several work parties have been arranged to clean out debris from the Lake and to clear Himalayan balsam (an alien invasive plant) from around the shore. The Friends have also assisted the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) in removing rhododendron, another invasive Asian species, from parts of Big Wood and we have been involved in a major project  to restore a large area of the wood by removing the non-native sycamore and its replacement with native trees such as oak, birch and hazel. Current projects include footpath management in the woods to minimise erosion, working with Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers (not to be confused with the BTCV!).  We have also  instigated stabilization of some parts of the lake's shore-line, working with Derby Groundwork and the BTCV. All the work is agreed and planned beforehand with the Parks Department of Derby City Council.

Lake Debris Clearance


The corner of the lake near Evans Avenue collects a lot of debris, including plastic, and the Friends have held several clearance sessions. It is planned to plant up this presently  unattractive part of the lake with reeds - which will clean the water and provide additional wildlife habitat.

lake clearance

Balsam Bash


The non-native Himalayan Balsam which, if left, will overwhelm native flora, has to be kept under control by pulling. Three such sessions have, for the time being, virtually removed it from the lake margins.

balsam bash

Sycamore growing thickly

in Big Wood


Sycamores are not truly native to Britain and out-compete many of our native trees. They are a nuisance in British woodlands, growing thickly together  and creating dense shade in summer, suppressing the growth of shrubs and flowers. They are a particular problem here at the northern end of Big Wood on the western side of the Park.

sycamore north big wood

Site Visit


The site above being examined by Friends Chairman Alex Kilpatrick and one of the Park Rangers, Neil Granthier in Feb. 2007 to help to plan a clearance programme.


Late in 2007 and early 2008, a team from Broomfield College cleared all the sycamores from this area. The Friends and Derby City Council's Environment Project s Officer, organised  a massive tree planting event - of native species - in this area as part of the wood as part of the nation-wide BBC's 'Tree O'clock' event, in December 2009. A more detailed report can be found  under 'News' on this website.

alex and neil

Rhododendron in Big Wood


It looks pretty in flower, but this alien shrub is bad news for our native trees, shrubs and woodland flowers.



Rhododendron being removed


Members of the BTCV  hard at work. 

This aggressive Asian shrub, which blocks out light and stops native trees and shrubs from regenerating, is widespread in the woodlands, so its complete removal is a very long-term project.


There was another rhododendron clearance session in Big wood in January, 2008 carried out by members of the Friends and others. See an illustrated report under 'News and Comments. Further clearance has carried on by the BTCV - but their is a huge amount still to tackle. The Friends are organising a tree and shrub planting programme of native species such as hazel and holly  to replace the rhododendron.

rhododendron bash
Sunday, January 20, 2019