In response to letters in the Advertiser regarding Shipley Country Park, we would like to make the following comments. The livestock that graze the fields are part of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s management plan for Woodside Nature Reserve. During the many years when the land wasn’t managed, much of it started to deteriorate to scrub and bramble. Grazing is allowing us to remove some of this as we try to achieve what is a delicate balance. We are seeking to restore open gravel habitat in the upper car park – this will provide good conditions for a range of insects. In the lower part of the reserve the habitat created will encourage plants such as southern marsh orchids as well as some of the insects that are also found in the top car park area. In terms of wildlife, there is still plenty to see – buzzards are a regular sight, a kestrel was recorded this week hunting and roosting in the new barn and ground-nesting skylarks have been seen throughout the reserve. Last year we had hobby (a small bird of prey) hunting insects, a variety of butterflies including speckled wood, comma, common blue, gatekeeper and ringlet. There were also brown hawker and southern hawker dragonflies among others. We have to fence certain areas to protect both the livestock and cattle from disturbance. We appreciate that this does alter some established walking routes but where possible we have tried to retain these.
Reserves manager Derbyshire Wildlife Trust