Despite the dull and breezy weather, around 275 people went along to the Open Day at the nature reserve at Hoe Grange Quarry, near Matlock.
It is the fifth time this former working quarry – Derbyshire’s first and only reserve focusing on butterflies – has been open to the public. Of the 32 species of butterfly found in Derbyshire, 29 have been recorded at Hoe Grange in its relatively short life.
On the day, along with free ice cream and refreshments, some visitors spotted 11 of these including the Common Blue, Small and Large Skippers and a freshly hatched ‘mint’ Gatekeeper.
In addition, people were able to have a go at pond-dipping in one of the two large ponds on the site.
The event was hosted by Longcliffe Quarries Ltd (the Quarry owners), along with Butterfly Conservation East Midlands and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust who jointly manage the site.
Derbyshire Butterfly Recorder Ken Orpe said: “The weather was not ideal and may have put a few people off, but those who did attend had a good time. In addition to butterflies, they may have seen a number of day-flying moths including Lattice Heath and also dragonflies.”
Longcliffe Quarries Ltd Group Managing Director Paul Boustead, who was one of the many helpers on the day, added, “Hoe Grange Quarry is an important hub for biodiversity in the county. It is rich in a range of flora and fauna including birds and amphibians, as well as the butterflies it is most well known for. We were really pleased that despite the weather, we welcomed a steady stream of visitors throughout the day to this annual event. They were rewarded with sightings of some butterflies and birds, as well as newts, damselflies and dragonflies in the ponds.”
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscapes Officer for the White Peak, Kate Blair added: “We are really pleased to be working with Longcliffe to manage Hoe Grange. We have been working closely with Butterfly Conservation East Midlands to ensure that the site is managed in the best way as a future haven for butterflies and the results to date are fantastic!
“We were thrilled to welcome so many people to Hoe Grange Nature Reserve for a free day of fun at this event. It was an exciting day for sightings and there was lots happening for everyone to get involved including the pond dipping.”
The reserve attracts a range of other wildlife including birds such as Little Owl, Kestrel, Spotted Flycatcher and Whitethroat, and shy and rarely seen mammals and amphibians. www.hoe grangequarry.co.uk