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A carpet of wildflowers in the base of Hoe Grange Quarry – once an operational quarry; now a nature reserve. (Insert) the Wall Brown is one of the rarest butterflies resident in Derbyshire, photograph courtesy of Ken Orpe

If you want to have an opportunity to see a wide range of birds, butterflies and other wildlife, come along to the free Open Day at Hoe Grange Quarry Nature Reserve at Longcliffe, near Matlock on Sunday 2 July between 11am and 4pm.

The reserve, a former operational quarry, still owned by local company Longcliffe Calcium Carbonates, is the first specialist butterfly reserve in Derbyshire. Of the 32 species found in the county, 29 of them have been spotted at Hoe Grange Quarry. Visitors may be lucky enough to spot the Wall Brown, the rarest butterfly resident in Derbyshire (and a national endangered species), which is now breeding at this site.

The reserve is rich in a wide range of wildlife – both flora and fauna. In addition to butterflies, you may see the Spotted Flycatcher bird, a migrant from Africa rarely seen in this area; or the Chalk Moth, another species seldom spotted here.

And if amphibians are more your thing, you can have a go at pond-dipping in one of the two large ponds on the site. You may find the Great-Crested Newt, which is ‘also known as the 'warty newt’ and looks like a mini dinosaur!’*

The reserve is jointly managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation East Midlands.

Ken Orpe from Butterfly Conservation said: “We hope to welcome many people along to this, our sixth Hoe Grange Open Day. Last year over 300 visitors enjoyed finding out more about the Reserve, and looking for, spotting and recording the species they saw on the site. This year, as well as the usual ice creams and refreshments on offer, we are inviting people to have a go at pond-dipping to see what rich and biodiverse habitats the Reserve ponds have also become.”

Kaite Helps from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said: “Hoe Grange is a fascinating site, bursting with life. An old quarry, last worked in the 1990s, its transformation shows just how special places like this can be once nature takes over. We are really looking forward to the event and seeing what is spotted on the day!”

Paul Boustead, Longcliffe Group Managing Director, added: “We are delighted to work with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation in the continued management and development of this valuable nature reserve. We hope the Open Day is a big success and visitors are rewarded with many wildlife sightings.”

For more information about the Open Day please go to Note, car Parking will be at Longcliffe’s transport depot at Curzon Lodge (DE4 4HN) which is situated down the hill towards Grangemill from the crossroads in Longcliffe village. Minibuses will then take visitors direct into nearby Hoe Grange Quarry.


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