An important wildlife area next to a business park in Alvaston is set to become the next link in a chain of rewilding spreading across Derby.

Derby City Council has taken on the 99 year lease of Derwent Meadows Nature Reserve, off Raynesway, and has entered into a ten year partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to manage the area for the benefit of wildlife and people.

The 60 acre site is owned by Goodman, who invested in local infrastructure and the creation of a dedicated wildlife area when work on Derby Commercial Park was completed in 2007.

The new partnership between Derby City Council and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is an important step in the Trust’s vision for a greener, wilder city. The Trust are already working with the Council to rewild Allestree Park.

Derwent Meadows site is already a dedicated wildlife area, with a riverside path linking with the local footpath and cycle network. The idea behind it was to create and improve wildlife habitats, to improve access for people to the River Derwent and to provide improved facilities for local anglers, whilst integrating the business park into the local community.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s plan is to improve the biodiversity by clearing overgrown areas, improving the wetlands and creating new habitats to encourage as many species as possible, including installing bat and bird boxes.  It will also provide interpretation boards so that visitors gain a better understanding of the nature around them.

The Trust will also work with the local community, offering opportunities for helping improve the habitats by volunteering and working with local schools, groups and young people in the area.

A wooded area of the site known as Courtaulds Wood, which has a beautiful stand of mature poplar trees, could offer opportunities for Forest Schools. The River Derwent, which runs through the site, means the Trust can look at education around rivers and water, including flood management.

The first step will be a detailed survey and the creation of a ten year management plan for the site.

Lisa Witham, Head of Wilder Communities at the Trust, said:

We are thrilled to have such a fantastic opportunity to work with local communities and build on our rewilding and wellbeing programmes. This site is a haven for wildlife in such as busy industrial location, helping build nature corridors through Derby and also to ensure wildlife and wild places are available to everyone.

Nigel Dolan, Development Director, Goodman, said:

We’re pleased to support this initiative, which will continue to improve biodiversity and enhance what is already a high quality environment for the customers of Derby Commercial Park and the local community.

Councillor Jerry Pearce, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetpride and Public Spaces, said:

This marks the start of a project which will bring enormous benefits to nature and wildlife and help the community re-connect with this green space. Together with Allestree Park, Derwent Meadows Nature Reserve will be a link in the chain to rewild public spaces across the city.