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PROPOSED WILDLIFE SITE

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, which carried out a study for the county council, said measures should be taken to protect areas used by eight species of bat, as well as lesser spotted woodpeckers, harvest mice and grass snakes. The wildlife sites selection panel, made up of representatives of the County Council, the Wildlife Trust, English Nature and Derby Museum, has accepted the proposals. There is also a nature reserve at Elvaston, which the report says could be bigger. The county council said that the study was part of a programme of wildlife surveys and was not connected to its future plans for Elvaston.

Designation of wildlife sites does not place statutory requirements on landowners, but the report's author, Nick Law, Wildlife Sites Officer for the Trust, said the assessment should provide a "clearer understanding as to why Elvaston Castle and Country Park is important for wildlife." He said the report's findings would be considered if and when a planning application was submitted. Graham Mansey, secretary of the Friends of Elvaston, said, "Many of us feel that the Estate is of major importance to the wildlife of the area and is an irreplaceable part of the ecosystem."

Wildlife Site

The harvest mouse is the smallest rodent in Britain and weighs less than a 2p coin. In Britain, they are most common in the south and south-east. A population of harvest mouse has been sustained at Elvaston for 20 years, with 2004 records relating to an area of rough grassland on the eastern edge of Oak Flats.

There are 17 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected because numbers have decreased dramatically. Eight species are known to occur in Elvaston Castle and Country Park, seven of which are confirmed as roosting. Roosts are in St Bartholomew's Church. Woodland, the lake and semi-improved pasture provide habitats.

Grass snakes have become scarce in recent years and are protected. Although grass snakes produce a venomous secretion that is toxic to small animals, they are harmless to humans. Many observations have been made at Elvaston, although there are three specific records of sightings in 1972, 1982 and 2002.

The lesser-spotted woodpecker is the smallest and least common of the three woodpeckers resident in Britain. In the UK, it is mainly limited to the south, with the highest population in the south-east of England. Records suggest that a breeding population is likely to have been present at Elvaston for the last six years. (Source: Derby Evening Telegraph, 2007)

               
         

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